What you need to know 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.

​Ask the agent questions

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

However, you should not rely only on their information.  

Find out about the property’s title and council records

Important legal information about the property will be held by the local council and by Land Information New Zealand.

You should:

  • Do a title search through Land Information New Zealand to check who legally owns the property and if anyone else has claim over it
  • Get a Land Information Memorandum (LIM) from the local council.  This contains all the current and historical information the council holds about the land and property.

Your lawyer can help with both of these.

Get a builders report/property inspection

Before signing a sale and purchase agreement find out as much as you can about the condition of the property and get a thorough builders report. This is a property inspection carried out by a qualified property inspector.

Property inspectors are listed in the Yellow Pages and online. Remember, you have the right to choose your own property inspector - regardless of what the agent or the vendor might think of them.

We recommend that you make sure the property inspector you select:

  • Has professional indemnity insurance
  • Carries out their work in accordance with the NZ Property Inspection Standards (NZS 4306:2005 Residential Property Inspection). This means they adhere to the Standards New Zealand requirements for residential property inspections.

    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 website, although there will be other inspectors who are not listed on those websites who still conform to the New Zealand Standard.

You will need to pay for this 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.

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