Why You Need a Lawyer When Buying NZ Property

Having an expert in residential conveyancing law on your side when purchasing property isn’t just a good idea, it’s essential. Most people already know that getting a lawyer to help with buying a home is the best way to do things, but if you didn’t, read on.

In today’s blog, we’re looking at the basics of buying property in NZ, and why you need expert advice when dealing with legal documentation for what could be the biggest transaction of your life.

Sale and Purchase Agreements

One of the first things you’ll need to think about—regardless of whether you’re buying or selling—is the sale and purchase agreement. For instance, if you’re buying, you’re able to add certain clauses to your sale and purchase agreement. As an example, you might want to add a finance clause, which states that your offer is only valid once the bank confirms your loan.

If you have a lawyer, navigating these agreements and the clauses within is much easier. There are a number of clauses which you may want to add given your specific situation, but you may not know your options are in this regard without proper legal advice. The bottom line is:  to protect yourself you don’t want to sign any contract that you don’t trust, and you will not know if you can trust it until you seek proper legal advice.

The sooner you have a lawyer who can advise on contracts, the better your deal will be. Property purchases can end up being much quicker to wrap up than people expect, especially for first-time buyers, so having a lawyer from the get-go can help you be ready with an answer the first time you’re asked if there are clauses you’d like to add to the agreement.

Having a lawyer on hand before you sign is also valuable. Once you sign, the contract is legally binding, so you want to ensure you’ve done your best to avoid any pitfalls.

The Land Information Memorandum

Also called a LIM, this council file is another basic part of buying property in New Zealand. Understanding what it is and what you need it for is important.

Basically, the LIM is a file that compiles everything the local council knows about a piece of property. It has the potential to be huge, as the information needs to be detailed. Everything from zoning, to resources consents, to geological features can be in there.

Having a residential conveyancing lawyer means you don’t need to read the whole thing yourself. Getting through one without missing anything important takes practice, and that’s why most home buyers leave it to the professionals.

Unit Title Properties

This doesn’t apply to everyone, but if you are purchasing a unit title property, the vendor is required by law to give you certain pieces of information if you ask for them. Knowing what you can and can’t ask for is the trick, and it’s another reason having a legal professional on hand can help.

Settlement Day

If you’re a first-time buyer, you may be wondering what happens on settlement day, the day the property officially changes hands. Even though getting to this point often takes a lot of work, it’s not quite time to relax just yet!

Settlement day involves more than just the keys being handed over. Typically, your lawyer, the vendor’s lawyer, and the bank all need to sign off with each other before the deal is finalised. The transfer—and the details of your mortgage—will also need to be registered at Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), which is another thing your lawyer will be able to handle on your behalf.

Finding a conveyancing lawyer

The New Zealand Law Society is able to help you find a property lawyer near you, but if you’re looking for property lawyers in Wellington specifically, you can skip the searching and contact the team here at BMC Lawyers. We have the skills and experience in our dedicated property team to help you make the home of your dreams a reality. Reach out to us today!