Real Estate Authority sets up website to offer buyers and sellers independent and impartial advice

The Real Estate Authority, the government agency responsible for licensing and regulating the real estate industry, has set up an information website for people that are buying or selling property.

The REA says the need for an independent source of information for buyers and sellers was highlighted by a Nielsen survey it commissioned, given half the respondents said they lacked the knowledge and information they needed when buying or selling. (The REA was formerly known as the Real Estate Agents Authority).

The new website, www.settled.govt.nz, has information on a wide range of issues people might encounter during the buying or selling process.

Its key recommendations for buyers include advice such as:

  • We recommend you hire a qualified property inspector before you make an offer.
  • Find a lawyer or conveyancer before you start looking at properties.
  • The real estate agent will answer your questions, but remember they work for the seller, not the buyer.

The advice is expanded with sections on why it's important to get legal advice before you sign anything, how to find a suitable lawyer, and the importance of using a qualified property inspector when considering buying a property.

There is also a section outlining how to deal with real estate agents, and there's a check list of what to look for when inspecting a property.

REA chief executive Kevin Lampen-Simth said the REA's research showed many people thought property transactions were confusing and that it was difficult to find reliable information.

"This lack of knowledge means many buyers fail to do the appropriate due diligence when purchasing a property, exposing themselves to significant potential risks," he said.

"The Settled.govt.nz website is an interactive resource with impartial and clear information to help them feel more confident and make better decisions."

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11 Comments

https://www.settled.govt.nz/ is a very vague site. I would say it is not worth reporting on... but to late. Does not mentioned the the total lack of rights an individual can have if a neighbour does not want change. This is particular to cross lease titles. People publicly should have the right to know that with a controlling neighbour your "rights" to a warm, insulated, efficient and safe home for your family can be completely denied. These lack of basic rights for families are increasing with intensification which in turn affects the housing shortage. The government should investigate the end to cross lease titles for the sake of the families in this situation and to stop giving power to the "incompetent neighbour".

Actually it includes all that information you just said it doesn't mention:

https://www.settled.govt.nz/buying-a-home/finding-a-property/understandi...

Cross lease
If you hold a cross lease you own two interests in the property:

A share of the freehold title in common with the other cross lease holders.
A leasehold interest in the particular area and building that you occupy. These leases are usually for 999 years for a nominal rent like 10 cents per annum (which is usually not demanded to be paid).
A cross lease title will include a plan showing the footprint of the building you are entitled to occupy, called the flats plan. You should check this to see:

whether it matches the physical location of the property you are looking at
areas that any of the cross lease holders have the exclusive right to use
any common or shared areas.
Cross lease ownership usually means that any structural changes made to any area you are entitled to use exclusively (like the building you occupy or your separate garden) or to the shared areas must be agreed upon by all or a majority of the owners. Depending on the terms of the cross lease, you may need to get the other owners’ consent for things like painting the exterior or making non-structural changes to the building you occupy, building a deck or putting up a fence. There may be restrictions on what you can do with the property under the terms of the lease registered on your title.

Cross leases are a complicated type of ownership. If possible, talk to the other cross lease holders and find out how well the arrangements work.

Again its vague.

This is a serious issue when your own MP tells you that you have no rights if your cross lease neighbour wants total control. The page would be better read if it used stronger language than "complicated", and mentioned the need for Government to end such titles bringing basic rights to a home back to the individual.

Many are and will be stuck with the realization that what they thought their basics rights were as New Zealanders are not true if they want to build a warm, efficiently insulated, safe home for their family on a cross lease title.

"Find a lawyer or conveyancer before you start looking at properties"

says enough don't it?

I have to say again it is vague. Having a lawyer or conveyancer involved does not solve the problem if they do not do their due diligence on the title being brought. There are many so called property lawyers that have a hard time going the extra mile to investigate if a cross lease property has the potential to have "incompetent neighbours" that share the lease. Most Realtors as well will not knock on the door of the cross lease neighbour of a property they are selling in fear of what they may say. Hear nothing say nothing.

Again the main point here is that an individual's rights to a new dwelling can be denied in cross lease titles and this is something the government should address with stronger language. Getting rid of cross lease titles is the ultimate solution as it then puts the individual on an equal footing with others when they need to head to council with a set of plans.

The Government should read Interest.co.nz's comment section to see how difficult it is to provide "impartial" advice

Better late than never. Although many had already over-paid for time bombs like plasters, meth, lease renewal, weather tightness, etc and now are sitting on their financial demise. Pay a hundred grand premium over market, pay another hundred grand to repair. We all know property lawsuits was on a surge since 2012.

The illusion of wealth creation leads many over the cliff.

With the govt giving advice do you think your above mentioned problems will go away CWBW?
Bureaucracy can't protect people from their greed or their stupidity. All bureaucracy can do is confuse people even more.

Never before has so much high quality information been made so freely available to so many people for so little cost.

"half the respondents said they lacked the knowledge and information they needed when buying or selling"

"get a building inspection before making an offer" that sounds like seriously bad advice to me, Most people view lots of houses so that could get expensive. By the time you have your report the property might have a contract on it so you have done your loot.
Surely the status quo of submit your offer with a builders report clause, 'being satisfied with your builders report' is the way to go.
When the govt starts giving advice on how to buy a house it can only get more confusing. The agent wants to make the sale, they can walk you through the process step be step.

Very correct Northland Hippy.That or a Due diligence clause.