Paperwork the biggest pain of buying

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 05:00 08/02/2014

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Home Sweet Home

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OPINION: Press reporter and first-home hunter Georgina Stylianou shares the highs and lows involved with getting a wobbly foot on the great property ladder. 

I hate forms. 

I hate forms more than Westpac's hold music and IRD's automated robot system that forced me to repeat the phrase ''forgot my password'' about 10 times.

My partner Robbie however is far better equipped to deal with forms. He is a musician, so he is disciplined (to some extent), and a web developer, so he likes doing boring stuff. 

I innocently emailed the Kiwisaver first home deposit subsidy team (Housing New Zealand) asking how much we might be entitled to, only to be told we had to fill out a large application form, provide proof of income for the last 12 months and proof of all Kiwisaver contributions. All this just to become pre-approved for the subsidy. 

To be eligible for the subsidy you must have contributed to a Kiwisaver scheme for at least three years, and be planning to live in your first home for at least six months. As an individual you can not earn more than $80,000 a year and as a couple you can not have a combined total income of more than $120,000 (that's the easy bit). You can receive up to $10,000 as a couple on top of your own contributions.

So, the forms sat on the coffee table in the lounge for about two weeks, sparked at least four spats between the us, and when two coffee mug rings appeared, I re-printed them. 

We finally had them ready to send off about a week before Christmas. I whimsically thought we would receive an email telling us we had won the Kiwisaver lotto . . . but when is anything that easy?

Nope, apparently my proof of income was out of date even though I followed the steps it told me to, and Robbie had failed to include his self-employed incomes for the latest tax year . . . this is why you shouldn't date a musician. 

This time he took the lead and spammed Housing New Zealand with about 20 pages of documents before the deadline. 

Two weeks later, they asked for his self-employed earnings, business drawings and IR3 returns which have to be requested from IRD and sent via snail mail.

Fingers crossed that will be the end of it. 

So let's do the maths . . . the absolute maximum we can spend is $350,000 and that would see us using blankets instead of a heat pump, bulk-buying the instant coffee (bye bye plunger) and getting a flatmate.

The deposit would be $35,000 (ouch!) so if Kiwisaver gives us about $17,000 on top of our savings and the money from my parents, we should be good to go.

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Reckon we'll find a cute wooden villa in need of some TLC in a nice area for under $350,000?

Once we're pre-approved for the Kiwisaver subsidy, we can sit down with a bank and hopefully become pre-approved for a Welcome Home Loan (10 per cent deposit).

Bring on the open homes!

As an aside, check out these cool ideas - I love the skirting board vacuum!

Comment below, email georgina.stylianou@press.co.nz or tweet @gstylianoupress

Next week: What you need to know: Home Buying 101.

- The Press

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