We move house today! And the reason we're moving house is because we bought a house!

Yes, in this market. I think it is one of the worst, most stressful things I have ever done in my life.

Anyway, I wanted to take a second to go over the secret costs of buying a house. (thread)
So obviously the most expensive part of buying a house is the actual house part, but good god there's a lot of secret costs that add up that no one told me about, so I'm warning other people.
1) Solicitor's fees.

Now this should seem obvious if you are in the throes of actually buying a house, but if you're still at the stage where you haven't made an offer, you should set aside somewhere between $1k - $2k to pay your lawyer.
If your bank is nice, they'll give you a cashback bonus that will usually cover these fees, but it depends on your bank and your deposit amount. If you have less than a 15% deposit (or less than 20% for some banks) you get no bonuses and no special treatment.
2) Builders reports.

Most Wellington properties looking to sell fast come with a builders and LIM report, but some vendors can't be bothered for various reasons. A builders report will set you back about $300 - $600 depending on the agency and how urgently you want the report.
What suuuuucks about this is that you and other buyers might be commissioning reports for the same place and don't have time to share and your offer might still miss out.

This only happened to us once thankfully, cos most Welly places have builders reports.
If you do get a builders report, the real estate agent might offer to buy the report off you to share with other interested parties. You should get a small cashback for that as it benefits other buyers, the vendors and the REA.
3) Valuations.

If you have less than a 20% deposit (like we did, fuck this market), the bank will make you get a valuation of the property done as part of the conditions of the sale.

This will set you back about $750 depending on the place you use and the urgency for the report
4) Cash deposit.

As part of making your offer look nice to the vendors and to show you are a serious contender, you need a cash deposit to give to the vendor/to be held by your solicitor until settlement.

I am very mad no one told me this.
This is usually a percentage amount of your offer (standard is 10% I believe), but because our deposit was almost exclusively tied up in KiwiSaver, we didn't have the cash on hand to pay for this in a traditional way.
You can write in a different clause (many parts of the contract are negotiable and your solicitor can help you through this), which is what we did, and we borrowed the money off of family to make up the shortfall.
5) Reimbursement of rates for the vendor.

You will need to repay the vendor for a portion of the rates unless the settlement date is the due date for your new rates somehow.
6) Whiteware.

That shit's expensive man. Especially after renting for 10 years.
Random other things.

It's not super helpful to go to a mortgage broker if you have less than a 20% deposit. Most banks are not taking on new clients if you have less than a 20% deposit.
We still were grateful for our broker because he talked us through the process and did try to get bonuses from the bank for us on our behalf.
There are a lot of insurance companies that won't do house insurance for Wellington cos earthquakes, but you can still find some places that will do it.

Which is good cos most banks need you to insure the house as part of a less than 20% purchase.
Also like, house insurance is generally a good idea.

As is contents insurance.
KiwiSaver can take up to 3 weeks to clear, so factor that in to your settlement date.

It usually only takes that long if you lived overseas at some point - mine cleared in less than 5 days I think?
We were very seriously considering giving up on the process due to lack to success and open homes are super draining, so don't be surprised if you want to throw in the towel pretty early on.

Our personal best was 12 open homes in 6 hours in one day. I hated it.
OH and be sure to look into consents on the property before putting in an offer cos that may affect your bank wanting to lend to you on it.

We went to an open home where it turned out THE ENTIRE HOUSE WAS UNCONSENTED.
If people are interested, I'll talk another time about the Worst Homes™️ we looked at over this period, but for now, that's all from me, I gotta go move a billion boxes
Another thing that's popped up that I remembered to share while we're waiting for the moving truck

There's currently a whiteware shortage in NZ. Buy whiteware as soon as you have a settlement date.

Love,
Someone who has to live without a fridge for a week

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