This was possibly the biggest shocker for us. As opposed to the normal
sort of US 60-90 day escrow, houses here often go from first listing to
move-in in under a month. You’re given a week or two for the
inspections and a week or two to finalize financing, and then
it’s yours. We didn’t even have time to find a bed!
case the house was empty, so it might be possible if you need longer to
negotiate it with a seller that needs time to move, but if you are in
a hurry, you can typically move in quite quickly. Of course, you
don’t want to wait too long when you’ve already
seller 10% upfront. This also means that having pre-approved financing
is essential to being able to successfully bid for the property you
Although we were not affected, you want to be aware that while
foreigners can buy most properties, there are laws here to prohibit foreigners from buying
“heritage” properties. Farmland and any property
that adjoins a body of
water or DOC (government) owned open spaces could have restrictions.
You will be required to get permanent residency status or possibly even
citizenship before buying such sites. Of course, if you’re
rich you might be able to get around that. Shania Twain was able to buy
property next to DOC land by agreeing to help build a public walking
track across her massive estate. Others have had to let their dream
We love our house and we feel we got a fair deal. We aren’t thrilled
with our lender
and wish we had been more careful with our loan. The main challenge for
was not realizing the types of questions we should have been asking,
even after talking to other Americans who had bought property here.
If, however, you spend time reading about the process and the
potential pitfalls, you should be able to make an informed purchase
is much like Consumer Reports in the US and is worth joining. You can
join online on a quarterly basis for a reasonable cost and it’s an
invaluable resource as you begin to buy appliances and furnishings for
your new home. They also address a variety of services.
- Interest.co.nz is another great
resource in your house hunt for evaluating a lender.
- Tip for AAA members- AA New Zealand
honors your years of US membership, and gives quite favorable rates on
homeowners insurance to long time members. We found their coverage to
be more comprehensive and have fewer restrictions in many areas as well.
- NZ has a few “HelpUSell” type agencies, such as Green
Door that are also worth keeping an eye on. Lower commissions
should mean lower prices.
- If you are thinking of buying a NZ property for investment,
the Property Talk site might have some
- We did not participate in any auctions, and if you do, you will
want to prepare yourself thoroughly because they are unconditional once