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NZ Home Buyers Guide
Here we look at the types of ownership and what to look for when buying your first home.

Guide to applying for a NZ home loan
This 5 step guide outlines what you will need to prepare and what we will do to assist you with your mortgage application.

NZ Mortgage Repayment Calculator
Calculate your monthly or fortnightly repayments with this mortgage repayment calculator.

Want to buy NZ Property but live Overseas?
At Approved we have many off-shore clients - Expatriate Kiwis and people looking to emigrate or invest in New Zealand.

NZ Bank Fees
Here we look at the various fees associated with mortgage finance.

The Legal Process
See how the legal process works when purchasing a property

Are you Protected?
Approved's Insurance Guide

  Economic Updates
Get the latest economic news here
Saving & Investing
  After being mortgage brokers for many years it becomes apparent that it does not matter what your income is?it's what you do with your income that really counts. Full story...

Why buy NZ Rental Property?
Here we look at the advantages of investing in New Zealand rental property and why the current demand is so high.

Why Have an LAQC as your Investment Vehicle?
If you are investing in rental property in New Zealand you may benefit by setting up a Loss Attributing Qualifying Company.


First Home Buyer's Guide

Types of ownership:

Freehold — this is the most common type of ownership.  It means you own the land and house with virtually no restrictions on your ownership rights.  (It's also commonly used to mean that you don't owe any money on the home).

Leasehold — with this type of ownership you lease the land and pay rent to the landowner.  You own the house but your use of the land may be restricted and the rent can go up.  You can sell the lease if you want to move, but you may need to tell the landowner first.

Cross-lease — this is where there are several homes on a piece of land and all the owners own the land together.  Each owner leases their home from the others for a small cost.

Unit title — you own or lease your unit but common areas (like stairways and parking) are managed by the body corporate.

Are you buying with someone else?  There are two main ways of owning a home together.  You can have a 'joint tenancy' where you all own the home together and if one person dies the others take over the ownership — this is the way most couples own a home together. Or you can have a 'tenancy in common' where you each own a share and can leave your share to anyone you wish in your Will — this is more common where there are several owners.  The word tenancy here has nothing to do with renting, it means the right to live in the home.  Another option may be a property sharing agreement.  Your lawyer will advise you on the best way to set up ownership depending on your situation.

Checklist — What do I want in a home? - knowing what you want can belp save you time and make it easier for the agent to show you suitable homes

What do I want?

Very important

Would be nice Not important Comments
How many bedrooms?        
How many bathrooms?        
Formal and informal living areas?        
Separate dining room?        
Open plan family areas?        
Living to flow outdoors?        
Separate toilet?        
Separate shower?        
Ensuite bathroom?        
Study or office?        
Extra space/storage for hobbies?        
Modern kitchen?        
Gas heating/cooking?        
Central heating?        
Security system?        
All day sun?        
Shelter from wind?        
Private, quiet, secluded?        
Outdoor living space?        
Established garden?        
Large or flat section?        
Ability to drive onto?        
Garaging/carport, how many cars?        
Nearby parking for visitors?        
Swimming pool?        
Where do I want to live?        
What style do I like?        
Low maintenance?        
Potential to extend home?        
How close to work?        
Public transport?        
Near shops and restaurants?        
Near schools?        
Sport/leisure venues nearby?        
How close to friends and family?        
Anything else?        

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Things to look out for:


Are the floors uneven or move when you walk around?  It could mean problems with the piles.  Check for rot and borer holes.


Look out for stains, mould, bulges and cracks that could indicate leaks or a house that is sinking.  Check for fresh paint and plaster that could be a cover-up.  Are walls and ceilings insulated?


Check they open without sticking, that handles and locks work (and have keys).  Sticking or crooked windows and doors can mean a home is moving.  Check woodwork for rot and borer.  Check rubber seals on aluminium windows are not perished.

Under the house

Look for signs of damp, leaks, borer, pests, gaps or rot in floorboards, cracks in the foundations, rotten or sinking piles.  Is there good ventilation to keep it dry?  Test wooden piles below ground level for soft rot.

