Soon after arriving in New Zealand you will want to start looking for a home. You may not want to buy a property to start with, as you might well make an expensive mistake. The job might not work out, the children might hate their new school, the area that looked fabulous because of the different foliage and blue skies might actually be a run down part of town.
To find rental property, look in the main newspaper where you will see both private and real estate advertisements. If you use an agent then the normal fee is the equivalent of one week’s rent.
Rent on a reasonable family home will cost from $220-$300 per week. Small units cost in the region of $130.00 while sharing a house with others will cost about $80.00 a week.
Do not become too disappointed during the first few days, you will obviously be given a lot of mediocre properties to look at, that have been on the books for weeks. After a few days of checking the papers early each morning, you will quickly identify any new properties being offered and you can get in quickly.
Sometimes there is room for negotiation with regard to rent. If you like a particular property but feel the inside needs cleaning up, you might be able to negotiate to paint the walls yourself and the landlord pay for the paint. Good tenants are hard to come by and if you fall into that category then you will have more bargaining power.
You will also be required, in most cases, to pay a Bond. It is normally equivalent to two weeks rent and is held by a separate body known as the Office of the Tenancy Tribunal and is returned when you vacate the property, provided you leave it in a good state of repair. The Bond may be transferred on to another property.
When signing a rental agreement check the small print. If you sign a periodic tenancy, that is a tenancy with no fixed term, then notice to terminate the tenancy has to be given in writing, 21 days notice for the tenant, the landlord however has to give 90 days notice, although only 45 days is required if he wishes to sell the property, or needs it for his own use.
If you prefer you might settle for a fixed tenancy of say six months, which means you cannot be given notice for at least six months and then normal termination rules apply. But be warned, this agreement works both ways, whilst it gives you more security it will also tie you down should you be offered a job in a different area or find you are unhappy with the house you have chosen. You will find most properties are let unfurnished.
Many rental properties are bought as investments and are for long term let, but check to make sure that it is not just being rented out until it is sold.
Once you are in a position to buy a home of your own, the process is relatively simple. Either you can build, as mentioned in a previous section of this book, or buy a home already built.
You will need a deposit of between 10% and 15% and then you can approach the bank to arrange a mortgage. You normally pay a 1% loan establishment fee, which is added to your mortgage.