New Zealand has a mix of housing types, with a stretch of land from standalone buildings to cities and apartments. The process of buying a house in New Zealand can take 3 to 4 weeks to complete, once you find the place you want.
Once the bid is formally accepted, there can be no last-minute offer, which is much less stressful here than in some parts of the world.
If you choose to buy a section then there are many options to build a house that meets your special needs. There are also different types of land ownership.
The type of ownership has an immediate impact on what you can and cannot do with the property, so it is important to know what you are buying.
How to buy property
The process for purchasing a property in New Zealand is well organized and well regulated to ensure a fair process for both parties.
Most house and land sales are completed using a real estate agent. A small number of sales are done privately. In any case, it is wise for you to get independent advice from a lawyer or conveyor experienced in the purchase of the house (help with the communication) before making an offer.
You can find a lawyer using the New Zealand Law Society website, or a convenor using the New Zealand Society of Converse website.
It is common to negotiate a price when buying a home. Advertisements usually show either an RV (reserve price), GV (government valuation), or CV (council valuation).
These values refer to the estimate used by the local council to calculate rates (council tax) for the property. They do not have registered values and they often do not reflect the real market value of the property.
In general sales information, district profiles covering population and local weather. You can buy more detailed reports about previous sales in the area, or even for a specific address.
You can ask a registered appraiser to provide an independent valuation for the registered property you are interested in.
Finding a property
A great place to start studying for properties is online. Property websites list real estate agents as well as private sellers. Some properties are listed only on the agent’s websites or in records available in the local area.
If you are buying or building a house you will need to include rates in your budget. The rates are a ‘tax’ to help the services provided to the community by local committees. Rates vary from area to area, but they are regularly based on the value of the property.
Your local council website will have more information about the rates in the area you purchase. You can find contact details for the local council on the community service page of your area.
Borrow money to buy property
All major banks in New Zealand provide home loans. You can contact banks directly and many have a migrant banking service with multilingual staff. You can also work through mortgage brokers who negotiate with banks on your behalf.
As a new arrival you will not have a credit history, so make sure you bring some evidence of your credit history to your country.
You usually need a good deposit to take a home loan because there are restrictions on how much the property value banks can lend you. They are called debt-to-value ratio requirements (LVR). The Reserve Bank has a record that you can download that outlines the LVR commands.
In New Zealand, home insurance is usually calculated based on ‘sum insured’. This means that if your house needs to be rebuilt, the insurer will only pay the maximum amount you have specified during the withdrawal from your policy.
Therefore, you should have the best idea of what it will cost to replace your home in the worst-case scenario. You may need to get an appraisal to decide how much it will be.
Earthquake damage to homes in New Zealand has been covered by our Earthquake Commission (EQC). Its charges are automatically added to your home insurance challan. However, to qualify for EQC earthquake cover you must first have a private home or contents insurance.
If you are purchasing an apartment, insurance for the building will usually be included in the annual body corporate fee. Make sure you check the details before purchasing. You will need to provide your contents insurance.
Loan and financial advice
Anyone offering financial advice to you in New Zealand should be a licensed financial advisor. There are different levels of licenses that allow advisors to offer different types of advice.
The Financial Market Authority (FMA) of the government controls the sector. You can find more information about financial advisors on their website.
If you need to borrow money, take your lender carefully. Not all organizations that give you money are banks. Some of them charge very high-interest rates. Some organizations offer zero-interest or low-interest plans, usually if you meet certain eligibility criteria.
Check with a financial advisor or budget specialist before signing any contract. There are a lot of budget advisors that you can contact around New Zealand.
Redundancy, illness, accident
If you have been abandoned due to illness, made redundantly, or unable to work, you may qualify for the assistance of a job worker.
If you are placed due to illness, made redundant, or unable to work, you may qualify for jobseeker assistance paid by work and income.
There are various conditions to qualify for assistant jobs and you must remain in New Zealand for at least two years at any time after becoming a citizen or resident.
If you qualify, you will receive a community service card to help with prescriptions and the costs of going to the doctor.
If you are incapable to work due to sickness or redundancy and you have children aged 18 or under, you will also receive a family tax credit of inland revenue if you benefit.
If you are unable to work due to injury due to an accident, ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) can pay up to 80% of the income before your injury.