Have You Read Our Home Buyers Guide? 5 Checklists For You To Use

Our Buyer's Guide

This guide is designed to help you through the final stages of purchasing a home, from having made an offer to getting organised for moving day. We understand it is not a house you are buying, it is a home.

For most Kiwis, owning your own home is a goal we strive for and we want to make the experience as rewarding and stress free as possible for you during this time.


  • It's not a house, but a home
  • Once your offer has been accepted
  • Once your contract is unconditional
  • Moving checklists

It's not a house, but a home

Before buying a home have you investigated the costs?

Before buying a home you need to be aware of all the possible costs associated with buying a property. Take note of the following categories and ensure you understand what the costs are associated with each. This is a rough guide of what you can expect to pay:

  1. Lawyer $1,000+ (depending on the complexity and work involved)
  2. Valuer $550+
  3. Building Inspector $500+
  4. LIM Report $270 approx (standard 10 working days)
  5. Mortgage fees There maybe a setup fee for mortgages. This varies between banks, speak to your mortgage broker about negotiating on your behalf
  6. Home & contents This will vary for each property insurance
  7. Moving company $300+ (if you are using one)
  8. Carpet cleaning $80+ Often when moving from a rental you are expected to get the carpet cleaned before vacating
  9. Phone. power. gas. Sky TV Often companies charge to turn off/turn on/install/move these things so check with your provider. Also check your current provider is able to keep supplying.

Once your offer has been accepted

Now that you have found your dream home and your offer has been accepted by the Sellers what happens next?

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Give a copy of the sale and purchase agreement to your lawyer
  2. Arrange to complete any conditions within the contract ie arrange for a valuation report and builder's engineer's report if required
  3. Finalise your home loan arrangements through your mortgage broker
  4. Satisfy any other conditions.

What your Lawyer will do during this time:

  1. Check the LIM and check the District Plan (conditional on LIM)
  2. Check the Certificate of Title
  3. Check that all the conditions in your agreement are met
  4. Check that Council rates and other costs are up to date.

Once all this has been completed and you and your lawyer are satisfied, your lawyer will advise the Sellers lawyer and the Real Estate Consultant that the agreement is now unconditional. This means you now need to pay your deposit to the Real Estate Consultant.

Once your contract is unconditional


Once you get to this stage, neither you nor the Seller can back out of the agreement. It is safe to say you can start planning the move into your new home. So what should you do now?

Settlement day

On settlement day your lawyer will need to receive the loan funds from you and/or your lender. When those funds are transferred to the Seller's lawyer they will authorise the release of the keys for the property and the agreement is now officially settled.

Be aware that there are no set times for when you can move into your home on settlement day as it all depends on the transaction above being completed. Often this will take place around midday but can sometimes take until the close of business ie 5pm. Generally your lawyer or the Real Estate Consultant will contact you when the keys are available.

Where possible it may be beneficial to arrange moving day for the day after settlement. This gives the Seller time to move from the property. You don't want a clash of moving men! This will make your move into the home smoother and less stressful.

  1. Make an appointment with your lawyer to sign the final documents
  2. Confirm the structure of your home loan if required, ask your mortgage broker about your accounts and any new automatic payments required
  3. Do a pre-settlement inspection (usually completed three days before settlement). Let your lawyer know ASAP if there are any problems
  4. If renting. advise your landlord (generally you need to give 21 days notice in writing)
  5. Book a moving truck/company if you are planning on using one and look into insurance of your contents during the move
  6. Start working through our checklists on the following pages.

Moving checklists

Now your offer has been accepted

Once your offer has been accepted and work is underway on satisfying the conditions, it would be prudent to start working through the following:

  1. Get quotes from several moving companies
  2. Check if your home and contents insurance will cover the move or if the moving company has insurance for this
  3. Start cleaning out any items you don't want to take with you - arrange a garage sale or donate them to charity
  4. Start making a list of the companies you need to contact with your new address
  5. If doing your own packing start collecting boxes
  6. If renting and you have a short settlement, advise your landlord
  7. Make travel arrangements if moving a long distance
  8. If it's a company move, check with your employer to find out what moving expenses they cover.

