How to hunt for the right home and who to talk to while you're looking.

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Tips to help you on your house hunt

Checking the listings and planning your weekend of open home viewings can cut into your precious evening and weekend downtime, here are a few tips and tricks to help you streamline the process.

If you do find a house that ticks all the boxes, don't delay. If you like it, others might too and you don't want to come back a week later to find it's gone. Let the agent know you’re interested and start your due diligence of building inspections and legal checks. If the house is going to auction, confirm with your bank how much you can offer.

House hunting tools

Here are a few sites to help you start the search:

Open home checklist

With any big purchase, you're bound to be full of questions. But, do you know the right ones to ask? 

Here’s our list to make sure you’re on the ball

  • Take your must-have list and check if the property meets your needs.

  • Make notes and take pictures, it's easy to forget which house has what.

  • Turn on the taps, shower and flush the toilet to check the water pressure.

  • Check that windows open, lights turn on and that everything generally works as expected.

  • Bring a measuring tape to make sure there's enough space for your beds and furniture. Living spaces may appear large if the owner has professionally staged the house and has cleared all the clutter of day-to-day living.

  • Check your mobile signal strength.

  • A freshly painted room can look lovely but look closer to see if it’s hiding mould or any other issues. Open wardrobes and check the walls and ceiling for any mould spots too.

  • Note where the sun rises and sets and which parts of the house see the most sunlight. Generally, you want your outdoors and living spaces to face the sun. Check if the house is in shadow for some of the day due to nearby hills or high buildings.

  • Listen for noise from the road, nearby schools or workplaces.

  • Chat to the neighbours about the area to see if you’re the right fit.

What to ask agents

  • What type of title is it? 
  • How long has it been on the market?
  • Was it owner occupied or rented out?
  • What schools is it zoned for?
  • Have there been any alterations?
  • Are all alterations permitted and certified?
  • Which chattels will remain?
  • Where are the property boundaries?
  • What is the current council valuation and rates?
  • Are they aware of any zoning restrictions?
  • Are there any covenants or restrictions registered on the title?
  • Are there any issues with property maintenance or damage that the agent knows about? (Such as collapsed drains or leaks).
  • Are there any leaky building issues? Has there been a toxicology report done?
  • If it's an apartment, are there body corporate fees?

Things to consider

    • Type of home that suits you now and in the future - a unit, apartment, townhouse or standalone house
    • Location - quiet street, close to CBD, good schools etc
    • Minimum number of bedrooms
    • Minimum number of bathrooms
    • Garage
    • Garden space
    • Fully fenced section
    • Outdoor living area
    • Type of flooring
    • Kitchen layout/design
    • Accessibility
    • Heating and insulation
    • Single level or multi story

Types of ownership

There are probably more types of land ownership in New Zealand than you're aware of, and while it's likely you won’t come across all of them in your house hunting, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the different terms. You'll want to understand what they mean and what the pros and cons of each are. If you're buying the property with someone else, then you’ll also need to decide how you want to structure the ownership.
  • Fee simple: The most common type of ownership in New Zealand (also known as freehold).
  • Leasehold: Someone else owns the land. You purchase the right to possession of the land and buildings on it for a specific period of time.
  • Cross lease: Two or more people own the same piece of freehold land, with more than one dwelling on the property and then lease the use of these from each other.
  • Unit titles can involve either fee simple or leasehold developments (also known as strata title).
We recommend getting advice on ownership types from your solicitor prior to purchasing a new home.

More on types of land ownership

Your home team

Mums, Dads, Uncles and Aunties may be full of great ideas and opinions - but you’ll need to chat to a few professionals too. That way, you can be sure that your home buying journey will go as smoothly as possible - both now and later down the track.


  • A home loan expert: We can help you navigate the ins and outs of home loans to find the one best-suited to you. Talk to our friendly team.

  • Real estate agents: Often people selling a home use a real estate agent to manage the process for them. 

  • Builder: We recommend getting a builder to do an inspection before you buy. No matter the age of the house or how great you think the condition is, it’s important to know all the facts.

  • Valuer: Property valuers assess the value of land, buildings and improvements.

  • Lawyer: They offer you advice for everything from negotiations to sale and purchase agreements, together with checking relevant paperwork like the LIM and certificate of title.

Contact us about your home loan

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Call us

We're here weekdays 8am - 8pm or Saturday 9:00am - 5:00pm to answer your home loan questions.

0800 100 600

Visit a branch

Visit us at one of our many branches across New Zealand.

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Apply online

Ready to take the next step? Apply online.

Next steps

1. Starting

Tips and tools to help you plan, budget and save for your first home.

2. Power Saving

Ways you could boost your savings to help you get that first home.

3. Finding

How to hunt for the right home and who to talk to while you're looking.

4. Buying

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

ASB's lending criteria, terms conditions and fees apply.