REA reminds Kiwis to do their homework before taking the property plunge

15 October 2020

With a growing number of New Zealanders racing to buy property right now, the real estate industry regulator is reminding home buyers to do their homework before making an offer. Belinda Moffat, Chief Executive of the Real Estate Authority (REA), says it’s more important than ever for house hunters to make well-informed decisions.

“Buying and selling property is one of the biggest investment decisions New Zealanders make. There are many risks, and when issues occur with a real estate transaction, the financial and emotional impact can be significant and long-lasting. In a competitive market, it’s still essential to do your research before you buy a home,” Belinda urges. “Don’t let your fear of missing out impact your decision-making.”

“We’re warning house hunters to take care in this high-pressure environment and make sure they’ve gathered all the information they need before making a big real estate decision. Doing your homework on a property, researching the transaction process, and getting sound legal advice are all valuable steps that potential buyers can take to make sure they’re setting themselves up for success,” she says.

In the three months to 30 September, REA has seen an increase in calls and complaint enquiries. Last quarter REA handled 5844 calls, up 20 per cent on the same period in 2019. Complaint enquiries were up 22 per cent.

“Buying a home, particularly your first home, is already a pretty stressful process. You add to that the stress of COVID-19 and it makes sense that some buyers might be feeling overwhelmed, or feeling like they’re poorly-equipped to tackle big financial decisions right now. With homes selling so quickly in some parts of the country, we understand that for some buyers it might feel like a race to the finish line, but it’s important to take your time and do it right,” Belinda explains.

“Get a property inspection report, get a council LIM, get your finances in order and get legal advice before you commit,” she recommends. “REA’s settled.govt.nz website has independent information for buyers, and helpful tools like open home checklists and a report generator that breaks down potential risks and issues to watch out for at a particular property.”

Equally, real estate licensees are reminded of their obligations under the professional conduct and client care rules for real estate work. These rules are critical for guiding licensees in dealing fairly with consumers who are buying or selling property, especially in a high-pressure environment.

“We’re reminding real estate agents to maintain high levels of professionalism and compassion as they work to support consumers who are navigating a real estate transaction at this time. Agents should remain mindful of the personal situation of the buyers or sellers they’re engaging with,” Belinda says. “Individuals who have been personally affected by the economic impact of COVID-19 may be particularly vulnerable at this time.”

REA, the government agency that regulates the New Zealand real estate industry, oversees real estate agent behaviour and works to maintain high standards of professionalism across the industry.

People who have problems or issues with a real estate agent can contact the Real Estate Authority (REA) – visit rea.govt.nz or call 0800 367 732.

ENDS

For further information, please contact media@rea.govt.nz or 027 237 7196.