Now your offer is unconditional

Once your offer is unconditional start working through the following if you haven't already:

  1. Book your moving company/truck hire
  2. Start packing and labelling boxes
  3. Make final arrangements with your lender/bank for any new accounts and automatic repayments required
  4. Ensure your home and contents insurance is arranged for your new property, your mortgage broker may be able to assist
  5. Confirm arrangements for the utilities to be connected at your new home and disconnected at your old one
  6. Arrange for pet transportation, if necessary
  7. Arrange for child care on moving day, if appropriate
  8. Cancel lawn mowing, paper delivery, rubbish collection at old property and set up for new property
  9. If the new home uses reticulated gas, arrange for bottles to be delivered
  10. Company Directors must notify the Registrar of Companies of a change of address
  11. If you are moving out of or into a building with elevators, arrange with management for use of elevators on moving day.

The week before moving day

The week leading up to moving day start working through the following if you haven't already:

  1. Do a pre-settlement inspection of your new home
  2. Make an appointment with your lawyer to sign the final documents
  3. Confirm arrangements for utilities
  4. Confirm arrangements with your moving company
  5. Prepare any mowers, boats etc for the move by draining the petrol
  6. Arrange to have your mail forwarded
  7. Start notifying friends, family and companies of your new address
  8. Start using up things that can’t move ie cleaning supplies, frozen and perishable food
  9. Plan simple meals for the few days leading up to and just after the move
  10. If moving a long distance put aside clothing. toiletries etc that you will need over the coming days and fill any prescriptions required for the next few weeks
  11. Collect any dry cleaning, return any DVD's, library books etc.

One day to go

  1. Defrost fridge and freezer
  2. Set aside any manuals/information, baking trays etc for the new home owners/tenants
  3. Set aside one room for the packers/movers/yourself to work freely in
  4. Prepare any items for the move that require dismantling
  5. Pack a box of essential items for when you first arrive at your new home and have it put aside to go with you ie jug, basic kitchenware, toilet paper etc.

Moving day

  1. Record all utility meter readings (gas, electricity, water)
  2. Keep all important cash, valuables and paperwork with you
  3. Stay at the house with your movers and sign off an inventory of goods
  4. Finish any cleaning and remove all rubbish
  5. Do a final walk-through of your home to make sure everything has been removed and all switches/lights are off
  6. Lock everything up and drop off the keys with your lawyer, Real Estate Consultant or landlord
  7. Make sure your movers have the correct address for your new home and know how to get there - also give them your contact numbers
  8. Once everything is unloaded at your new home, sign off the inventory - keep your copy until all charges have been paid and claims (if any) are settled.

At your new home

  1. Double check that everything in the property is in order and meets the terms of your sale and purchase agreement
  2. Check that all utilities are switched on
  3. As you begin the unpacking process, check for damaged or missing items
  4. And finally but certainly not least... crack open a celebratory drink, set a date for a house-warming party and start celebrating your new home!

Change of address checklist

Check all relevant people have been notified of your new address ie:

  • Friends and family
  • Electoral Roll
  • Loyalty and store cards
  • Electricity company
  • WINZ 
  • Newspaper/magazine subscriptions
  • Gas company
  • Inland Revenue
  • Telephone/mobile
  • Post Office 
  • Rubbish bin collection
  • Internet
  • Doctor and medical specialists
  • School/Kindergarten/Child care
  • Sky TV
  • Dentist
  • Bank Accounts/Credit Cards
  • Vet
  • Clubs
  • Insurance companies
  • Solicitor
  • AA Membership
  • NZ Transport Authority
  • Accountant
  • Public Library
  • Health and Fitness companies