A Comprehensive Guide to Buying Your First Home in New Zealand

Wooo!  So you are on this page... that must mean you are thinking of buying your first home in New Zealand. Amazing, and an exciting time!

Purchasing your first home is a significant milestone that requires careful planning, research, and the right resources. In the competitive New Zealand real estate market, it's crucial to arm yourself with knowledge and tools to navigate the process successfully. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of buying your first home in New Zealand, with specific recommendations to use MoneyCompare.co.nz for comparing mortgage rates and finding a qualified mortgage broker to help see you through the process.


Section 1: Preparing for Homeownership

1.1 Establishing Your Goals and Budget:

Determine your homeownership goals, whether it's a long-term investment or finding a place to settle down.
Assess your financial situation and establish a budget to determine what you can afford.

1.2 Saving for a Deposit:

Understand the minimum deposit requirements in New Zealand.
Explore strategies for saving money, such as creating a budget, cutting expenses, and exploring government assistance programs like the HomeStart Grant.
Compare all your current bills like power, broadband and insurance and make sure you are getting the best rates.  NZ Compare sites can help you here!

1.3 Understanding Mortgage Basics:

Familiarize yourself with key mortgage terms and concepts, such as interest rates, loan terms, and repayment options.
Learn about the different types of mortgages available in New Zealand.

Buying your first IS possible - We can help!

Section 2: Exploring Financing Options

2.1 Visiting MoneyCompare.co.nz:

Introduce yourself to MoneyCompare.co.nz as a valuable resource for comparing mortgage rates and products.
The MoneyCompare website has heaps of features and benefits including its user-friendly interface and comprehensive range of lenders with up to date mortgage rates.

2.2 Comparing Mortgage Rates:

Use MoneyCompare.co.nz to compare mortgage rates by visiting the Home Loans area on the website.  We feature mortgage products from banks and non-bank lenders that you may not have heard of.
Remember the importance of considering factors beyond interest rates, such as fees, terms, and flexibility.

2.3 Assessing Affordability:

Utilize MoneyCompare.co.nz's affordability tools to calculate how much you can borrow and estimate mortgage repayments.
Remember to consider the significance of other expenses, such as insurance, property maintenance, and council rates, when assessing affordability.






Section 3: How much deposit & earnings do I need?

3.1 Well how much money do you want to borrow?:

The amount of deposit and earnings required to buy a house can vary depending on several factors, including location, property type, and lending criteria.  Use this mortgage calculator to work out how much you could borrow based on some quick questions about your current financial situation.

Generally, lenders in New Zealand typically require a minimum deposit of 20% of the property's purchase price. However, there are options available for buyers with a smaller deposit, such as the First Home Loan scheme, which allows eligible buyers to purchase a home with a deposit as low as 5%.

In addition to the deposit, lenders also consider the borrower's income and expenses to determine their borrowing capacity. It's important for prospective homebuyers to carefully assess their financial situation, including their savings, income, and expenses, to ensure they can afford the mortgage repayments and associated costs of homeownership. Seeking advice from a mortgage advisor or financial planner can help buyers navigate the process and make informed decisions about purchasing a home in NZ.

3.2 What is a mortgage test rate?:

A mortgage test rate, also known as a qualifying rate or stress test rate, is a benchmark interest rate used by lenders to assess a borrower's ability to repay a mortgage loan. This rate is typically higher than the actual mortgage interest rate and is used to ensure that borrowers can still afford their mortgage payments even if interest rates rise in the future. In many countries, including Canada, lenders are required to use a specified mortgage test rate when assessing a borrower's eligibility for a mortgage. The purpose of the mortgage test rate is to protect both borrowers and lenders from the risks associated with potential interest rate increases, ensuring that borrowers can afford their mortgage payments even in less favorable economic conditions.

So whilst you may be able to afford your mortgage at the moment you take it out, banks and non bank lenders like to do some math to ensure that if interest rates went up you could still afford to meet your mortgage payments.

