Four tips for New Zealanders looking
to buy property
While New Zealand house prices remain high, the market is looking more stable. With property prices plateauing, property goals are in reach if you plan, save and do your research
Look for the long term
It’s not business as usual in the current market, so don’t bank on making a quick buck by flipping a property. In uncertain times it can be good idea to look to areas which have performed well over time, as they are historically a steadier investment choice.
As well as looking for the right suburb, there are a number of other things to keep in mind. It’s important to step back and look for practical local services which will drive value in the long term. Look at transport links, both road and public transport access, childcare and schooling options as well as social demographics for the area.
If you’re planning to rent your property out to residential tenants, it’s essential to take a look at the local rental market. Start with the following questions:
- What are similar properties bringing in in terms of rental yields?
- Has the local rental market fluctuated in previous months or years?
Also, look at what development and construction is taking place in the area, an influx of new properties could lead to an oversupply of rental properties, bringing down rental prices.
Use your head, not heart
Often when choosing a new home, emotion often comes into play. Like any type of sale, even if prices have dropped significantly in an area, shop with your head, not your heart – if the price isn’t realistic for your situation, look for another option.
Ensure that you’ve thought critically about specific expenses that could arise from your choice. For example:
- Does the house need work or is it ready to live in?
- Will I send my children to the local public school or choose a private school option?
Also consider bucket list items you might need to sacrifice with the purchase. Choosing a particular property over another might delay your dream holiday or new car plans.
Weigh up renovators delight versus new
New Zealanders have always loved a home improvement project and with DIY inspired renovation television shows like The Block and HOMEmade, buying a run-down property on the cheap to renovate can be a great choice.
There is, however, a lot to consider when choosing the renovation option. Ask yourself these three crucial questions:
- Will the renovations add value to the property (above the cost of the works)?
- Do I have the skills, time and/or capital to manage and finish the renovations?
- Can the renovations wait, or do they need to be done immediately?
The general rule of thumb for planning a renovation is to spend between five and ten per cent of the purchase price. This does, however, change depending on the balance of structural changes versus cosmetic makeovers.
Factor in maintenance and insurance costs
Apartments, freestanding homes and everything in between all have their own pros and cons in terms of fees, insurance and maintenance. These should all be considered when deciding which type of property you buy.
While some new apartment blocks come with all the bells and whistles, from pools to gyms and saunas, you will need to pay strata fees to maintain the building and its perks. Make sure you factor these costs into your budget.
Freestanding homes, on the other hand, might not have strata fees, but you will be responsible for maintenance and repairs.
There are also different types of insurance covers you’ll need to take out, depending on the property. For example, you can take out contents insurance to protect assets such as stoves, carpets and hot water systems and home insurance in the event of a fire and other events.
For investment properties, landlord insurance can cover you for loss of rental income if your tenant doesn’t pay.
The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Resimac. The above is general commentary only and is not advice tailored to any individual’s financial situation. We recommend seeking advice from a mortgage or finance professional before implementing changes relating to your finances.