Your Legal FAQs about the due diligence process when buying a house in New Zealand

How do I turn my finance pre-approval into an approval?

It is best if you already have had a finance pre-approval before you made an offer on a property. Then, when you make an offer be sure you send a copy of the signed agreement to whoever helped you get the pre-approval – usually either your mortgage adviser or bank – so your pre-approval can be turned into approval. The bank may require a valuation or further information about the property so do this as soon as you get your offer accepted.

Financial conditions when using your KiwiSaver

If you are using your KiwiSaver funds we will need you to come into the office to complete the application to withdraw your funds. As the KiwiSaver withdrawal process includes a statutory declaration to be made by you it is best if we can make time to do this as soon as possible after your offer has been accepted. This is because it is important to know prior to confirming your finance condition exactly how much you will be getting from your KiwiSaver. 

If your KiwiSaver funds are to be used as payment of the deposit (either in full payment of the deposit or as part payment alongside a cash contribution you are making) then it's a good idea to let the vendor’s real estate agent know that your deposit is coming from KiwiSaver. This is because it is a condition of all KiwiSaver withdrawals KiwiSaver funds are held by a ‘stakeholder’ (the stakeholder usually being the vendor’s lawyer or trust). The KiwiSaver funds must be held by the stakeholder and cannot be released to the vendor until settlement has actually been completed. 

Financial conditions when using the Kainga Ora Homestart grant

If the house you are buying is under the regional cap for the Kainga Ora first home grant and you qualify for the Kainga Ora Homestart grant, you need to send Your Legal team your grant pre-approval so we can turn that into approval for you. If you are not pre-approved but still qualify for the grant you can apply for approval through the Kainga Ora website. This can still be achieved during the due diligence period but talk to us about how to do this, so you get approval before the expiry of the due diligence period.

How do I satisfy the LIM & Title report conditions?

The council records for the property are known as the Land Information Memorandum, or LIM. We recommend you obtain this report (which we will happily order on your behalf). A LIM can take up to ten working days to process by the council but they are often received earlier. It is however important that it is ordered as soon as possible. Once received, we will review the LIM and give you a comprehensive written report on the contents of the LIM and what it means. We will also discuss with you any concerns or questions you may have as a result of the LIM report. If we haven't already done so in an earlier report, our LIM report will also include our advice on the title of the property. It is critical that this aspect be appropriately reviewed by an experienced property practitioner.

How do I meet the building report conditions?

A building inspection is for identifying major deficiencies in the property as well as providing you with some routine maintenance items. Once you receive the report, we recommend you discuss it first with the building inspector and check to see if there are any major issues that have arisen. As we review a great deal of reports for clients there are some inspectors who do a better job than others. We are happy to provide a list of our preferred Inspectors who we believe do the best job.

Never make a decision on a building inspection report based on price alone; you are about to make the most important investment decision of your life so having to spend a few dollars more on a good building inspection report is worth it. 

Just note that unless you are buying a brand-new home there will always be some maintenance issues for a property. Also be aware that a vendor will not necessarily agree to address every issue that is identified in a building report that is otherwise to be expected in a home of the type and age you are buying. We can negotiate on your behalf to have the Vendor rectify any significant issues identified by the report or possibly reduce the price so you can undertake the work once you settle the purchase. 

If buying a property in Canterbury, make sure the Inspector completes floor-level measurements. Every building inspection report should include moisture testing to make sure there are no excessive moisture readings resulting from, for example, leaking windows, roofs or pipes behind walls

Checking the EQC conditions

If the property you are buying has sustained earthquake damage ask the Inspector to review the EQC scope of works (if available) and to make specific comments as to whether the EQ repairs have been completed.

When am I ready to go unconditional?

Once you are satisfied that your finance is approved and  all the other conditions have been satisfied, you’re ready to go unconditional!

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