Starting the search for a new home in New Zealand? Don’t fall foul of these common house-buying oversights.
When it comes to property-buying in New Zealand vs. the UK, it’s like comparing apples to oranges. For the most part, New Zealand homes are constructed from wood frames, then panelled with GIB plasterboards on the inside and weatherboards on the outside. New Zealand homes don’t have central heating systems, although it is a requirement for all rentals to have a heat source.
All this to say, homes in New Zealand can be draughty, damp and prone to mould – particularly if they pre-date the 1980s. If you’re searching for a new house to call home, keep an eye out for these deal breakers.
Damp is a real problem in New Zealand homes, which is one of the main factors that led to minimum benchmarks for heating and ventilation requirements being rolled out across all rental properties. Unfortunately for potential homeowners, mould can be quickly hidden with a lick of paint, leaving you unawares until it inevitably resurfaces.
When looking at properties, check the corners of rooms for signs of freshly applied paint. The backs of curtains may also show signs of mould, as can the walls behind any solid furniture.
Although New Zealand, on the whole, is warmer than the UK, you’ll still certainly feel the cold over winter. Between the reduced insulation and lack of central heating, houses are quick to cool down and difficult to heat back up. One significant exception to this is houses that benefit from facing the sun.
When shopping for houses, pay particular attention to which side of the home is north-facing. Ideally, look for properties with north-facing living spaces and windows. A well-positioned house is worth its weight in gold, as your home will bask in sunlight from dawn til dusk, with the associated reduction in utility costs.
While it might not be something you need to think about in the next 5-10 years if you’re buying your “forever home”, it’s well worth considering where it sits in relation to the sea level. While beachfront properties are an incredibly attractive lifestyle choice, they may not be the best long-term investment.
A report by the NZ Government outlines that sea levels are expected to rise 30cm by 2050, and many areas are already experiencing erosion due to a combination of rising sea levels and extreme weather.
Buying a home in a new country is always an exciting but stressful task. And, like anywhere, New Zealand has its own additional hurdles to consider. Make sure you take these three factors into account when buying a house, and you’ll sleep safe and sound, knowing you’ve made a well-informed purchase.
Sarah Todhunter is a writer, mother-of-two and a dual citizen of New Zealand and the UK. As the sole proprietor of Fyxen Copywriters, she has navigated the ups and downs of moving a business and family across hemispheres, sharing the lessons she’s learned along the way.