If you are thinking of committing to a house purchase – and you don’t have finance nailed down in advance – I have one word of advice for you: Beware.

The Reserve Bank is determined to choke off Kiwis’ insatiable demand for debt. Lenders are finding it harder to access overseas funds. As a result, they are looking very closely at new loan applications.

So don’t commit to buying an expensive new house before you’ve sold your current one, as you may not be able to get bridging finance. And don’t assume you can roll over an interest-only loan.

If you’re an older buyer, you may not be able to get a mortgage that extends past your 65th birthday. First-time buyers will need at least 20% as a deposit, and investors will need 40%.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a long-term customer with a good credit record. The banks will impose the Reserve Bank’s rules, regardless of your past dealings.

The golden rule is to be prepared. Talk to us before you go house hunting and don’t sign anything until you’ve got finance locked and loaded.

Are you thinking about buying a home or changing your mortgage? Make sure you get expert advice.