Do your own research about a property

It is important to find out as much as possible about the property you are considering purchasing before the sale and purchase agreement is finalised.

The real estate salesperson represents the seller. He or she will tell you a lot about the property and will answer any questions, but you should do your own research as well.​ 

We recommend you get these key reports before placing a non-conditional offer on a property.

Ti​t​le search 

A​ title search gives you all the records about the property that are held by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ). It shows the legal owner of the property, the legal description and any rights and restrictions against the property title – such as a mortgage or access across the property (easements).​

The agent listing the property should also have got a copy of the title.  If they notice any restrictions that may affect you as the buyer, they must pass this information on to you. If there are any issues raised, you can get your own advice about these issues and any potential impacts.

Your lawyer can help you get a title search or you can get it yourself from LINZ. You will need to pay a fee and the process may take time. Your lawyer can help you understand the report.​​​​

Land Information Memorandum (LIM)

The LIM is a comprehensive report provided by the local council about all the important current and historical information the council knows about the property, including: 

  • potential erosion, subsidence or slippage, flooding of any type and possible presence of hazardous substances
  • information on private and public storm water and sewerage drains
  • rates information
  • any consents, notices, orders or requisitions affecting the land or buildings
  • District Plan classifications relating to the land or buildings
  • any other classifications that relate to the land or buildings
  • any other classifications on the land or buildings notified to the council by network utility operators in relation to the Building Act 2004.

Your lawyer can help you get a LIM or you can get it yourself from the local council. You will need to pay a fee and the process may take timeYour lawyer can help you understand the LIM.​​​

Property inspection report

A qualified property inspector will tell you about the condition of the property.

It’s a good idea to select a property inspector and/or engineer at an early stage of your home buying process so you are ready to arrange an inspection when you find a property you want to buy. We recommend you choose a property inspector who has professional indemnity insurance and carries out their work in accordance with the New Zealand Property Inspection Standards.

Inspectors who conform to this standard can be found on the Building Officials Institute of New Zealand website and on the New Zealand Institute of Building Surveyors websiteOther inspectors not listed on those websites may also conform to the New Zealand Standard.

You will need to pay for a property inspection.

Depending on the property you may also want to hire other specialist advisors such as a valuer or structural engineer to help you decide whether you want to buy the property and how much you would be willing to pay for it.

Valuation report

Your financial lender may ask you to provid​e a valuation report for the property.

You can read more about researching a property and how to get these reports in our Home Buyers’ Guide. Download the Home Buyers' Guide (pdf 253KB).

Ask the salesperson

You can ask the real estate salesperson anything you want to know about the property and they cannot withhold any information they know. Also, they can't make statements about the property they cant back up with evidence.

Other things you may want to get checked out

Depending on the type of property and what you know about the property, here are some other things that it may be appropriate to check out or ask questions about:

  • Weather tightness
  • The condition of the property's wiring
  • The condition of the property's plumbing
  • Possible P contamination
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Glossary