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Questions to Ask the Agent – Part 2 we started talking about questions to ask the agent when you are interested in a house you are viewing. We focused in that blog post on direct questions related to the price and reasons for selling. This blog post we are getting into the condition of the house and other physical factors that may affect the house’s value and suitability of the house for you.

6. What is that condition of the house? - This is really important to get an insight into - Have any of the - Piles, Wiring, Interior Lining, Roof, Exterior and Plumbing been re-done. Tip – a partial re-wire, re-pile etc usually means a couple of things have been replaced and most likely means that more work is necessary.

7. Has there been any work done? Is it all permitted? This is one of the questions which the agent may (choose to) not know anything about – ask them if they asked the vendor about permits for an extension, knock-thru etc

8. Where are the boundaries? Are the fences on the boundaries? – Sometimes the boundaries are not where fences are and garages can be on road reserve (council land) so it pays to find out. Even if the real estate agent doesn’t know exactly where the boundaries are – they should know if there are any potential issues with boundaries.

9. What things (chattels) are included or not included? – Never assume that all the attached furnishing, like shelves and lights are going to be included in the sale – especially if you particularly like a chattel – check that it is going to be left behind.

10. Is there anything I should know? Anything that may affect value?  - You never know what the vendor is aware of that may affect your perception of the house and its value. This is probably the most important question to ask! An agent is obliged to tell you anything about a house that they are aware of that could affect its value, whether this is building issues (leaky building!) or local development (childcare centre is opening next door).

Remember to always independently check the claims of the real estate agent. An agent is not a building inspector, valuer or an expert on the building act or local council regulations. So if you are serious about buying - get the experts in!

Questions to Ask the Agent – Part 1

One of the first groups of people you meet on your house hunt is real estate agents. As you start looking they will be dealing with your enquiries to see houses and showing you through homes. This two part blog series aims to give you some good questions to ask the agent so you can get an insight in to the house and its value.

If you are viewing a house and find yourself interested, it is time to start asking the real estate agent some questions – they are likely to know some relevant information about the house, and surrounds, so make use of this source of knowledge.

But! Remember the agent is working for the vendor – so they are likely to emphasise the positive about the house and area and will tend to leave out the negative points. Therefore, noting what the real estate agent avoids talking about, says they know nothing about, or omits completely from the conversation are probably the most important things to know about - so reseach them!

These price related questions are a good place to start when talking to a real estate agent:

1. Why are they selling? If this information is available it can give some insight into the amount of negotiation you can do on price & whether settlement date is important to the vendor.

2. How long has it been on the market? Why isn't it selling? – The answer to this question can also give you some reference for price negotiation.

3. Have there been any offers? What were they? - It is good to know if there have been any offers, how much they were for, and when they were made. If time has passed – the vendor may be open to considering those same offers again.

4. How much will they take? – Just what is the vendor after? You may be surprised…

5. How much are the rates? – Handy to not have to look this one up yourself – and rates will be an ongoing monthly expense for you if you buy the house so this information is essential…

Next blog post we are going to discuss the condition of the house – and let you in on the questions that will give you an insight into aspects of the house and surrounds that may affect your perception of the house itself or the house’s value.

What to know more about house buying - the Propertytoolbox House Buying Guide has it all!

What Happens on Settlement Day – The Lawyer

Settlement day is the day that (all going to plan) money changes hands, the name on the title changes and you get the keys to your new home.

Wondering what your lawyer is up to on settlement day? This is what they should be sorting out for you:

  • Your lawyer pays the vendor your money as per the settlement statement via the vendor’s lawyer. The vendor’s lawyer confirms receipt of the money.
  • Your lawyer notifies you that settlement has occurred and you can now take possession of the property – usually by phone.
  • The vendor’s lawyer now starts the process by which ownership of the property passes to you. They will release of the Landonline documents to your lawyer who immediately updates the documents with the discharge of the existing mortgage, the transfer of title to you, and (if you are borrowing money) registers the new mortgage against the title.
  • The vendor's lawyer notifies the relevant Councils and Quotable Value of the sale and gives them of your details as the new owner of the property.
  • Your lawyer then puts together a record of all the information gathered during the course of the transaction and sends this to you along with the bill.

So on settlement day there is quite a lot going on – no wonder, on the odd occasion, settlement doesn’t occur on the expected day.

Want to find out more about settlement day? We have a whole section dedicated to settlement day in our Propertytoolbox house buying guide.

Settlement Day – What If I Settle Late?

Unfortunately settlement day sometimes has a few hitches and in a worst case scenario you could find that settlement does not occur as expected. There are many reasons that this can happen and it is usually that time just ran out for all the necessary things to be done to complete the settlement day transactions. This is particularly the case when a settlement involves a chain of house sale and purchases.

