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18 October 2019

Buying a property? How to get a head-start...

Thinking of buying a property? There are several things that you can do, before you even start looking, which will save you unnecessary delays and costs;

Finance pre-approval

We recommend that before you make any offers, you approach your bank or mortgage broker and obtain pre-approval for a mortgage. This can sometimes take a few weeks, so doing this up front will place you in a better position to make an offer on a property.

Find a Lawyer

Lawyers are required to comply with Anti-Money Laundering Legislation, which means there are identification and proof of address requirements to complete, before they can act for you.  Having this completed early will save valuable time once you have an offer on a property.

In addition, your Lawyer is able to give you guidance and advice about what to include in your offer once you find a property.  We recommend that any offer is checked by a lawyer prior to signing as this can potentially save you unnecessary legal costs.

Do some research on the properties you like

If you have found a property, you want to put an offer on, we recommend that you do some research.

If you make enquiries up front, you might find out important information (such as a high flood zone, a fault line near the property, land contamination potential title issues and more).

There are various websites where you can look up information like this, such as Canterbury Maps, Environment Canterbury Listed Land Use Register and Authorised Burner List, Christchurch City Council Floor Level Map and Liquefaction Map, and Waimakariri District Plan Hazards Map.

Your Lawyer will often be able to do this research for you once you have the offer in, but if you are able to understand any potential deal breakers, it is better to know this before you place any offers.

First home buyer

If you are buying your first home, you may be eligible to use at KiwiSaver and your HomeStart grant.  The good news is, you can start this process prior to making an offer.

You can apply for pre-approval for your HomeStart grant.  Once you have an offer accepted on a property, there is a simple second step for getting the grant fully approved.  The pre-approval is valid for six months, and if you do not find a property in that time, you can re-apply. 

For KiwiSaver, you can ask your provider for a letter or email, confirming how much you are eligible to withdraw.  KiwiSaver providers do not give “pre-approvals”, but this letter/email will give you comfort about the amounts you would be able to obtain.


The property team at Saunders Robinson Brown are experienced in dealing with a wide range of matters. If you are looking at a property, we recommend early advice.

The above information is of general nature only. You should contact our firm for advice relating to your specific circumstances.

Chris Boivin

About Chris Boivin

Chris is a Partner advising clients on a wide range of matters. He assists with both commercial, rural and residential property matters, as well as business transactions and asset planning.

View all posts by Chris Boivin
Emma Morgan

About Emma Morgan

Emma is an Associate - Registered Legal Executive in our Property Team and assists clients with residential property sales and purchases.

View all posts by Emma Morgan