We share our insights on the New Zealand property buying process and what tips and tricks we have to offer.
Couple happy after buying first home

The Buying Process

The dos and don’ts of buying property in New Zealand.

The process of buying property can be different in different countries, but everyone starts at the same point – the decision to buy. Once you’ve decided you want or need to buy a new property most people will put together a list, whether mental or physical, but a list of what their new property needs to have and not have.

Once you have your checklist you’re ready to search for a property that ticks all the boxes. While viewing properties you will come across a variety of ownership types. Below is a list of what these will be:

  • Freehold – This can also be called fee simple. This is the most common type of property ownership in New Zealand.
  • Leasehold – This is when someone else owns the land but you purchase exclusive rights to possession of the land and the buildings on it for a certain amount of time.
  • Unit title ownership – This is common in a building development where you might find multiple owners.
  • Cross lease – This is when you own a share of the freehold title in common with other cross leaseholders and a leasehold interest in the particular area and building that you occupy.

You can find more information about property ownership types here.

Ownership types may seem a little scary at first, but once you understand them it’ll become easier. If you’re struggling to grasp the understanding of ownership types, then your real estate agent or lawyer will be able to help you.

Saturdays and Sundays are typically reserved for open home days, however, most real estate agents will also be able to take you for a private viewing outside of the hours if that suits you better. You’ve created your list, you’ve viewed some properties and now you’ve found the one you want to buy. What now?

Before you make an offer it is important to learn about the neighbourhood and get a feel for the neighbours, as you’ll be living next to them if you’re successful in buying the property. With the increase in property development, it is also a great idea to speak with your local council and ask about any zoning changes or any planned developments nearby.

At this stage, you could initiate a building inspection on the property, or it could be put into your offer as a condition. If you are adding it as a condition we recommend using 5 or 10 working days for availability. When choosing a building inspector it is important to choose someone who has a good level of indemnity insurance to protect you in case something was missed.

All of our inspectors have great coverage of indemnity insurance, so you can have peace of mind that you are always in safe hands. Knowing all the property defects before you make an offer can save you thousands.

While your building inspection will identify any physical issues with the property, there is another nasty problem that can be hiding in plain sight – methamphetamine. Studies show that long-term exposure to meth contamination in a property can cause serious health problems. We recommend having a meth test completed on the property before you purchase it to ensure everyone’s safety.

Our meth testing services are conducted to New Zealand Standards, which means if there are levels over 1.5 µg you will be notified. Our inspectors will rate the levels of meth found in the property and provide you with the relevant recommendations. Usually, properties only need to be commercially cleaned, however, in some instances, the property will need to be completely stripped and relined. Knowing whether a property is contaminated before you purchase can save you thousands.

Overall, the more you know about the property before you submit your offer, the better. If problems are identified during the purchasing process, you may be able to negotiate the end price or for the vendor to complete the work before you move in.

If you are in need of a building inspection or meth test for your next property, call us today 0800 422 388.