You need to prepare for this contingency. Have a backup plan, a place to stay, a few days overlap on your current accommodation. Remembering also that settlement is usually on a Friday, and if it does not occur, Monday is the next day available day for this to happen. This can be a real hassle! It is always best to give yourself a few days to move then you can be reassured that if settlement is delayed you are unlikely to be left out in the cold.

You may be liable for some costs if you do not settle on time. As a minimum there is penalty interest payable at a rate set out in your sale and purchase agreement – this rate is usually a premium interest rate far in excess of your mortgage interest rate. Additionally you could be liable for any expenses incurred by the vendor directly related to your late settlement for example storage and accommodation costs.

Sometimes, settlement may happen, but the vendor may have not moved out! There have been many people who have found themselves waiting in a moving truck outside their new home while the old owners were still moving out. This usually just means a long night of unpacking in the dark – but with a very disorganised vendor you may have to find alternative accommodation through no fault of your own.

Failing to settle, or not being able to move in when you planned, rarely happens, but if it does happen, make sure you are not left homeless!

For more tips, hints and handy advice for the house buying process – check out our house buying guide.

Sunset Clauses – What Are They?

A sunset clause is a clause that you include with any other conditions (like a property valuation, building inspection, or a LIM) in your sale and purchase agreement when buying a house. It is a clause that puts an ‘Expiry Date’ on the offer.

Why Use a Sunset Clause

There are a number of reason sunset clauses are put into sale and purchase agreements - the most common being to put pressure on the vendor to make a decision about your offer, or to ensure you can continue to house hunt, and put offers on houses, if an offer you have submitted is not accepted or rejected within a reasonable timeframe i.e. about 2 days.

If you don’t have a sunset clause your offer remains current until accepted or rejected by the vendor. This can be painful as you may miss out on other opportunities – or you could find yourself having multiple offers accepted if you continue to make offers on other houses assuming old offers were rejected.

When to Use a Sunset Clause

Putting a sunset clause on a sale and purchase agreement is not often done but is a good idea when you want an answer to your offer quickly for whatever reason and especially in tender situations – where your offer may be kept ‘on hold’ until negotiations with someone else are finalised.

How Long Should a Sunset Clause Be?

A good amount of time to make a sunset clause for is approximately 2 working days – with the clause expiring at 4pm on the second day – allowing for paperwork to be processed before close of business if the offer is accepted at the last minute.

If you are making an offer late in the week, try to make sure the sunset clause expires before the open home crowd descends on your potential home on the Sunday – you may not want the competition!

Leveraging the Sunset Clause

The sunset clause gives you some degree of control over the timing of the offer acceptance or negotiations. If the sale and purchase agreement expires – it is not the end - you can always offer again, or extend the sunset clause on the same (or amended) agreement if you want.

If the agreement is accepted after the sunset clause expires, the offer has expired, and no legally binding agreement has been entered into. In this case it is up to you whether or not you want to proceed. You can choose to accept the original agreement or you can resubmit the offer with some changes suitable to you.

Vendors and Sunset Clauses

Sometimes the vendor may put a sunset clause in the sale and purchase agreement – if this is the case – it really pays to get your lawyer to look over it and to explain the implications of the clause.

Sunset Clauses - Get Your Property Lawyers Advice

Don’t forget - like any clause you put in your sale and purchase agreements – whether it is being put in by you or the vendor – get it checked over by your property lawyer!

Sunset Clause All The Details

The Propertytoolbox Home Buyers Guide

After some more great home buying advice – don’t forget to check out our home buying guide!

Is the RV a Price Guide?

The Rateable Value of a house (or RV) is often quoted in the advertising for a house for sale - the suggestion is that it provides some kind of indication of the market value of the house - but does it?

What is the RV?

The RV is the rateable value or the 'value' of a house set by the local authority for the purpose of determining and allocating rates. The RV is also sometimes known as the government valuation (GV) or capital value (CV).

Why is the Rateable Value Quoted in House Adverts

Real estate agents often mention the RV in advertising, most often this is because people like to know the rateable value! But sometimes it is because the real estate agent or home owner feels that the RV is a good indication of the market value of the house. The RV's relationship to the market value of the house is ultimately up to you to decide, here are some things to consider:

Rateable Value v Price

The rateable value doesn't usually take into account anything that makes a property better or worse than others in the area, for example condition of the house and land, chattels included, landscaping improvements, and so on. Sometimes the RV is a good rough-guide of value but other times it is completely irrelevant.

An RV can be very out of date! RV's are done at least every 3 years - this can be a long time in the property market. Check the date of the rateable value - it may be 2+ years old - and not relevant in the current market.

Should I Use The RV as a Price Guide?

As a rule, you should only use the rateable value in combination with other information, like your own experience or a registered property valuation. If you are looking for the rateable value of a house - you can find out rateable value information on your local council's website for free.

