Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cate Foster & Shelley Bridgeman
Renaissance Publishing - %27.99

‘First-time buyers are in a better position than they have been for years.’

That’s the message from Shelley Bridgeman and Cate Foster, property writers and co-authors of an insightful new real estate book; Buying Your First Home: An Essential Kiwi Guide.

First-time buyers are in a unique position in the marketplace, say Bridgeman and Foster. The effects of the ‘credit crunch’ have raised the bar for these buyers when it comes to securing a mortgage, but this is outweighed by other positives: softening house prices, new initiatives like KiwiSaver, and the high interest rates paid on money held in savings accounts.

Their conclusions are echoed by recent front page headlines like ‘Price is right for house hunters’ (NZ Herald), inspired by the results of the ASB Bank housing confidence survey, which revealed most house hunters believe this is the best time in years to buy. The quarterly survey for the three months ending July 2008 showed that 55% of those surveyed anticipate lower house prices, compared to a net 34% in the previous quarter.

‘Be patient,’ is Bridgeman and Foster’s advice to those new to the property market. ‘Keep saving – hard – and sleep well at night because you no longer have to worry about climbing property prices outstripping your ability to keep up with them.

‘You might have to wait a bit but, for once, the waiting is in your favour. Your time will come.’

Buying Your First Home: An Essential Kiwi Guide is vital reading for all first-time aspiring homeowners. Bridgeman and Foster have set out to make the book as accessible as possible, with all the important nuts-and-bolts topics presented alongside useful cautionary tales, plenty of insightful tips, and advice that encourages lateral thinking.

All aspects of the journey towards home ownership are covered from decoding real-estate speak, to the ins and outs of buying property with friends or partners, to the latest Government initiatives, and essential advice on negotiation and contracts.

Buying Your First Home: An Essential Kiwi Guide also covers:

· Why, what, when and where to buy
· Budgeting, saving and finding finance
· Negotiations, sale and purchase agreements
· Banks, loans, buying strategically
· Dealing with lawyers and real estate agents
· Renovating, and planning your next move

Local authorities and lenders are listed, along with excellent references for further reading and relevant website addresses, making this a must-read for aspiring Kiwi first home buyers.

About the Authors:

Cate Foster has lived, loved and written about all aspects of property since the mid 1990s. A veteran writer, she has contributed to NZ House & Garden and Your Home & Garden magazines as well as HeraldHomes – for which she wrote a weekly column entitled ‘My First House’. During the course of her work she was regularly in contact with hundreds of property experts including real estate agents, builders, architects, valuers and moneylenders. As her own children approached adulthood, Cate gained first-hand appreciation of the significant challenges facing first-home buyers today. In response to this, she was inspired to gather her hard-earned wisdom in order to help others negotiate the minefield that is home buying. Buying Your First Home is her offering to all those who aspire to own a home of their own.

Auckland-based journalist Shelley Bridgeman has researched and written about real estate and property since 1998 during which time she has had over 150 articles published in NZ House & Garden magazine – covering homes from Kerikeri to Lake Tekapo and most places in between. She’s reported on property markets in Waikato and Gisborne for the Herald on Sunday newspaper and written weekly articles about real estate for HeraldHomes. Having lived in Auckland, Hawke’s Bay, Palmerston North, Wellington and Christchurch, Shelley has an insider’s understanding of the nuances of the property markets in different regions. In co-authoring Buying Your First Home, she is delighted to be able to share her knowledge about buying and improving houses so that first-timers can approach the purchase of their new home with confidence and from a position of informed strength.

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