Buying Your First Home: The Do’s and Don’ts.

Buying Your First Home: The Do’s and Don’ts.

Read Through And Find Out How To Get One Without Tearing Out Your Hair.

Right now it’s getting harder and harder for first home buyers to get onto the property ladder – and it’s not just Auckland feeling the squeeze. You’d think with an almost record low OCR, the pressure would be off. Here at we know that a red-hot sellers market is in effect in our urban centres, which can negate such a good home loan deal for a first home buyer. Here’s our tips for the general Do’s and Don’ts of getting into your first home.

Do: Assess Your Lifestyle


Is buying a home the best option for you and your lifestyle? Are you planning on moving overseas? Do you favour flexibility? Starting a family? Assessing what your life goals are is crucial before planning on purchasing a capital asset like a house. With most 3 bedroom homes in our urban centres having a HomesEstimate of over $400,000, finding the right home for your current & future lifestyle is crucial before committing to the buying process.

Don’t: Commit If You Can’t


The word ‘Mortgage’ derived from middle age french law meaning “death pledge” i.e. the pledge, or contract is dead once it has been fulfilled. However, sometimes a modern mortgage can seem like a literal death pledge due to how much you have to commit to repayment schemes.

Do: Get as Much Information as Possible

first home buyers club

Here at we believe in as much free data as possible. Buying a home is a daunting task and there are so many variables to consider. Yes, banks do offer some wonderful guides, like Westpac here, but sometimes you need a more comprehensive guide. That’s where we think First Home Buyers Club fills the gap. They easily segment the entire journey of acquiring your first home, with eight stages to follow through.

Don’t: Stick to What May Have Worked For Your Parents


While the property market is an industry still vanguarded by tradition, there are shakeups in place. Mortgages don’t have to be fixed for an extended period of time. The wait to buy a home is longer than it used to be, and can be costly if you’re hasty. The pre approval period is changing too, with after hours consultations available from most banks. First Home Buyers Club has templates and even offers a free meeting to discuss how to start planning to get into your first home.

Do: Shop Around Neighbourhoods


Often the first thing we think about when it comes to getting a first home is the amount of money you’ll have to spend, and what the other neighbourhood homes are worth. Of course, you can always browse through the suburbs through to see the estimated values of nearby properties. See what it looks like through Google Streetview, perhaps go for a drive during the weekend to see if its a hubbub or quiet zone.

Don’t: Get Postcode Envy

Lorde UMG James K Lowe 2013

True, it is location, location, location. However, don’t get too hung up on your favourite suburbs, you might just find them out of your price range or unsuitable for your lifestyle. Being in the burbs might feel like being royals, but it comes down to what your lifestyle accommodates.

Do: Get as Much Support as Possible


Ask your friends, your colleagues, & your family about what tripped them up in the home buying process. You might just find out some handy tips & tricks from those you know best. Sign up for free memberships at First Home Buyers Club. Shop around banks, network with Real Estate Agents. Provide a clear outline of what you are looking for when getting support, & you’ll get it.

Do: Your Homework

That’s pretty much what it boils down to. With the right information, you can rest easy in the process.

Property Market Just Too Hot? How About A House For $10,000?

Property Market Just Too Hot? How About A House For $10,000.

That’s if you don’t mind a small footprint. A very small footprint.

Then again, us Kiwis are used to small houses for summer. The quintessential summer bach, long passed down through generations. The bach is humble, small, but oh so practical. While the Whangapoua bach pictured above may not look humble, its simple living principle shines strong. So why don’t we apply this formula to the properties we actually spend the most time in? We take a look at some of the most interesting small home designs.

So Why The Tiny House?

A simple answer? People can choose to live simply. Less possessions to worry about, smaller bills, a tiny carbon footprint, and most importantly, it’s cheap! That’s not to say there are no drawbacks to the tiny house, and it’s certainly not for everyone’s lifestyle.

