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George Ireland discusses the importance of legal advice when buying property.

For most New Zealanders buying and selling a home is an exciting time. For most it will be the biggest investment in their life and it is therefore important to involve your lawyer as early as possible in your decision making. Your lawyer can guide you through the process and ensure that the proper checks are made and pitfalls are avoided.

If possible, consult a lawyer before you sign the agreement.  Your lawyer can advise you whether any special clauses should be added to the agreement.

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Once the agreement has been completed the lawyer will check that it has been signed properly and then guide you through the conditions.  If your building report or LIM reveal defects, your solicitor will advise you on the options available to you. That may include negotiating a reduction in the purchase price or delaying settlement until the defect has been remedied.

You should discuss the ownership structure with your lawyer as soon as possible.  You can purchase a property as the sole owner, jointly with another owner or through a trust or company.

If you are in a relationship your lawyer can advise you on the implications that property ownership might have to your relationship property and how you can protect yourself, your partner or your children in the event of the relationship ending.

Normally your home will be an asset, which will form part of your estate when you die.  It is therefore important to consider whether you should obtain life insurance to repay your mortgage and also to complete a will and consider the need for an enduring power of attorney for property matters.

Article | George Ireland. Photo | Tux Hika

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