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  • NZ Property Law 2:21 pm on August 29, 2011 Permalink |
    Tags: mobile conveyancing, mobile law, mobile lawyer   

    We are proud to announce our new Mobile… 

    We are proud to announce our new Mobile Conveyancing Service – bringing law to your door!

    Client can not only benefit from our affordable fixed prices and excellent service from our team of lawyers and legal executives, but can now do do so from the convenience of their own homes!

    Visit our website to find out more:

    Benefits of using our Mobile Conveyancing Services:

    •  We come to you at your home or workplace
    •  Can meet you after hours (weekday evenings and Saturday mornings)
    •  Have affordable fixed prices for standard residential sales and purchases
    •  Offer fast friendly and efficient service from our team of experienced lawyers and legal executives.

    Contact us: 0800 Solicitor

  • NZ Property Law 5:51 pm on April 29, 2011 Permalink |  

    Due diligence clauses and why Vendors dont like them 

    Purchasing a property is a decision not to be taken lightly. A Sale and Purchase Agreement is a legally binding contract so its only natural that purchasers are sometimes afraid of being tied into the agreement without having time to fully investigate the property, surrounding neighborhood, rental/resale potential, cost of renovations and other issues.

    The common conditions added to Sale and Purchase agreements such builders reports, finance and LIM report do not generally give purchasers the opportunity to cancel the agreement unless their finance is declined or there are legitimate concerns raised in the builders or LIM reports that the Vendors are not willing to fix. It is for this reason that some purchasers decide to include a due diligence condition in their Sale and Purchase Agreement.

    Read more…

  • NZ Property Law 3:43 pm on March 17, 2011 Permalink |  

    Builders report conditions – how the wording can change the meaning 

    Most astute purchasers realize the importance of getting a building inspection done before committing to purchase a property. They do this by inserting a specific condition (clause) in the Sale and Purchase agreement making the contract subject to their obtaining and approving a builders report on the property. A report from a building inspector will set you back anywhere between $400 and $1000 depending on the property and company used which is not a lot if you consider the investment of hundreds of thousands in the property. Many people don’t realize however, how vital the wording of the condition in the Sale and Purchase agreement is. I have come across countless cases of purchasers asking the agent  for a builders report condition and then signing the agreement without ever reading or understanding the implications of the wording of the condition. Particular things to look out for are clauses that limit the issues you can raise under the condition or limit who can perform the inspection as well as ones that give the Vendor the first right to rectify the issue.  Read more …


  • NZ Property Law 12:47 pm on February 14, 2011 Permalink |  

    Pre-settlement Property Inspections 

    When you are purchasing a property under the standard NZLS Sale and Purchase Agreement you have the right to do a final inspection of the property prior to settlement (except in the case of some mortgagee sales). This inspection gives you the opportunity to carefully check through the property before paying the settlement funds across to the Vendor. In this inspection there are 3 main things you should be checking for… Read More

  • NZ Property Law 9:32 am on January 17, 2011 Permalink |
    Tags: deposit   

    Payment of deposits on property sales and purchases 

    A deposit is not a legal requirement of an agreement for Sale and Purchase of Real Estate, however most Vendors require that one be paid as it shows that the purchaser is serious and would cover the vendor for any expenses such as agents commission and legal fees should the purchaser fail to settle after going unconditional. In a standard property purchase a deposit is usually paid by the purchaser to the real estate agent or vendors solicitors trust account …..Read more

  • NZ Property Law 2:12 pm on December 21, 2010 Permalink |  

    Managing a Trust 

    A Family Trust is a common vehicle for the ownership of property in New Zealand. It has really become quite fashionable to have a trust in some circles and many enter into one without understanding fully what is required. Acting as a trustee in a trust in an onerous responsibility so it is essential that trustees understand what is required of them in managing the trust. These guidelines give a brief overview of some of the issues to be considered including:

    – Duties and Responsibilities of a Trustee

    • Maintaining separation of  trust and personal assets
    • Documentation and Record Keeping

    Read more….

  • NZ Property Law 2:05 pm on December 14, 2010 Permalink |  

    The Pro’s and Cons of buying leasehold land in New Zealand 

    What is leasehold land? Leasehold is a form of property ownership whereby you own the buildings and any other improvements on the site, but you lease or rent the land from a land owner.

