Buying a house at Auction in New Zealand

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Buying at auction is quite different from other ways of purchasing residential property. As soon as you have purchased at auction the agreement becomes legally binding and is unconditional. You cannot back out of the purchase if you discover something wrong with the property or the property’s title, or if your finance does not come through. This means that you need to complete your due diligence prior to auction day.

If you are considering buying a property at auction, the real estate agent may provide you with the following supporting documents, or you may have to source them yourself:

• Particulars and Conditions of Sale of Real Estate by Auction for the property.
• A copy of the Certificate of Title to the property (which may include copies of any encumbrances registered against the title).
• LIM report.
• Builder’s report.
• Information regarding the real estate agent’s legal obligations in respect of the auction process.

So what do you need to know about these documents?

Particulars and Conditions of Sale of Real Estate by Auction
• Check the chattels listed in the Particulars and Conditions of Sale of Real Estate by Auction to ensure they match up with what you have viewed at the property and that they are in working order. You should query with the real estate agent if you see any chattels at the property which aren’t noted on the Particulars.
• The settlement and possession dates are shown on the Particulars. If you wish to have a different settlement and possession date you should approach the real estate agent prior to the auction, and if such date is acceptable to the vendor then a variation of agreement would be entered into prior to the auction to reflect that if you became the purchaser then the settlement date would be that varied date.
• You should have your lawyer review the Particulars and explain any additional or replacement clauses, or deletion of standard clauses.

Certificate of Title
• You should have your lawyer review the title, including checking any interests registered on the Certificate of Title to ensure they are correct and do not cause any difficulties with your proposed use of the property.

LIM Report
• You should have your lawyer check the details of the LIM report to ensure (amongst other things) there are no outstanding Land Use Consents or building consents without Code Compliance Certificates etc, or any special features for the property, as noted by Council.

Builder’s Report
• A builder’s report may or may not be provided by the vendor. Be aware that this report has been obtained (and paid for) by the vendor. If you have any concerns about any issues, you can arrange for your own building inspection prior to the auction date.

Finance
• Prior to the auction, make sure you have all your financing arrangements in place. If you bid and win the auction, you have entered into an unconditional contract and will be legally obliged to complete the transaction.
• If you are the winner at auction, you will be required to pay a deposit (usually 10% although this could also be negotiated prior the auction) immediately.

Anything else?
• The vendor may or may not consider pre-auction offers. The real estate agent will have a formula to follow if a pre-auction offer is to be considered. This will set out the timing of offers and who is to be notified etc.
• If you are planning on using KiwiSaver funds to complete the purchase, be aware of timing issues for withdrawing funds and allow sufficient time to receive funds prior to completing settlement.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions prior to the auction – afterwards could be too late.

We are happy to check any documentation relating to a property you are considering purchasing at auction. For $350 + GST, office expenses and disbursements we will do a full pre-auction due diligence review, giving you peace of mind before you make one of life’s most significant investments. If you are successful at auction, the $350 will be deducted from the cost of your conveyancing.

To talk to use about a pre-auction review or to discuss any matter relating to buying and selling residential property contact Fiona Taylor by phone on 09 837 6845 or email
Fiona.taylor@smithpartners.co.nz