- John Duffield finally has the keys to his first home after months of searching
A Tauranga property lawyer's home hunt has given him an appreciation for the uphill battle people are facing to get on the property ladder.
Even with a budget of about $800,000, the 24-year-old Holland Beckett lawyer still battled with buyers in the heated market.
John Duffield missed out on multiple properties before securing the keys to his first home on Mount Maunganui's Gloucester Rd.
"The whole process has helped me understand it more for my clients."
He was lucky: his parents had helped him with half of the deposit and the mortgage. He also had KiwiSaver and his own savings.
Duffield first thought about buying his first home about a year ago, but he was in the middle of his admission to the bar.
"I got a bit distracted, working full time and doing that."
Then Covid came along.
"I was kind of a bit wary with what the housing market was going to do, so I thought I would wait a few more months."
But Duffield said after seeing the market move forward he decided to restart the process.
He made a list of non-negotiables: Three reasonably sized bedrooms for flatmates, good-sized kitchen, separate bath and toilet and a decent-sized property - in the Mount.
"I grew up in Pāpāmoa and have always liked this side of the bridge."
The first house he looked at was on Carysfort St. "I was quite interested in that house but it sold way over what we thought. So then we were on to the next one."
He ventured out to Ōtūmoetai for a brief moment and witnessed an auction that "just kept going".
Next was an auction for a home on Ascot Place, where Duffield was the under-bidder.
"That just went way above budget."
Duffield said he was up against a phone bidder who "wouldn't stop going up".
"I was disappointed that I missed out but I got over it after a couple of days.
"The house needed a renovation before anyone could move into it. But I was pretty excited about doing a bit of work myself.
"I think it's hard if you're a young family and you can see your kids playing there and you start to tie up a lot more into it."
He also missed out on a home on Leander St.
"That went to auction, but it didn't meet the reserve," Duffield said. "That was probably the nicest house I looked at."
So it was back on the home hunt.
There was a "cute" home on Farm St - but it didn't match Duffield's criteria and also sold "way over" its asking price.
House 6 - sold!
Duffield made a pre-auction offer on the home he now lives in on Gloucester Rd - but missed out.
He waited until the home came up under the hammer and attended the auction.
"I just made one bid."
It was Duffield's top bid $835,000, which his agent called a "great strategy".
"John was pragmatic about it," Eves Mount Maunganui agent Dirk Merwe said.
"He wasn't emotionally attached to it. The house fit the criteria but he never allowed himself to fall in love with it because that clouds your vision and that's when you overspend."
It just "killed" the auction room.
"You could just see people who were there to buy the house, their heads just dropped."
"It definitely worked," Duffield said.
But he wasn't over the finish line yet. The vendors had a reserve price they weren't willing to go below and Duffield ended up in a multi-offer with another two buyers.
Duffield pushed his budget another $10,000 and the house was his - sold at $845,000.
After three months of searching, he was now a first-home owner.
"I don't get too excited, but I was definitely happy. I was happier the whole search was over. That's taxing."
Know what you want
Merwe said what Duffield did well was that he had his finance sorted and knew what he wanted.
"He was really clear about where he was prepared to go, he had a handle on the market. John knew exactly what his geography limitations were and his non-negotiables - and he wasn't dreaming. He had a grip on reality.
"So it made the search really easy and it made John act, and when he saw something he did act.
"And in the current market, it is the quick and the homeless. If you want it, act."