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First Home? Don't Stress! Our simple checklist has you covered

First Home? Don't Stress! Our simple checklist has you covered

May 23, 2024

Buying your first home involves setting your budget, getting a mortgage pre-approval, finding the right home, negotiating an offer, and completing all the paperwork. It's a lot to tackle, especially if you've never done it before.

That’s why Benchmark Mortgages strives to simplify the process, which will help you confidently navigate each step so you can focus on the thrill of purchasing your dream home.

Follow these tips, and you'll be unlocking the door to your first home in no time.

Determine your budget

Determining your budget will require research and number crunching to estimate homeownership's upfront and ongoing costs. You could also be eligible for a First Home Loan underwritten by Kāinga Ora.

Start by adding up potential monthly housing costs, such as your mortgage payment, property taxes, home insurance, and utilities. Online mortgage calculators can help estimate your mortgage payment based on your home price, down payment, interest rate, and loan term.

Remember to budget for one-time moving costs, such as hiring a moving company, changing utilities, and buying new furniture.

Owning a home also means budgeting for maintenance and repairs and factoring in lifestyle changes.

Initial appointment with a mortgage advisor

Scheduling an appointment with an experienced mortgage advisor will give you access to the acquired knowledge needed for your specific situation—not to mention save you a lot of time and stress.

At Benchmark Mortgages, we work with you to understand your needs and goals and help you find the mortgage structure that best fits your requirements. We will discuss various interest rates available and work diligently to secure the lowest rates.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage

After the initial meeting with our advisor, we will assist you with obtaining pre-approval for your mortgage. This step is crucial as it allows you to understand your budget better and enables you to target affordable properties. Knowing you have pre-approval increases sellers' confidence when you put in an offer.

It is recommended that you get pre-approved from multiple lenders to compare options. This is where an experienced mortgage broker can help you find the best mortgage rates and terms for your situation.

Define your must-haves

Create a wish list of everything you'd like in your ideal home, from the number of bedrooms and bathrooms to unique spaces like a home office or finished basement.

Then, determine which items are absolute deal breakers versus just nice-to-haves. This will help you identify homes that genuinely match your needs and avoid being swayed by homes with attractive features that aren't essential.

Do you value location over size? Does a newer home take precedence over extra square footage? Establishing these priorities will guide your search and decision-making.

Start your home search

With a pre-approval in hand, it's time to start looking at properties that meet your defined wish list. This stage is exciting but can also feel overwhelming. But don’t stress—we will continue working with you throughout each search step!

Working through and signing the sale and purchase agreement

This step is when your home search gets real, and you’re closer to owning your first property. Once you find your perfect home and your offer has been accepted, our team will guide you through the sale and purchase agreement process to ensure you understand this important document. We will review each clause and answer any questions you might have.

Going unconditional on the property

When a sale and purchase agreement is signed, several conditions must be met before the deal becomes final. These include approving the Land Information Memorandum report (LIM), reviewing the building inspection results, and confirming financing. Upon satisfying the conditions, you are deemed to have 'gone unconditional,' the property is all yours under the contract terms.

Settlement date

The final and most exciting step is settlement day. This is when the property ownership is transferred to your name. Our team will work with lawyers and banks to ensure all documentation is in order and to make this a smooth process.


Pop some champagne, hang photos on the wall, and enjoy your first night in your new home!

Use Benchmark Mortgages to get your first home mortgage

When purchasing a house, numerous parties are involved, including real estate agents, valuers, building inspectors, solicitors, and banks. It can be confusing and time-consuming, particularly for first-time buyers unfamiliar with how it works and who does what.

As a mortgage broker, I am here to ensure a seamless process and ultimately save you time, money and stress. With my extensive knowledge of the rules, regulations and lenders, I can provide valuable advice on pricing and buying strategies to get you into your first home.

Our services cost you nothing because we get paid by the lender you choose from the options we present.  Talk to Benchmark Mortgages today and get one step closer to owning your dream home.

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