Buying property can be daunting, whether you are first home buyer or a seasoned investor buying a large commercial property, there are many things to consider. 

Nolans property specialists will give you expert, common-sense advice through every step of the process.

See below for simple answers to some questions about legal issues concerning property but do please ask for legal advice is anything isn't clear.

If I need bank finance to complete my purchase what do I need to be aware of?

You need to ensure that the bank has agreed to provide finance for your purchase in writing. Even if you have pre-approval, the bank may require additional information depending on the nature of the purchase. For example if you have bank pre-approval but the purchase is a private agreement (as opposed to a public auction) the bank may require an independent valuation.

You should talk to your lawyer about finance before you commit to a purchase.

Do we need a sale and purchase agreement?


If you are buying an interest in land you need an agreement in writing. The most commonly used agreement is the ADLS agreement which contains all the important terms. You will need to include some details including, who the purchaser will be, the purchase price, deposit, settlement date and any conditions the agreement is subject to.

What conditions should I include in an agreement to purchase a house?

The conditions you should include depend on the nature of the property and the amount of information you have been able to get about the property before you put in your offer. 

You should talk to you lawyer about the nature of the property and the information you have so far. Then you can make an informed decision about the risks of putting in an offer.

When do I need to pay the deposit?

When you need to pay the deposit depends on what is in the agreement. Usually this will be when the agreement becomes unconditional.

When will I get the keys to my house on the settlement day?

You will get access to the keys when your lawyer has paid vendors solicitors the balance of the purchase price. There are a number of factors which can impact on when this happens, which can be difficult to predict. If you are selling a property, and the funds from the sale are being used for your purchase, the sale will need to settle before the purchase can be completed. You can help ensure settlement happens as soon as possible by ensuring your lawyer has everything they need for settlement. 

You should talk to your lawyer about timing and allow for some flexibility in your moving plans...

What is the difference between ownership as joint tenants and tenants in common?

When you own a property with another person you can decide how you own that property. Joint tenants means you hold the property jointly and if one of you dies, the other automatically takes the whole title. Tenants in common can be in equal or unequal shares. It means that you can each own a ½ share (or any other share) in the property and deal with that share as you see fit. You can include who might get that share in your will. Unlike joint tenants, the other owner does not automatically inherit your share.

Contact us to make a time to discuss your options...

What do I need to do before settlement?

Your lawyer will be in touch with you before settlement to discuss what needs to be done. Ensuring your lawyer has money for settlement, that there is insurance in place and that an inspection has been undertaken are all key. You need to do the inspection well before settlement to ensure that if there are any issues they can be dealt with before settlement.

Can I use my kiwisaver to purchase a house?

If you are a first home buyer, or in certain other circumstances you might be able to use your kiwisaver to purchase a house. You can check if you meet the criteria with your kiwisaver provider. 

If you are unsure we can help you with the application.

Am I eligible for the Kiwisaver HomeStart grant?

If you have contributed the minimum contributions to Kiwisaver over the last 3 years you may be eligible for a grant of up to $5,000 per person to assist in the purchase of your first home or $10,000 per person to build your first home. You can check if you meet the criteria on the Housing NZ website. 

If you are unsure we can help you with the application.

What is a LIM and should I get one?

A LIM is a Land Information Memorandum which is prepared by the local authority on application and payment of a fee. A LIM contains all the information held by the local authority on the property. It will flag things like building consents which have not had final sign off, if the property is exposed to any natural hazards such as coastal erosion, flooding etc. It had the potential to identify a number of issues for you as the owner, so if you are buying a property, we recommend you get a LIM before you commit.

Contact us to make a time for more information about how to apply for a LIM...

Should my lawyer review any agreement before I sign it?


Buying and selling a house is one of the biggest financial commitments many of us make during our life. You need to ensure the agreement you sign reflects what you understand the deal is and if there are other enquires you should make before completely committing to the deal.

Contact us to make a time for us to review your agreement...

What should I do if I am buying at auction?

You should get your legal professional to look over the auction terms and the title well before the auction date.
You should also make sure you have unconditional finance in place and look into all other aspects of the property (like LIM and builders report) before the auction.
If you buy at auction you buy unconditionally. You are committed from the fall of the hammer. There is no opportunity to get out of the contract later if things don’t stack up.

When can I move in on the settlement day?

You are only entitled to possession of your new home once you have paid the money. When that happens can vary.
There are a number of checks and processes your legal professional (and the legal professional acting for the other party) need to do. If you are borrowing from the bank, your lawyer needs that money in.
If you are selling before you purchase, your sale needs to settle first. Don’t expect to get in your new home at 9am, that is very rare. Most commonly settlements occur mid to late afternoon.
Talk to your lawyer and ask their advice on when to book the moving truck. They will let you know if there is any hold up and when the keys are available.