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We’ve worked with more than 1,000 first home buyers over the last ten years and we know that, when it comes to landing your first home, knowledge and being prepared is power!

That’s why we asked experienced real estate agent, William Tatana, for his advice on what first home buyers need to know to be successful.

As an agent with Ray White, William with his team has worked in real estate for a decade, selling property all over Auckland – from Orewa in the north of the city, to Kawakawa Bay in the south.

How has the average first home buyer’s experience changed in the last ten years?

There’s a lot more information available these days – from Council information to property data aggregation sites, valuation tools, online calculators and more.

Having access to this amount and level of information at your fingertips is hugely useful to buyers, but it can also create problems. Sometimes people rely too much on online information, without consulting an expert to understand what the true risks are. You should always get professionals to conduct your building inspection, review the LIM and carry out other due diligence investigations.

The other significant change is that banks are a lot more risk averse when it comes to LIM issues. Getting lending for properties with issues like unconsented it can be a barriers – so make sure you do your due diligence!

What common mistakes do you see first home buyers making?

A common one I run into is people being naïve about how different sale processes work.

Multi-offer situations are a classic example. You need to understand that on the multi – offer form it states that you are being asked to put forward your very best price. The form asks all submissions to put their best offer forward as they may not have another chance to negotiate. The vendor will normally choose one purchaser to work with to the exclusion of all others. So be prepared when you are involved in this process.

Also, be aware that to secure a property, you may be asked to pay a deposit upfront – even before your offer goes unconditional.

What are the biggest roadblocks you see first home buyers struggling with – and how can they get around them?

It’s usually either the deposit, or people being unrealistic about what a property is likely to sell for.

In terms of the deposit – my best advice is to go and see a mortgage advisor, like Campbell Hastie. He will help you work out how to pull together the amount of money you’ll need for the deposit and get your pre-approval sorted with the bank. That way you can go property hunting with confidence.

When it comes to likely sale prices in general, my advice is to ask what else has sold on the same street or area in the last three months. Getting this information will mean you can get a realistic gauge on whether the house you want is really within your price range.

Do you have any hints for first-timers attending an auction?

Auctions might feel nerve-wracking, but I rate them because they’re a highly transparent, public sale process. You know exactly what the other bidders are willing to pay, rather than in a multi-offer situation where you don’t have that advantage.

And, if you’re at an auction and wondering how close bidding is to the reserve, I always tell people to pay attention to the pace of the auction. If it slows right down one of two things maybe happening, there is a gap between the vendor’s expectation and what buyers are prepared to pay or the auctioneer will stop the auction and take instructions from the vendor to move the auction forward

If its moving at a fast pace then you have buyers competing for a property that they all want and there can be only one winner.

Whatever you do know the limit you can go to as per your lender’s approval. You are always welcome to come and experience one of our auctions that my team is running.

Any final words of advice for first home buyers?

Before you look at anything, go and talk to Campbell so you have a realistic sense of your budget.

Don’t go for a property unless you’ve done your due diligence on it, and you know what other nearby properties have sold for recently.

And, if you want help from someone with experience in the industry, come and talk to me. My team and I have worked with first home buyers for up to six months to help them find the best property for their lifestyle and budget – I’ll work with you for as long as it takes to do the same.

William Tatana is a licensed real estate agent with Ray White, working in all suburbs throughout greater Auckland. To get in touch with William call 022 341 0870 or email William.tatana@raywhite.com

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