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Buying a House In New Zealand

Buying a House in New Zealand

Whether you love fabulous weather and rare wildlife, are into extreme sports or a loyal fan of Lord of the Rings, New Zealand has something special for everyone. With major cosmopolitan cities like Auckland and Christchurch balanced against backdrops of staggering geographical beauty, it is not surprising that New Zealand considers thousands of residence applications each month from expats all over the world who are eager to put down permanent roots in such a special country.

This article will cover the process and cost expectations of buying a home in New Zealand as a non-resident.

Understanding the Home-Buying Process for Foreigners in New Zealand

Understanding the home-buying process in New Zealand can be challenging at first for migrant homebuyers. The first step in owning a piece of New Zealand real estate is to build a team of experts who can help you throughout the process. That team should include a lawyer or conveyancer, a New Zealand real estate agent, a mortgage broker, an insurer and a property inspector. The following sections will highlight important home-buying steps and documentation considerations for non-residents looking to buy in New Zealand.

Unless you hail from neighboring Australia, you may face some unique challenges when starting on your path to homeownership in New Zealand. Australian residents or citizens do not need special permission to buy in New Zealand, but they must check with their intended area’s local council to learn what buying restrictions, if any, may apply to their region of interest.

For non-residents, citizenship, usage intent for the property and even the type of property will determine your access to purchasing a New Zealand home. The Overseas Investment Act (OIA) implemented more restrictions on foreign buyers as a means of driving down home costs for native New Zealanders and ensuring that the housing market was most accessible to Kiwis themselves.

The good news is that recent amendments to the OIA have made the application process for becoming an investor in New Zealand a bit less intricate, and this is opening up new pathways for expats to become New Zealand homeowners.

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Understanding Methods of Sale for New Zealand Homes<

Whether you have your eye on a rental property in the Waikato District, have plans for a trendy townhouse in Wellington or are trying to decide between several family homes in Christchurch, there are a variety of sales methods under which your new home might be listed. The following three are the most common:

  • Sale by Private Treaty: The house will be listed at a price that the seller may be willing to negotiate. The seller must provide a Land Information Memorandum (LIM), which the buyer’s lawyer or conveyancer must approve. If all other required documentation is complete and the buyer has secured a New Zealand home loan, the buyer’s legal professional can then draw up a sale and purchase agreement that both parties will sign. Once an agreed-on deposit percentage is exchanged, sales by private treaty can be completed in just a few weeks.
  • Sale by Tender: The house will be listed by the seller with a preset price and a closing date. Prospective buyers or their representatives will review the tender documents and complete a sales and purchase agreement, which is returned to the seller with a check for the deposit amount listed in the tender documents. The seller then reviews all submitted tenders and selects one to move forward in the purchase of the home.
  • Sale by Auction: The property is presented at a standing-room only auction house and sold to the highest bidder. One imperative of auction buying is to understand that the fees for mandatory pre-purchase steps like building inspections can make this seemingly simple method for buying a New Zealand home somewhat more costly if you do not end up landing the house.

Getting Legal Help With the Purchase of Your New Zealand Home

Adequate and informed legal counsel is advisable for any person buying a home. As foreign buyers are likely to know less than residents about the ins and outs of the New Zealand real estate, getting a lawyer or conveyancer to assist your purchase is essential.

The primary difference between a lawyer and a conveyancer is that lawyers handle a broader scope of legal issues, while conveyancers specialize in the transfer of ownership. Investing in the services of a legal professional is wise not just for the time and energy it will save, but also for the prevention of problems that could arise down the road due to any oversights, which can be costly.

Conveyancing and legal practice in New Zealand, like real estate, are subject to professional certification. You can start at the New Zealand Society of Conveyancers or the New Zealand Law Society to find a recognized, reliable representative in the legal field to safely assist you in becoming a New Zealand homeowner.

Does Owning a New Zealand Home Give You Automatic Residence?

Due to free trade agreements, there are special rules for Australians and citizens or permanent residents of Singapore who wish to make their homes in New Zealand. Most everyone else will have to go through the standard resident visa application if they have not done so before purchasing their New Zealand home.

In general, it can be difficult for non-residents to buy a home in New Zealand if they have not achieved residence yet. An alternative method is to pursue an investor visa. Buying or building a new residential property is one way to apply for an investor visa. Keep in mind, though, that you will need special approval from the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office if the property is built on a plot of land larger than five hectares, is larger than 2,000 square meters in size, or is worth more than NZD$10 million in value.

Relocate Is Here to Make Your Move to New Zealand Easier

No matter if you are already narrowing down a list of potential conveyancers, Relocate can help with your efforts to move to New Zealand. As an independent marketplace, you can browse Advisors that can provide informed answers on any question or concern you have regarding your New Zealand relocation and home purchase. Connect with a qualified Advisor on Relocate today and get that much closer to calling yourself a Kiwi.

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