Property Valuation and Rateable Values

One last thing! A registered property valuation done by a registered valuer is not a rateable value or a RV, and a registered valuation should not be referred to as an RV. To find a registered valuer - visit Property Valuation NZ.

Is the Rateable Value a Price Guide

The Propertytoolbox Home Buyers Guide

This information about the RV as a price guide was from the resources section of Property Valuation NZ – the home of the property valuer profile – making it easy for you to make a good decision when choosing a local property valuer.

Property Valuers – Useful for More Than Just a Market Value

Property valuers - in addition to providing property valuations that determine the market worth of houses - can provide consultation. A consultation by a property valuer is usually a verbal report and discussion about the house you are interested in. Why would you want a consultation with a property valuer when you are buying a house? There are lots of reasons!

An experienced valuer has seen lots of houses and is familiar with house types, building eras, construction methods & materials – they also have an understanding of engineering and architecture. This is handy info to have access to!

Valuers also keep up-to-date with local district plans and will be familiar with the Resource Management Act and other relevant legislation and regulations like the Building Code. Insight into this information can be very useful when looking at a house.

And even though a property valuer is usually not an expert in building and engineering matters – they can identify problems that you can then investigate further, using the relevant professional, if necessary.

Property valuers have a lot of knowledge to reference and can give a knowledgeable, and therefore, very useful assessment of the worthiness of a house. They can quickly point out the good and the bad points and, better yet, give an indication as to how this affects, or will affect over time, the market value of a property.

A consultation with a property valuer regarding a house can be good value for money – usually being cheaper than getting a full property valuation report. This expert knowledge is a valuable resource and the availability of property valuers for consultation is handy to know about – if you are after an unbiased property professional to give you an honest opinion – it is the way to go.

Another great way property valuers can help is in estimating of what a house could be worth after planned renovations. You can provide a valuer with a brief of your plans or your drawings and they can give you a post renovation estimate of worth that can help you work out if an investment in renovations is worth it. This is usually done as an add-on to a property valuation – but can be done in a consultation capacity.

So property valuers are not all about market value and are not just a box to tick as part of getting a mortgage – they are a property professional with heaps of great relevant knowledge, and experience – and best of all – they can provide an unemotional, unbiased opinion of the house you are looking to buy.

Interested in find a property valuer to help you out? You know where to go! Property Valuation NZ!

Choosing a Property Valuer – The Valuation Inspection & Report

Last Blog post we got the basic questions to ask a property valuer sorted – now we are getting down to the good stuff - finding out what the property valuer does during the valuation house inspection, and how the property valuation results and property valuation report are delivered. All these questions are answered for you on Property Valuation NZ – so if you want to get straight to finding and comparing local property valuers – head this way.

About the Valuation Inspection and Report


Question 5: How long will it take? When can I expect your report?

The valuer should be let you know when the report will be ready before you hire them. A valuation can usually be done (paper report produced) within 4 days. Many valuers are very accommodating and can work in with your deadlines - good practice for valuers is to not accept the work if they cannot meet your timelines. They should also let you know what is a realistic timeline given your situation - a lot depends on access to the house – this is the biggest delaying factor – if a valuer cannot get into the house it can really impact on delivery times. Valuers can do urgent reports - an urgent report is one that usually needs to be done within 24 hours – an extra cost may apply.

Question 6: Do you fully inspect the property?

You want to be sure that your valuer will fully measure the property, and report any defects. From any property valuer complying with valuer standards – this can be expected. You may also want to know how much of this information will be in the property valuation report. Some valuers give more detail in a verbal report and put the key details in the valuation report – others provide a very comprehensive report – you can let your property valuer know what suits you.

Question 7: Are you available to discuss the valuation results and report if I have any questions?

All property valuers should be willing to go through the report contents with you and back up any findings. Many property valuers will ring you to discuss their findings once they have completed the valuation inspection and determined a market value of your house. Once all has been discussed, the report is produced and sent. Even after you receive the final valuation report your valuer should be available to discuss aspects of the report and to provide consultation.

Question 8: How will the report be delivered?

The majority of valuers will send you the final valuation report as a .pdf via email – which is great as it is convenient and fast.  It is no longer standard practice to send you an original copy of the valuation report – but it is always a good idea to get an original, signed, paper copy of the report sent to you (this may be  the only thing that a bank will accept for purposes of getting mortgage finance).

One final thing  - to be sure that they are the right valuer for you – asking to see a sample report can give you a good idea of what kind out product you will be getting.

Property Valuation NZ asks all these questions for you! Making it easy for you to choose a residential property valuer near you. Looking for a property valuer – Property Valuation NZ has all the info you need.