    The Pro’s

    Leasehold land is without a doubt cheaper than buying freehold. This is because you are not purchasing the land outright, only a right to us it for the period of the lease. In Auckland it is possible to purchase an affordable leasehold home in a trendy area like Parnell, the City Waterfront or One Tree Hill where freehold properties can sell for well over $1mil!

    For some people buying leasehold works out cheaper than renting over the period of the lease with the added benefit of owning your own home. Others decide to buy leasehold as after doing the sums they find that paying a typical lease fee of 5% p.a. of the freehold value of the land to the landowner is less than paying 8% mortgage interest to the bank on a more expensive freehold property!.

    The Cons:

    You should be aware however that while the lease may be affordable at the time of purchase there are rent review periods where the ground rent is assessed in comparison to the current property market values. This means that if the freehold value has increased you run the risk of a sometimes substantial increase in ground rent. I remember a few years back some clients of mine were most distressed to learn that the lease fees for their city apartment were increasing by over $10,000 per annum!

    Generally people buy real estate as an investment, as way to build wealth for themselves and their heirs.  It is usually the value of the land which increases over time providing  capital gains to the land owner. In a leasehold situation it is the owner of the land that benefits from this increase in value of the land over time where the tenant only has the right to live there and owns an aging house that could be decreasing in value and needing expensive maintenance and repairs.

    Leasehold land is more difficult to finance with banks requiring higher deposits than for freehold equivalents. It can also prove more difficult to sell a leasehold property, particularly if you are nearing the end of the lease or approaching a review period. And remember with a leasehold property all outgoings  are still your responsibility (not the land owners). These include city and regional council rates,  body corporate fees if it is a stratum title, insurance and maintenance.

    Do your homework:

    Each leasehold property needs to be assessed on its own merits as not all leases are the same. Many have a finite term of say 50 or 100 years. The value of the property is obviously affected by the remaining term of the lease whether it has 60 years left to run or 6 can make a big difference! Some leases give the tenant the option to purchase the land freehold on expiry of the lease with a formula included to calculate the sale price of the land at that time.  Other leases while having a finite term also have a right of renewal which if exercised would mean the lease could continue in perpetuity. There are also often restrictions as to the land use included in the lease. Before entering into an agreement to purchase leasehold land it is essential to get legal advice and go through the lease documentation with your lawyer before deciding whether or not to proceed.


  • NZ Property Law 11:20 am on November 12, 2010 Permalink |  

    New Zealand’s climate, lifestyle and bre… 

    New Zealand’s climate, lifestyle and breathtaking landscapes make it an attractive destination to overseas investors.  In the recent United Nations Report on The Real Wealth of Nations, New Zealand was placed third out of 169 nations in the top places to live in the world.

    As a specialist property lawyer I often get approached by overseas residents asking if it is possible to purchase land in New Zealand and what the procedure is. In my article this week I am addressing some of the most frequently asked questions regarding foreign ownership of New Zealand property.


    Can foreigners purchase property in NZ?

    The answer is generally yes, a non-resident can purchase a regular house or section of land without any restriction. The only exception is if the property is classified as being “sensitive land”, if this is the case OIA consent is required prior to purchasing. A standard suburban house would not be classified as sensitive, however farms, lifestyle properties and holiday or waterfront homes could fall under this category. See the legislation for a more detailed description of sensitive land. If you are purchasing a property which requires OIA consent or if you are unsure whether or not it does, then you need to include an OIA consent condition in your Sale and Purchase Agreement. This will give you the opportunity to consult with your lawyer and apply for consent if necessary.

    What is OIA consent and how does one apply for it?

    OIA (Overseas Investment Act 2005) Consent is required for overseas persons and their associates wishing to purchase sensitive land in New Zealand. An overseas person is anyone who is not a New Zealand citizen and does not normally reside in New Zealand. According to the regulations a company, partnership, Joint Venture and a trust can also be an overseas person. Determining whether OIA consent is required and the actual application process can be tricky so it is essential to engage a lawyer who has experience in this area. OIA consent is granted by the OIO (Overseas Investment Office) based on several criteria including whether the transaction will benefit New Zealand and if the investor is intending to reside indefinitely in New Zealand. Each application is assessed on a case by case basis.

    Does owning property in New Zealand entitle you to residency?

