Once you have found your perfect property in New Zealand, agreed you purchase price and Worldwide Lawyers has found your independent New Zealand lawyer, you are ready to move forward with the property buying process.
Once the buyer and seller have agreed the purchase price, the buyer’s offer will be formalised in a Sale and Purchase Agreement under which the buyer agrees to buy and the seller agrees to sell the property.
Before this agreement is signed, your lawyer will undertake various searches in relation to the property and its title deeds. They should also obtain a Land Information Memorandum (LIM) which is a document produced by the local council that includes all sorts of information about the property you’re considering such as the legality of the building and any restrictions on the use of the land.
Your lawyer should ensure that, if necessary, the sale and purchase contract is made conditional on factors such as mortgage finance, title searches, satisfactory LIM and building reports to ensure you are protected should anything go wrong with your purchase. This contract may take various forms depending on your circumstances and your lawyer should explain the obligations of each party as a result of entering into this contract before you sign.
When all of the terms of the sale and purchase contract have been agreed, this contract will then be signed by both buyer and seller. At this point the buyer pays a deposit of around 10% of the property purchase price which will usually be held by their lawyer.
You can either sign the contract in person or arrange a Power of Attorney for someone else, usually your lawyer, to sign on your behalf. Should you require a Power of Attorney, your lawyer should be able to prepare this for you. You can put the Power of Attorney into effect by signing this in New Zealand in the presence of a Notary, through the New Zealand consulates in the UK, or through a British notary public with a Hague Apostille.
Once the sale and purchase contract has been signed, both parties are then bound to proceed with the transaction. Therefore neither party can pull out of the process unless one or more of the conditions of the contract are not fulfilled. For example if your offer has been made conditional on you gaining mortgage finance, and you are unable to obtain that finance, you may be able to withdraw from the contract on that basis.
When all the conditions of the contract have been met to the satisfaction of both parties, the sale is then considered to be fully binding “unconditional”. Your deposit will normally then be paid over to the seller and will not be refunded should you not be able to “settle” (complete) the purchase for any reason.
If you are buying a property at an auction you are usually considered to be an unconditional buyer immediately
and will be immediately required to pay the agreed deposit which is usually around 10% of the purchase price. You will therefore need to make sure all of your searches and investiagtions of the property have been completed before the day of the auction.
Once all the sale conditions have been met the sale can be “settled” (completed) and the balance of the purchase price paid. The property will then be formally transferred to you and will be registered by your lawyer with the land registry (Land Information New Zealand). They will also register any mortgage on the property title.
The next step is to enjoy your new property relaxed in the knowledge that your independent New Zealand lawyer has taken care of all legal formalities and your interests have been protected. Congratulations!