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Buying and selling property are among the most significant financial transactions most of us make during our lifetime.

Our agents have been trained to be exceptionally knowledgeable about all steps in these processes and will work tirelessly with you to make your journey easier and maximise your outcome.

Buying a property

Whether you’re buying your first ever property, a family home, investment property or retirement residence, there are many factors to consider.

What are you wanting to achieve with your purchase?

It is worth figuring out and setting out your basic goals and priorities ahead of embarking on your property search. This can help guide which properties you consider and help you communicate to agents you encounter what it is you’re after.

It’s also important that anyone else who is buying the property along with you has similar ideas, such as a partner or ‘the bank of Mum and Dad’ if they are helping with funding.

What are your ‘must haves’ and what are you willing to compromise on? and Are all parties on the same page in terms of factors such as, for example, how long you’re likely to own the property you’ll buy?

Goals can always be revisited and tweaked during your property search. This especially applies for first home buyers or those new to an area, who may find looking at some actual properties in person helps them streamline their real-world priorities and trade-offs property purchasing can involve.

Getting in the know

If you’re clear on certain things, your path to buying will run considerably more smoothly.

Naturally, your budget is going to heavily influence which property you buy and you’ll want to have a solid idea of this through consulting experts such as mortgage brokers or banks rather than relying on assumptions. This includes understanding what is predicted to happen to interest rates and how this could influence your financial position in future.

There have been several legislative changes announced recently around rental properties which investment property purchasers will want to be au fait with on top of understanding rental prices and yields.

Those who are new to New Zealand naturally need to familiarise themselves with the rules around who can buy property in this country.

It’s advisable to familiarise yourself with information about the general nature of a suburb, its transport links, school zoning and likely future development or infrastructure changes.

While gathering all this information may initially seem daunting to some buyers, our team at Ray White Parnell will be able to help advise you about these matters.

Finding the right property

There are multiple common configurations of properties ranging from empty sections to stand-alone homes. Apartments, townhouses and buying a residence off the plans in advance of its construction are all becoming increasingly more common as Auckland’s housing market has evolved.

Apartments and some terrace houses typically make it mandatory for owners to be part of their body corporate association which usually entails a body corporate committee and requires owners to pay compulsory body corporate fees. These fees typically cover insurance and maintenance of the building’s exterior and common areas, while the committee is in charge of agreeing some general rules for living in the complex.

Some body corporates are well run whereas others can be more problematic, including those that don’t budget well for long term or remedial maintenance. A good way of understanding any issues or concerns related to a complex is to ask for and familiarise yourself with the body corporate minutes from the last year or so.

Combined with this, there are several different ways in which you can own land which will determine what you can and can’t do with a home. The type of New Zealand property ownership is specified on the property’s Record of Title and the most common types are freehold, leasehold, unit title and cross lease.

The majority of NZ land has a freehold or fee simple title, largely allowing you to make changes to your property without changing the title.

Leasehold is when someone else owns the land but you have exclusive rights to the use of the land and buildings for a specified period of time dependent on the terms of the lease.

For developments with multiple owners within a building complex, unit title is the most common method of ownership.

With cross lease titles, often seen with small blocks of flats or as a result of subdividing, all the property owners own a joint share of the undivided land, plus you lease from the other cross lease holders the rights to the house or flat you will occupy. Cross leases can affect what you can do with your property as generally you need permission from the other cross lease holders to make major changes to your home, such as adding an additional room.

Researching a specific property

So, you’ve found a property which you think might be a likely contender or even, hopefully, ‘the one’. You’ll want to be really familiar with what it involves before you make any lasting commitment, seeing as not all pitfalls are immediately obvious.

Paying for an accredited property inspector to inspect and report back on the property can strengthen your knowledge about it. If you choose not to arrange a professional property inspection and the residence was built between the late 1980s and mid-2000s, it is important to understand whether the home is a ‘leaky building’ subject to weathertightness issues which can be expensive to remedy.

Make sure you have your lawyer view and explain any implications stemming from a recent version of the property’s title, which shows the range of information held by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) about it. Property title records show a property's owners, legal description and the rights and restrictions registered against the property title - for example, a mortgage, easement or covenant.

This is separate from the property’s LIM (Land Information Memorandum), which shows all the information local council has on the property. Amongst the information you may find on a LIM is any information about flooding, slips or the presence of hazardous materials, rates, private and public stormwater and sewerage drains and building, plumbing/drainage, and resource planning consents. You can pay to get an address’s LIM yourself but if you have your lawyer arrange it, they will also be able to explain any implications of what is shown.

Production or heavy consumption of illegal methamphetamine (meth) or P in a property can also affect the health of people who live there subsequently. Potential buyers who strongly suspect they’re at risk of buying this type of residence can pay for testing (although it’s worth noting that this this testing industry is not yet regulated in New Zealand).

How is this property being sold?

Auction, tender, deadline sale and negotiation are the typical ways property is sold.


For auctions you should register your interest in the property and ask to be notified if an offer has been made pre-auction and if the auction date is being brought forward. The agent will give you the legal documents which set out the auction’s terms and conditions and its wise to get your lawyer to review anything you don’t understand before bidding.

If, before the auction, you wish to make changes to the terms and conditions and the seller agrees, your lawyer can help you write a variation of agreement.


When a property is being sold by negotiation there is no set date for buyers to make offers by. It may be advertised with a price or sometimes with an indication of price range.


Tenders require interested potential buyers to give confidential written offers to the agent before a set end date, although they may also say ‘unless sold prior’ allowing acceptance of a satisfactory offer prior to that date. As with auctions, registering your interest with the agent enables you to be informed about other offers or changes to the tender process.

Prospective buyers can add conditions to their offer and typically provide a deposit with it. The seller usually has up to five working days to evaluate offers and may seek to get you to change the price or conditions.

Deadline Sale

In a deadline sale buyers can make an offer at any time up until the set date the buyer has specified. Buyers and sellers can add terms and conditions to the sale and a deadline sale does have the potential to become a multi-offer process if there is more than one offer.

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