3.3 Reduce your expenses to increase your borrowing potential:

Reducing expenses can help increase your borrowing potential by improving your debt-to-income ratio and demonstrating to lenders that you can afford higher mortgage payments. Here are some simple ways to reduce expenses:

a. Budgeting: Create a detailed budget to track your income and expenses. Identify areas where you can cut back on discretionary spending, such as dining out, entertainment, and non-essential purchases.
b. Cut unnecessary subscriptions: Review your subscriptions and memberships for services you no longer use or need, such as streaming services, gym memberships, or magazine subscriptions. Canceling these subscriptions can free up extra cash each month.
c. Lower utility bills: Find ways to reduce your utility bills by conserving energy and water. Simple changes like turning off lights when not in use, using energy-efficient appliances, and installing low-flow fixtures can help lower your monthly expenses. Look at comparing your broadband bill and your mobile plan.  There are big savings to be made.
d. Refinance high-interest debt: If you have high-interest debt, such as credit card debt or personal loans, consider refinancing to a lower interest rate. This can reduce your monthly payments and free up more money for savings or mortgage payments.
e. Negotiate lower rates: Contact service providers such as insurance companies, internet providers, and cell phone carriers to negotiate lower rates or switch to cheaper alternatives. Loyalty discounts or promotional offers may be available for existing customers.
f. Limit eating out and cook at home: Dining out can be expensive, so try to limit eating out and cook meals at home instead. Meal planning and buying groceries in bulk can help save money on food expenses.

By implementing these strategies to reduce expenses, you can improve your financial situation and increase your borrowing potential when applying for a mortgage.

Section 4: Engaging a Qualified Mortgage Broker

4.1 Understanding the Role of a Mortgage Broker:

The benefits of working with a mortgage broker during the homebuying process cannot be underestimated.  These guys are EXPERTS.  You see a doctor when you are ill and a mechanic when your car fails, so why would you not see a mortgage advisor when you are looking to get a mortgage?
Mortgage brokers can provide personalized advice, access to a wider range of lenders, and assistance with paperwork and negotiations.

4.2 Finding a Qualified Mortgage Broker:

The MoneyCompare.co.nz website has a number of mortgage broker partners. We can help you find a reputable and experienced mortgage broker.
Remember it is important to check qualifications, seek recommendations, and have a good chat with an advisor to make sure you are comfortable before you commit to using them.

4.3 Utilizing a Mortgage Broker's Services:

The process of working with a mortgage broker takes on a few stages from initial consultation to loan application and settlement.
One of the big plusses of a broker is that a mortgage broker can negotiate with lenders on your behalf and find mortgage products tailored to your needs.





Section 5: The Homebuying Process

5.1 Identifying Your Property Requirements:

Determine your priorities, such as location, property type, size, and amenities.
Conduct thorough research and utilize online resources, real estate portals, and open homes to identify potential properties.

4.2 Making an Offer and Negotiating:

Understand the process of making an offer and negotiating with sellers.
Discuss the importance of conducting due diligence, including building inspections and obtaining a LIM report.

4.3 Finalizing Financing:

Engage your chosen mortgage broker to finalize financing options.
Discuss the steps involved in obtaining pre-approval, submitting a formal loan application, and satisfying conditions.

4.4 Legal Matters and Conveyancing:

Understand the role of solicitors or conveyancers in the homebuying process - a good mortgage broker should be able to introduce you to someone.
Discuss the legal requirements, including property searches, title transfer, and documentation.

4.5 Settling the Purchase:

Explain the settlement process, including the exchange of contracts, payment of the deposit, and completion of paperwork.
Discuss the role of your solicitor or conveyancer in ensuring a smooth and legally compliant settlement.

Section 6: Post-Purchase Considerations

5.1 Moving In and Settling Down:

Provide tips for a smooth transition into your new home, such as organizing utilities, notifying service providers, and unpacking efficiently.
5.2 Maintaining and Protecting Your Investment:

Discuss the importance of regular property maintenance and considerations for property insurance.
Explore home security measures and protecting your investment for the long term.


Buying your first home in New Zealand can be an exciting and rewarding experience. By following the step-by-step process outlined in this guide and utilizing resources like MoneyCompare.co.nz for comparing mortgage rates, you can make informed decisions and find the best financing options for your needs. Additionally, engaging a qualified mortgage broker will provide personalized guidance and assistance throughout the process, ensuring a smoother and more efficient homebuying journey. With careful planning, research, and the right support, you'll soon be holding the keys to your first home in New Zealand.