Buying Your First Home?

Nov. 19, 2019

Buying your first home can be a stressful and confusing time. With so much information out there, it pays to get quality advice. Getting the right help at the outset can save you a headache later. 

There are various matters your solicitor can advise you on throughout the process. 


Due Diligence

Due diligence is a crucial step in the house buying process. It involves checking the information available about the property to identify potential areas of risk. 

This may involve:


Reviewing the Land Information Memorandum ("LIM"), which will contain all the information the relevant City Council holds on the property including building consents and code compliance certificates, any earthquake claims or flood risk.


Reviewing the Record of Title and any encumbrances registered against the title.  The Record of Title is the underlying legal document showing the status of the land including the type of legal interest, the registered owner, restrictions, covenants or mortgages.  


Reviewing the builder’s report.  We highly recommend you commission a builder’s report yourself from a qualified building inspector rather than using a vendor-supplied report which you may not be able to rely upon and which is likely to be substantially more favourable to the vendor. 


Reviewing the body corporate minutes and financials.  If the property is a unit title, purchasers should obtain and review the body corporate information including 3 years of body corporate minutes, 3 years of financial accounts, the insurance details, long term maintenance plan and body corporate rules. 


Reviewing or preparing the agreement for sale and purchase.  Your solicitor can review the conditions the vendor has included, advise you on the implications of those conditions and insert various conditions for your benefit if required. 




If you did not have enough time to conduct due diligence before making an offer, you may want to make your offer conditional on any of the matters mentioned above, or on a general due diligence condition.  

It is usual to include an insurance condition.  Insurers have become increasingly cautious about the properties that they are willing to insure and will not automatically insure you even if the property you are purchasing is insured by the current owner.  Insurers may stop issuing offers of insurance if an earthquake occurs.  Purchasers must be certain that insurance is arranged at settlement or the bank will not lend funds.

Another common condition is obtaining finance and there are many other that may be included such as ensuring there is no methamphetamine contamination or that EQC claims are transferred. 

It is important that you have a lawyer to draft these conditions for you, to make sure your interests are properly protected. 

If an agreement is conditional, the purchaser's solicitor will be in contact with the vendor’s solicitor to confirm the conditions as instructed.  Once all the conditions are confirmed, the agreement is “unconditional” and the deposit becomes due. 



Settlement is the day that legal ownership of the property is transferred to the purchaser. This must be performed by a lawyer or qualified conveyancer. 

Prior to settlement, the purchaser's solicitor will have prepared various documents and communicated with the lender and the vendor’s solicitor to ensure everything is ready.  The purchaser(s) will have to meet with their solicitor to go over loan documents, provide insurance information, complete tax statements and to sign an Authority and Instruction Form which authorises their solicitor to register the electronic conveyance and complete the purchase. 

On settlement day, the purchaser's solicitor will ensure that funds are paid to the vendor's solicitor's trust account.  The electronic dealing will then be registered, transferring ownership to the new owner. 


Nina Becker
Staff Solicitor

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is general in nature and not tailored to your personal circumstances. It is only current as at the date posted and should not be relied upon as legal advice. For legal advice applicable to your situation, please contact us for an appointment.