Buying a Property in New Zealand

Articles > Buying a Property in New Zealand

There are many different styles of property in New Zealand but some of the descriptions may be unfamiliar to you, so here’s a guide: –

  • Bungalows – the majority of properties built between the 1920s and 1960s were single story, 3 bedroomed properties with wooden weatherboards. Although some of these properties have been modernised, many have not.
  • Villas and Cottages – these properties are usually from the 1900s and have wooden weatherboards. The villas are larger than the cottages, but some of these properties need modernising, especially on the electrical and plumbing fronts. There are many buyers who thoroughly enjoy renovating properties.
  • 1970s – Houses built in the 70s are usually double story and rather unimaginative. Most of them have weatherboards.
  • Townhouses – these are two or three story modern homes which are joined to other townhouses and are often on very small plots which courtyards or tiny gardens.
  • Apartments – There are apartments of every size and description in the cities.

What to do once you’ve found your dream house
It’s really important that you get an accredited property inspector to produce a property inspection report, so you don’t get any financial surprises after you’ve moved in. This report will include things such as signs of damp, conditions of boundary fencing, roofs, wiring and plumbing and retaining walls.

Financing your Purchase
An excellent way to show you are a serious buyer is to get conditional pre-approved finance from your chosen financial institution (usually free and valid for 3 months). Also, this is needed if you intend to buy at an auction.

Most financial institutions in New Zealand insist on a 20% deposit for first time home buyers: 30% in Auckland. As you’ll have no credit rating in New Zealand, it’s important to bring documents from countries where you’ve owned property, which show you have a good credit rating and have never defaulted on a loan.

Once you have found your property, your bank will need to know the details of the property you are buying before they confirm your loan. They will also insist that insurance is in place before the settlement date.

The Sale and Purchase Agreement
This is the contract between you and the seller. It’s important to employ a lawyer to see you through the whole process. Before signature, any conditions in the sales and purchase agreement can be negotiated, after signature, you and the seller are bound by any conditions within the agreement. Once the conditions are met, then the agreement becomes unconditional. A deposit is paid either on signature of the agreement or when the agreement becomes unconditional.

Pre-Settlement Inspection
Buyers are given the opportunity to inspect the property shortly before the settlement date. This gives you the chance to ensure the property is still in the same condition as when you first viewed it and also to check that any conditions in the sale and purchase agreement have been met.

Fast Process and Additional Expenses
Once your offer has been accepted, it only takes three to four weeks to complete. Beware that there are many additional expenses to take into account: –

  • Lawyer or conveyancer fees
  • Building inspection report including a council LIM report
  • Possible bridging finance
  • Moving expenses
  • Reconnection charges
  • Rates
  • Insurance
  • Maintenance
  • Homes in a complex – body corporate fees