Perhaps you don’t want to share space when buying a home, or you’re ready to start a life with that special someone with a clean slate of the property ownership dream. Maybe you’re downsizing after a long and fruitful career, the kids have left the nest, so how hard can it be to downsize a house?

Prices in some of our urban centres tip $1 million, and our sales histories show that it’s not for prime real estate either. Land spaces around cities are smaller, and with the erosion of the kiwi quarter acre dream in urban centres, a small home could be another way of getting your feet in the city you love – affordably.

1. How About Something With a Veggie Garden?

Because nothing is quite like popping outside for a sprig of rosemary to add to your Sunday roast. The Axis Series Small Home Test Lab built 3 compact homes on 12 Station Street Hobsonville Point with outdoor space in mind.

home 3 axis living

The homes have since been sold, however, the floor plans are still available to view and download. Total build price including land costs ended up being $340,000 for the 1 bedroom, $450,000 for the 2 bedroom, and $485,000 for the 3 bedroom. An OK cost for a brand new house in one of Auckland’s most sought after development areas.

Wanting to be city slick though? Maybe take a look at a KASITA design.


Imagine seeing these minimalist avant-garde apartments in a new Christchurch CBD, as student housing in Dunedin, or nestled in Wellington’s harbour.

Like stackable lego pieces, this type of minimalist style could be a viable alternative in inner city living.

2. Converted Garages Can Actually Be Cool.

Take Seattle based Michelle De La Vega’s home. Her humble shed has since been converted using mostly refurbished items. A garage space can be surprisingly spacious when executed correctly.

michelle De La Vega

With a little DIY and clever thinking, perhaps you wont need anything bigger than a garage to live in.

3. What About Sustainability?

Gotta keep New Zealand clean and green right? Christchurch based Black Hut Designs specialise in sustainable timber construction and green initiatives for carbon negativity, and the black timber is just stunning design. The Kepler Hut at just 100m2 can be transported too. Sitting at 97 Office Lane in Christchurch, the design was a finalist in its corresponding year of NZ Timber Design Awards.

black hut

Drawings and building cost over $265,000 for the Kepler Hut and for such a bespoke design, some say it’s a bargain.


Who knows, maybe bigger isn’t always better when it comes to a home.

Which Of Your Friends Are Millionaires?

Which Of Your Friends Are Millionaires?

With a staggering 46% of homes in Auckland having a HomesEstimate of over $1 million, chances are you’ll find one of your friends in a property valued over this amount. First up, let’s just ignore the little fact that the banks own a good chunk of most people’s homes and play along.

It’s a little bit unknown that sales histories have always been kept in the public council records. Real Estate Agents have known what you bought your house for for years. has sales histories built right into our interface so you can see them instantly, and more importantly for free. 

So, now that the data is a little bit more freed up, let’s do a hypothetical. Turns out one of your friends bought a house in Sandringham a few years back. They seem to do pretty well for themselves and host really good barbeques. Are they millionaires?

Home Page

So you jump on (Don’t worry if your screen doesn’t look like this, it’s just as pretty on mobile)

You don’t quite remember the exact address of their house, but you remember their street name, Tranmere Road, so you type that in.

tranmere road

and find…

tranmere road map

A nice map full of HomesEstimates on properties on Tranmere Road. You remember that your friends house had a massive tree out back, so you click on the little satellite in the bottom left corner and…

21 tranmere road satellite

There it is! Click on the house to get a little more information, see what they bought the house for, and what the current HomesEstimate is.

tranmere road value

Scrolling down, you find out your friends bought the house in 2010  for $690,000.

Their rateable value, provided by the council from July 2014 is sitting just under 1 million at $950,000. This is Auckland though, since when has a house sold for under an RV the last few years?

Our HomesEstimate, which takes into account monthly sales data from the area values their house a little higher, at $1,470,000.

So they’ve done pretty well outa the old Auckland housing boom. Maybe next time they host the barbecue they can provide the drinks too.