Inside roof

Look for leaks, holes, sagging roof, cracks in the chimney, bird nests.  Check for insulation.


Is there enough natural light?


Are the flames strong?  Turn all outlets on at once to check flow — if the flames are weak there could be a blockage.  Gas fires need to be vented to the outside to prevent condensation.


Are fittings, switches and sockets in good repair?  Are there enough power points and lights? Is the switchboard old?


Does it work?  Is the chimney old or cracked?  Is there a permit?  Black stains above the fire can mean it's not working well.


What chattels are included in the sale?  Are carpets, curtains, lights, heaters, dishwasher etc. in good order?


Check under furniture for worn or stained patches.


Check all taps work.  Is there plenty of hot water? Is the tank insulated and restrained?


Do they vent to outside? (otherwise they could cause fires)


Do the oven, hobs, dishwasher and range hood work?


Is there enough storage? Do they open and shut properly? 


Does it flush strongly?  Are the bowl and cistern cracked or stained?


Check the water pressure and look around them for signs of mildew, leaks or rotting surrounds.


Check for rust, holes, cracked tiles, signs of leaks

Outside walls

Check for rotten/broken boards, cracks in plaster


Is it in good repair?  Look for peeling paint and plaster.  But also check new work to make sure it's not a cover-up job.


Look for rust, holes, cracks and gaps.  Are all doors and windows flashed or sealed to prevent leaking?

Sheds, garages, decks

Are they in good order?  Have they been permitted?


Is there any sign of erosion?  Are retaining walls in good condition?


Are there storm water drains?  Is the ground boggy?  Are there nearby streams or rivers that flood?


Is there good access to the house?  Are steps, paths and drives in good order?  If access is shared is it likely to cause problems and who pays for the upkeep?


Washing line?  Entry porch? Fences and Railings? Soil? 


Check for noises from traffic, trains, planes, neighbours, nearby industry.  Check for smells from local businesses, waterways or rubbish collection.  Visit at different times of the day to check.

Countdown to the big move!

When your offer is accepted

  • Give your landlord written notice.
  • Ask them if there's anything you need to do to get your bond back.
  • Apply to the Bond Centre to get your bond back — your landlord has to sign the form too.
  • Keep a list of the mail you get each day for change of address cards.

One month before your move

  • Phone moving companies for quotes.
  • Get quotes for house and contents insurance.
  • Contact power, gas, television, and phone companies to arrange a disconnection.
  • Arrange reconnection at your new home.
  • List everyone you need to send change of address cards to — friends, family, companies like insurers and credit card companies, magazines you subscribe to, Inland Revenue.
  • Start packing the things you don't use much.
  • Number boxes as you pack them — and label them by room.

Two weeks before your move

  • Redirect your mail at NZ Post — change of address cards are free.
  • Make an appointment with your lawyer to sign your documents next week.
  • Cancel any automatic payments and direct debits for your rent.
  • Set up new automatic payments and direct debits for new bills.
  • Get a forwarding address for the previous owners of your new home.
  • Ask the last owners to tell you about things to do with the house like how the alarm, plumbing and heating work, the names of paint colours used, and about the garden.
  • Ask for the names and numbers of tradespeople who've worked on the house.

One week before your move

  • Contact your landlord to arrange to return their keys.
  • Send your change of address cards.
  • Change papers or any other deliveries to your new address.
  • Give your new address to your landlord or the people moving into your old place.
  • Discuss times for moving in and out with the last owners.
  • Do a last check of the property you're buying — if there's any problems talk to your lawyer.

Moving day

  • Collect the keys to your new home.
  • Check everything is gone from your old home and arrives at the new one.
  • Clean up your old place and return the keys to the landlord.
  • Leave a forwarding address for your mail.

Don't forget your pets.

Are you looking to arrange a NZ home loan? Tell us about your circumstances with our brief questionaire and we will email you back within 48 hours with a confidential appraisal. Apply here

What do I need to do to apply for a NZ home loan? You will need to prepare the right documentation before meeting with your NZ Mortgage Broker. Here's what you will need.

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