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Home Sale By Owner

If selling your home privately, make sure you appreciate the legalities. Follow our advice and free checklist of legal documents to better understand what is involved.

Buying or selling real estate is a legal process which can unexpectedly turn complex. Real estate agents are trained to navigate all the ins and outs which are often underestimated by private home sellers.

If you need to speak with an independent advisor, get in touch or call 0800 789 532 - we're here to help.

Home for sale by owner - pros and cons

If you're short on experience with selling a house, we recommend you consider the pros and cons of a private sale first. Things might look simple from your end, but the most challenging work of selling real estate is not the marketing and advertising, but rather more the period between the date the sale and purchase agreement is signed and the unconditional date.

This is where property sales often fall over - in particular private sales.

Home buyers now purchase property with greater caution and their legal or financial situations and information requests are not always straight forward. Real estate agents liaise with lawyers, valuers, banks, mortgage brokers, insurance companies, councils, building inspectors and whatever it takes to close the sale. Could you manage this?

As an owner, selling a home is rarely straight forward so it pays to be aware of the pros and cons in detail before you make this important decision - including the opportunities you could miss out on.

Sample legal documents for a private home sale

help you better understand some of the responsibilities and documents that private sellers will encounter.

Whether you are using a real estate agent or selling privately, some or many of these will be part of the picture. There may be others, depending on your property type or description.

If you intend to buy or sell your home privately, you will need to know how to navigate these yourself which is why so few take the risk and go it alone.

Even lawyers and real estate agents use real estate agents.

Real Estate Commission The Contentious Point?

Kiwis often defer to a private home sale because of real estate commission and fees. If this sounds like you, you can find lots of advice about commission here which includes examples of fees and advice about negotiating commission, getting the best sale price and minimising costs. It's really helpful.

Understand your legal obligations - what you need to know

Is your home structurally sound?

Owner Sell Home
  • Structural integrity of a building is one of the most common inspections included in the conditions of a sale. Make sure you use a trained building surveyor.
  • A word of warning, make sure any building inspection report is addressed to all who will be relying on its accuracy. If it is not addressed to you, you have no come back if errors are made.

Things buyers might search or request information on

  • LIM – Land Information Memorandum which is held by your local authority
  • PIM – The Building Guide provides comprehensive information about a Property Information Memorandum
  • Survey Plans (Title Sheet) show legal boundaries, area and dimensions which include easements
  • COC - Code of Compliance for any finished renovations, extensions or repairs that required Council consent
  • Electrical Code of Compliance for any new electrical work installed into a home
  • Insurance companies are now requiring Electrical Inspections Certificates for properties built pre-1938. Check with your insurance company sooner rather than later.

Agreements can fall over because a buyer can't get insurance on your property.

The number and range of reports needed has increased with the advent of the Christchurch earthquakes, meth contamination in houses, and leaky homes. Be prepared for the things buyers might request.

  • Moisture Reports can be sought if required to satisfy any doubts about the cladding or moisture issues
  • Methamphetamine testing reports requested by buyers
  • Property Conveyance reports are easily explained here

Private home sale - further homework

  • Cross lease titles and Unit Titles are explained for buyers and sellers to better understand the difference
  • Architectural drawings or other proof if marketing a house as ‘architecturally designed’. If your house has not been designed by a registered architect, it has not been architecturally designed
  • The Sale and Purchase Agreement, conditions and clauses and any associated risks to you
  • For GST and whether it applies to you, the Inland Revenue Department has an informative download.
  • Pre-Settlement Inspections of the property are done just prior to settlement to ensure all matters are attended to as per your Sale and Purchase Agreement clauses. This includes the chattels
  • Independent Property Valuation Reports and/or Council Valuation Reports
  • If selling a unit in a unit title, Tenancy Services provide buyers with advice and expectations for buying this type of property and sellers will understand what will be asked of them.
Home Sale By The Owner

This is not an exhaustive list but will primarily cover most real estate property transactions. For professional advice, talk to your lawyer.

Alternatively, if you decide you want to use a licensed real estate agent, there is free advice available about where to start.

Article Updated August 13 2020

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