Here are some helpful tips for the lead up to and process of buying your first home.

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Finalise your finances

Before you talk to the real estate agent about offers or auctions when you’re house hunting, come and speak to us about buying your first home. It’s important that you know exactly where you stand financially, so you know when to go for it or when to walk away.

Even for first home buyers with home loan pre-approval, we still need to confirm that it’s appropriate for you.  You don't need to sign anything or commit to a loan, but it’s ideal to begin the house buying process knowing what you can afford based on your borrowing potential. 

Ways to buy a house

Here are the different ways of buying a property, with tips for your first home purchase.


Property auctions are held at a specific time and place, and potential home buyers bid what they’re willing to pay for their new home until the top bid is reached. The benefit of an auction is knowing what other potential buyers are willing to pay as they each make a bid for the house. However, if multiple bidders want to buy the house, it can get quite competitive as the price goes up. To bid at an auction, you need to purchase the home unconditionally, so you’ll need to carry out your due diligence and get your ducks in a row before the auction. Also, be prepared to pay the deposit yourself right after bidding – this is generally 10% of the house price unless you’ve agreed otherwise with the vendor before the auction.

Price by negotiation

Your offer is a legal contract called the Sale and Purchase Agreement, which should be based on a standard industry template. If there are any changes, the real estate agent must point them out.

You provide your details, the price you’re willing to pay for the property, and any conditions. The conditions can cover anything you want to be resolved before the sale. For example, you might make the sale conditional on having approval on a particular loan amount or the vendor fixing issues with the property.

Price by negotiation allows you more flexibility with your offer and less in the moment competition than an auction. However, with this method, you have less visibility of what other potential buyers are offering for the home and how competitive your offer is versus theirs.

Conditions are there to help you, but they can also become sticking points in the sale. Our tips for first home buyers—make sure you find the right balance and seek legal advice. 


Similar to price by negotiation, anyone interested in a property has the opportunity to put in a written offer (the 'tender') by a specific date and time (the 'deadline'). All tenders are then presented to the seller simultaneously on the deadline. Then, it’s up to the seller to decide if they accept any of the tenders.

Also, like the price by negotiation method, there isn't the intensity of an auction room present, but this comes with less foresight into how your offer stacks up against others.


Like a tender, the seller sets a deadline, and potential home buyers can put forward an offer on the property and negotiate before that deadline.

Private sale

In a private sale, you negotiate directly with the seller—without involving real estate agents. The benefit of this method is that you are talking directly with the party of interest, and you could get a better understanding of how much they want for the property.

To ensure all parties meet their legal obligations, it pays to be cautious and get the best advice for your situation from a lawyer on every move you make.

House and land package

When you buy a house and land package, you enter into a contract to build a house for a fixed price. This is also known as a turn-key contract. You will typically have to pay a 10% deposit of the house price when signing the contract and pay the balance after the build process. This will depend on your agreement with the building company.

Withdrawing your KiwiSaver savings

If you've decided to use your KiwiSaver savings as part of your first home deposit and you've made sure you're eligible, you will need to let your lawyer or conveyancing partner know.

They'll guide you through the home grant process and application, and once we've received your KiwiSaver first home withdrawal application, it will take about ten days to turn this around - be sure to leave enough time before the day of settlement!

Apply for KiwiSaver first home withdrawal

Settlement day

Everything's all been leading up to this; when you are officially a first home buyer. We have a few points to consider for your settlement day.

  • Your settlement date is one of the things you will have agreed when negotiating your offer.
  • Often it won't all be completed until later in the day, so it's better not to line up a moving truck for the same day.
  • Before the final settlement goes through, ask for a pre-settlement building inspection. The building inspector will check that everything is precisely how you agreed it would be. Along with the building report, make sure everything is as you agreed, including checking that all the chattels are still there and nothing unexpected has happened to the house.
  • Once everything is finalised, you become the home’s legal owner, and the agent will give you the keys. It's a big moment and well worth a celebration.
  • If you can, settle one or two days before moving day. Then, you can see your new home with no furniture or clutter, which can help you think about how you'd like to arrange things.

Protecting yourself, your loved ones and your home

Protecting your home

Whether it's your home or your rental property, home insurance can look after the little things like lost keys or broken windows, or more serious things like damage from an earthquake or flooding. It gives you the peace of mind that your home can be rebuilt or repaired should something happen to it.

Protecting your contents

Contents insurance can cover your contents for loss occurring throughout New Zealand. While insurance can't cover an item’s sentimental value, contents insurance can help you recover the financial cost of your items if you’ve got the right level of cover.

Protecting yourself and your loved ones

Taking out life insurance can be a great tip for first home buyers. You are your most important asset, so protect yourself like one. If you were to get injured, fall ill or pass away, your ability to work or generate an income is at risk. So protect yourself and your loved one's ability to make the mortgage repayments and day-to-day living expenses during these difficult times.

Your will

A will is an essential document for homeowners. It's important to get one or update your current one, so it's clear what should happen to your house after you're gone.

ASB does not provide this type of advice - make sure you talk to your lawyer to arrange your will.

Next steps

The first step on the property ladder is to be armed with the best advice before you start. ASB has all the tools for your dream home buying process.

1. Starting

Tips and tools for the first home buyer to help you plan, budget and save money. Use our mortgage repayments calculator to compare home loans, interest rates, terms and mortgage payments.

2. Power Saving

Ways you could boost your savings to help you on your journey to first home ownership.

3. Finding

How to hunt for the right home and who to talk to while you're looking. Use our ASB Suburb Seeker to find affordable suburbs and house prices to suit your needs and budget.

4. Buying

Handy information for the lead up to and process of buying your first home.

Contact us about your home loan

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The availability of insurance cover is subject to your application being approved. All applications are subject to individual consideration. Special conditions, exclusions or premium loadings may apply. An excess may apply for health and general insurance policies. For full details refer to the policy document which is available on request from ASB Bank Limited.

ASB life, health and disability insurances are underwritten by AIA New Zealand Limited ("AIA").

General Insurance is underwritten by IAG New Zealand Limited ("IAG").

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