Choosing a Property Valuer – The Basic Questions

We're in the property valuation zone here at Propertytoolbox now that we have Property Valuation NZ up and running. On the Property Valuation NZ website we profile NZ property valuers using standardised ‘Valuer Profile’ listings and group them by region and area – so you can compare your local valuers apples for apples before you choose one.

We ask 13 questions of your local property valuers as part of the ‘Valuer Profile’ on Property Valuation NZ – in the following article there is some background as to just what those questions are all about – just what we are trying to find out and why…

The questions below aren’t the exact questions on Property Valuation NZ – some of this stuff we already have sorted just by only profiling residential valuers and grouping them by area – but these questions form the core of what you need to know about a property valuer before you hire them and why.

The Basic Questions

Question 1: Do you normally do valuations of residential property?

Property valuers value all sorts of things – commercial property, farms, lifestyle blocks, apartments and residential houses. You will get the best degree of accuracy with your valuation if you can choose a valuer with experience valuing your type of property. Some valuers do value all these types of properties – but most will have a main focus – a property type that they spend the most time valuing – with your property valuer you want this to be residential property.

Question 2: How well do you know the area that my house is in?

A familiarity with the area will give the valuation a higher degree of accuracy. The valuer will have researched similar property before, will be familiar with house sale statistics in the area, and is likely to have visited a number of houses in the area as part of their valuation work – giving them a really good basis to give you an accurate valuation.

Question 3: Do they have any alliance or association with any of the parties involved?

Valuers have a responsibility to disclose information that could be considered to affect their ability to provide an unbiased report. If there is a close conflict of interest, the valuer should refer you on to a different valuer. Question 4: Do you hold professional indemnity insurance? Just to be safe - it is a good idea to make sure that your property valuer is insured.

Question number 3 is not covered off in the Property Valuation NZ valuer profiles – so make sure to ask the valuer this one yourself when you talk to them.

Property Valuation NZ covers off as much as possible of these questions for you – making it easy for you to choose a residential property valuer near you – we like that!

So now you have the basics sorted – next Blog post we are going to discuss questions you need to ask to find out all you need to know about the valuation inspection and the report.

Property Valuation NZ – Helping You Find a Property Valuer

Looking for a registered property valuer in Wellington? Or anywhere in NZ for that matter? You need Property Valuation NZ! This new website – created by the team here at Propertytoolbox is a website dedicated to property valuation in NZ.

Why was the Property Valuation NZ website created? We wanted to make it easy for you to make an informed choice when you were choosing a property valuation professional to help you with your house purchase. The Property Valuation NZ website does this through ‘Profiling’ NZ property valuers.

Want to hear more about ‘The Profile’? Here at Propertytoolbox we have always recommended a list of standard questions to ask when you are choosing a property valuer, and we suggest that you ask these questions of a few property valuers before you make a choice. But we understand that you’re busy, and you probably will have the deadline of an ‘unconditional by’ date on a sale and purchase agreement limiting your time – so calling one property valuer is hard enough let alone 3 or more! In ‘The Profile’ we have done the question asking for you!

‘The Profile’ is a standardised listing where all property valuers answer the same essential questions about themselves and their property valuation service. Seeing all the valuers are answering the same questions in their profiles – you can compare them apples for apples. Check out the profiles of Wellington property valuers.

Property Valuation NZ also groups these valuers into local areas. This makes it easier to choose a valuer who has experience valuing houses in your area, and considers your area their ‘patch’.

The property valuer profile is a NZ first, giving you insight into your local property valuers and making it quick and easy to choose the right property valuer for you. This NZ property valuer profiling is advertising, and not all property valuers are represented. But those that are have proven themselves open and forthcoming with answers to our property valuer profile questions – that dig deeper…

And there is more – We have expanded on the information about property valuation that we have in the Propertytoolbox website and created a ‘Resources’ section on the Property Valuation NZ website – this is the best place to go to find all you need to know about property valuation related topics.

And this is all in one place - on – we hope we have made it easy and convenient for you to read about and choose a property valuer near you – helping you to make a confident house buying decision.

Currently we only profile property valuers in Wellington, sorry about that! But we will be rolling out all over NZ in the coming months – Property valuers in Auckland, then Christchurch property valuers, and then pretty much property valuers everywhere else in NZ will soon be profile on Property Valuation NZ so watch this space…

So if you are looking for a property valuer in Wellington, or maybe a property valuer in Lower Hutt, or perhaps even a Kapiti Coast property valuer - check out our current registered property valuer profiles on Property Valuation NZ.

Launching the new website has all the team here at Propertytoolbox thinking about property valuation so for the next few weeks we are going to be focusing on property valuation in the Propertytoolbox Blog. Next weeks article – those infamous questions – just what to ask your property valuer before you choose them and why…

Want an instant property valuation information download – Heres all the property valuation information you will need.