    No, foreigners can own land in New Zealand but this does not automatically entitle them to stay in the country beyond the limits of a visitor’s visa. It is still necessary to go through standard immigration channels to apply for residency or citizenship. More information about applying for residency and the application criteria can be found at Immigration New Zealand.

    Do you need to physically come to the country to complete a purchase?

    No, my firm regularly acts for clients based overseas who buy and sell New Zealand property without needing to physically come to the country to complete the settlement.  We manage this by emailing all the required documentation to the client who gets it signed and witnessed in front of a notary public in their country of residence and returned to us by courier.

    What are the most common mistakes overseas investors make when purchasing property in New Zealand?

    In my experience most easily avoidable mistakes stem from failing to get legal advice before entering into a Sale and Purchase Agreement. Many foreigners don’t realize that once you have signed a Sale and Purchase Agreement you are legally bound to this contract, there is no “cooling down period” after signing as is the case in many countries and you cannot back out of the agreement if you change your mind. This means that its essential to get legal advice prior to signing the agreement so that you know what type of land you are agreeing to purchase and can include relevant conditions (such as finance, builder report, OIA consent etc) in the contract.

    For more information and advice on purchasing property in New Zealand contact us on +64 9 638 6969

  • NZ Property Law 10:03 am on November 2, 2010 Permalink |  

    Buying a farm or rural property 

    Buying a farm or rural property is not as simple as buying a residential property in the city.

    There are many additional factors whcih you need to be aware of as well as some hidden traps that can catch both Vendors and Purchasers unawares.


    See for tips on what to watch out for.


  • NZ Property Law 6:15 pm on October 27, 2010 Permalink |  

    The Lawyers role in Private Property Sales 

    The number of private sale contacts (properties being sold without a real estate agent) coming through my office has increased substantially over recent times so I imagine it would be the same across the industry. I have been searching without success for statistics on the number of private property sales and how these figures have changed over the years – if you come across any please let me know! I did however do a quick search on Trademe and note that of the latest 100 homes that were listed in the Auckland area over the last few days 36 of these were private listings.

    During tough economic times everyone tightens their belts, cuts corners and learns to make do without the “non essentials”.  When it comes to selling a house the biggest cost is the agents commission so its understandable that Vendors are turning to do it yourself options.

    Having a good agent can make the sales process a lot less stressful for the Vendor and a professional sales person often generates far more interest in the property and achieves a higher sales price than the Vendor would marketing the property alone.  Personally if I was selling a house now I would use a real estate agent, however I understand that in the end it comes down to cost and if people believe they can save some money then why not give it a try.  You should be aware however of the fact that an agent does more than just market the property and show prospective buyers through. Agents have other vitally important roles in the sales process, acting as a go between in the negotiation process, drawing up the sales and purchase agreement and holding the deposit on trust until the agreement is unconditional to name but a few. If you are considering buying or selling a privately then these functions need to be fulfilled by your lawyer.

    Get your lawyer involved in the process from the start and use their expertise throughout especially for:

    • Drafting S&P Agreement and clauses
      A Sale and Purchase agreement is a legally binding contract so both parties should get legal advice before signing. Usually the prospective purchaser will get a Sale and Purchase Agreement (with any conditions they would like incluced)prepared by their and will then present this as an offer to the Vendors. Attempting to complete a S&P Agreement without a lawyers input can (and does!) lead to errors, omissions and disputes which can be costly and unpleasant to resolve.
    • Negotiating
      A major reaon Vendors choose not to market their own home is horror at the thought of having to negotiate a price for the sale of their major asset to which they are emotionally attached.  The solution is to forward the purchaser’s offer to your solicitor, or advise prospective purchasers to deal directly with your solicitor, who you will liaise with regarding any counter offer and/or acceptance or rejection of specific terms. The same goes for the Purchaser,  if you feel uncomfortable negotiating directly with the Vendor you can ask your lawyer to do this for you.
    • Payment of deposit
      Never pay the deposit directly to the Vendor as it may be hard to recover if the agreement is cancelled for any reason and the Vendor may spend it and not have sufficient funds to repay the mortgage on settlement day. A deposit should only be paid into a trust account so if there is no agent involved it can be paid directly to the Vendors lawyers trust account.

    Once the initial negotiation and signing of the S&P Agreement is completed we can then help with the Conveyancing part of the transaction.

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