Handy information 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, come and talk to us. 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 if you have a pre-approval, we need to confirm that it's appropriate for you. You don't need to sign anything or commit to a loan, but it’s good to go into negotiations knowing exactly what you can afford. 

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Ways to buy a house

There’s more than one way to buy a home. Each way is very different, so here is some information on what to expect.


Auctions are held at a specific time and place and potential buyers bid what they’re willing to pay for the home until the top bid is reached. To bid at auction you need to purchase the home unconditionally, so you’ll need to get your ducks in a row before the auction. Be prepared to pay the deposit yourself right after bidding – this is generally 10% of the purchase 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. It should be based on a standard industry template. If there are any changes, the real estate agent must point them out.

You add your details, the price you’re willing to pay, and any conditions. Conditions are things you want resolved before the sale. For example, you might make the sale conditional on having your loan approved, or on the vendor fixing issues with the house.

Conditions are there to help you, but they can also become sticking points in the sale. 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 certain date and time (the 'deadline'). All tenders are then presented to the seller at the same time on the deadline, and it’s then up to the seller to decide if they want to accept any of the tenders.


Similar to tender, the seller sets a deadline and potential buyers can put forward an offer and negotiate before that deadline. 

Private sale

In a private sale you negotiate directly with the seller to buy your new home - no real estate agents are involved. It pays to be cautious and consult your lawyer on every move you make, to ensure all parties are meeting their legal obligations.

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 at the point of signing the contract and pay the balance at completion of the build process. This will depend on your agreement with the building company.

Top tips to secure that home

Bidding at auction?

Head along to a few other auctions before your big day to get a better understanding of the process. Emotions can run high with the auctioneer and other bidders in the room or over the phone, so set a bidding limit in your mind that meets your budget and stick to it.

Buying by negotiation?

Talk to your lawyer before you sign anything. Your lawyer is looking after your best interests. Have them check the property’s title and LIM and talk about potential conditions to include in your offer.

Structuring your home loan

Fixed, floating or both

There are three main types of home loan, which you can combine to create the perfect loan for you.

  • Fixed rate: With a fixed rate loan you keep the same interest rate and make the same payments for a selected period of time. This may make it easier for you to manage your finances because you know that your payments won’t change. If you decide to break this term early you will be charged an early repayment adjustment (ERA).
  • Floating rate: With a floating rate loan your interest rate can go up and down in line with market conditions. You also have the flexibility to repay your loan at any time without cost.
  • Revolving credit: This home loan is like combining your cheque, savings and home loan accounts into one. You can draw funds up to your credit limit and repay funds at any time, giving you flexibility. Trade-off for this is a higher interest rate, a monthly fee, and no structured repayments. 

You may want to split your loan into different structures e.g. some fixed, some floating. Please get in touch and we can discuss what’s right for you.

More on our home loans

Withdrawing your KiwiSaver funds

You can apply to withdraw your KiwiSaver funds when you have a signed and completed sale and purchase agreement.

Let your lawyer or conveyancing practitioner know you want to make a KiwiSaver first home withdrawal. They’ll guide you through the process and any required paperwork. They may charge a fee for this.

It takes about 10 days to turn around your KiwiSaver withdrawal application. Make sure you get onto this as early as possible. 

More on the KiwiSaver first home withdrawal

Settlement day

Everything's all been leading up to this; when you officially own your new home. 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 settlement day.
  • Before the final settlement goes through, ask for a pre-settlement inspection. It lets you check that everything is exactly how you agreed it would be. Check that all the chattels are still there, and that nothing unexpected has happened to the house.
  • On settlement day, once everything is finalised, you become the legal owner of the home, 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. It gives you an opportunity to 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

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

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. Protect yourself and your loved one's ability to maintain the mortgage and day-to-day living expenses during these difficult times.

Your will

A will is an important document when purchasing a house. 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.

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").

All licensed insurance providers are required to have a financial strength rating from an approved rating agency. See further details about AIA's financial strength rating and IAG's financial strength rating.

Interests in the ASB KiwiSaver Scheme (Scheme) are issued by ASB Group Investments Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of ASB Bank Limited (ASB). ASB provides Scheme administration and distribution services. No person guarantees interests in the Scheme. Interests in the Scheme are not deposits or other liabilities of ASB. They are subject to investment risk, including possible loss of income and principal invested. For more information see the ASB KiwiSaver Scheme Product Disclosure Statement available from this website and the register of offers of financial products at www.disclose-register.companiesoffice.govt.nz (search for ASB KiwiSaver Scheme).