How To Buy A House In New Zealand

Returning to New Zealand after living abroad with the intention of buying a house can seem like an unattainable goal. This couldn’t be further from the case. We want to take you through the process of buying a home in New Zealand – consider this your survival guide to home-buying as an expat. 

Step one – Scoping out the current real estate climate and executing research

Your journey to home-owning begins with you looking into where the current real estate climate lies. This will then give you a good idea of what to expect financially when you refine your research. 

From here, you must investigate the area you wish to move to. Start by researching the local attractions, schools, and how easy it is to get around. This will help you to further understand what the community you wish to move into is like.  

This step goes for all homebuyers and not just those who have recently moved back to New Zealand. It makes a good base for the rest of the home-buying process to build on.  

Step two – Finances

The New Zealand Government now has a wonderful resource on their website which monitors the cost of living

This is a particularly useful resource for expats as it gives clear insight into the difference between the living cost of the country where they currently live and New Zealand. Information around this is critical to expatriate home-hunters as it helps establish attainable financial goals for their journey. 

With this information, you will be able to budget accordingly for real estate fees and deposits. 

Step three - Understanding restrictions on expat’s

Before you begin on your journey to find your dream home, it is best you are mindful of the restrictions you may face as a recent returnee to the country trying to buy a property. 

These restrictions were enforced recently in order to stop property prices from being pushed up by foreign investors who do not intend to live in the properties they have bought. 

They are dependent on the type of citizenship you have, as well as the property you wish to buy and what you intend to do with the property. 

Educating yourself on possible restrictions and acknowledging their potential impact will prepare you for whatever relevant situation you may encounter on your home-buying journey.  

The tool provided on the New Zealand Government website allows users to enter specific details of their citizenship status, property intentions and area of desire to gain information on specific and up-to-date home buying rules.  

Additionally, the New Zealand Now website also allows eligibility for the purchasing as an immigrant and or expatriate resource. 

Step four - Finding a property in NZ

The New Zealand property market is highly regulated. Thankfully, this means that a lot of information regarding finding properties is available online. 

It is recommended that as a returnee to New Zealand, home purchasing is best done through an agency rather than privately. This is just to add ease to the experience.  

Don’t be afraid to ask questions to the real estate agents – it is better for you to have the answers than to try to guess them for yourself. 

Step five - Making an offer

Do not start making offers on property without seeking legal advice beforehand.  

Understand that the type of process in which you can make offers is dependent on the method of sale.  

When other interested buyers put an offer down on a property – this creates a multi-offer process in which you would benefit from having your agents speaking with your lawyers.  

Conditional vs unconditional offers also refer to you being able to pull out of owning a specific property if it doesn’t pass the pre-settlement inspection.  

Step six – Moving into your kiwi home

After your offer is accepted, you will undertake a pre-settlement inspection where things such as light fittings, appliances, cleanliness, and access are checked to make sure you aren’t being overcharged for your new home.  

On settlement day both home-seller and buyers’ lawyers will exchange the remaining money, transfer documents and the keys to the property. The house becomes officially yours after this final step! 

If you are diligent on your journey and follow these steps, you would have now become an expatriate, homeowner in New Zealand. Well done! 

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