Buying a Home in New Zealand: A Guide for Foreigners

Homes in New Zealand, housing in a coastal townIf you’ve watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy, you’ve probably considered moving to New Zealand. This beautiful island country truly has some jaw-dropping landscapes that make hiking a pure joy. And if you are considering relocating to New Zealand, we can only assume that you are also considering buying a home here. With this in mind, we’ve written a comprehensive guide for buying a home in New Zealand.

Housing marketing in New Zealand

Before we get into specifics of home purchase, you must understand the current housing market in New Zealand. Namely, more and more people have decided that buying a home in New Zealand is a good idea in the past decade. This increased property value would’ve continued to do so if the New Zealand government hadn’t stepped in. Today, in order to buy property in New Zealand as a foreigner, there are some difficulties that you need to overcome.

Buying a home in New Zealand may not be an option for you.

Homes in New Zealand

Buying property as a foreigner

Depending on where you are coming from and your reason for buying real estate, you might experience different restrictions. For instance, people in Australia require little to no permissions to purchase a property. But, if you come from the US or UK, you may find purchase restrictions that outright ban you from buying a particular type of property. We suggest that you visit the New Zealand government website and use their tool to find out more. Through it, you will get a good idea of what you can buy and what permits you might require.

Finding a home to buy

If you are eligible to purchase a home in New Zealand, you’ll find that it is a pretty straightforward endeavor. The benefit of such high regulations of the real estate market is that you can easily find information and experience ample protection from fraud. By simply going online, you can get accurate data on housing prices and purchase options. Keep in mind that the area where you buy a home can be a significant factor in how expensive it is. For instance, the median price of a home in Auckland is NZ$850,000. Meanwhile, the median price of a home in Whanganui is NZ$330,000. The housing cost usually reflects job availability and general living costs. So, before you make your decision, try to first consider your budget and see which area suits you best.

Finding a good realtor

While you can, theoretically, try to find a home of your own accord, we strongly suggest that you find a good realtor. Even though you have easy access to accurate information, there is still no substitute for having your finger on the pulse of local real estate. So, once you feel that you’ve found a suitable area, try to find an experienced local realtor. They will be able to guide your purchase and ensure that you understand what you are getting into.

A real estate agent shaking hands with clients after buying a home in New Zealand.

An experienced realtor will help you navigate the New Zealand real estate market with ease.

Keep in mind that there might be some language barriers to overcome, even if you are from the UK or the US. Notions like:

  • Attached properties.
  • Standalone options.
  • Sections.
  • Zoning permits.

All of these are paraments that can impact your purchase. An experienced realtor will help you understand the local market and ensure that you make the right decision.

Moving to New Zealand

Since you are a foreigner, you are likely wondering when to relocate to New Zealand. On the one hand, it does seem pretty straightforward to relocate after you’ve bought a home. On the other, finding a suitable home might be easier if you are physically present in the area. So, what is the smart call?

When should you relocate?

If you’ve never been to New Zealand before, we strongly suggest visiting it before buying property. While it may look beautiful on videos and pictures, know that New Zealand is no fairytale land. Just like any country, it has its culture, with various pros and cons. And if you find them unsuitable, you better be renting out a place there and not be stuck with a purchased home. Ideally, you will spend at least a couple of months living in New Zealand before making your purchase. Only if you have visited it before and have a good idea of what living here is like should you opt to buy a home online.

Finding the right movers

Moving to New Zealand is best done by having capable movers by your side. While you may be able to tackle a local move, you shouldn’t even consider attempting a DIY international relocation. The only way to ensure that both you and your items remain safe is to have experienced professionals by your side from the get-go.

Moving to New Zealand

It is simply not possible to tackle an international move without professional help.

Fortunately, finding international movers is easier than ever. It is customary to either hire movers from your current area or from the area where you plan on moving. Therefore, if you want to have an easy relocation from the US, either go for US movers or New Zealand ones. In either case, you should avoid trying to cut too many costs. International relocation is complicated, so you should accept that it is going to be costly. Ideally, you will hire cost-effective movers that will reduce the cost of moving while ensuring overall safety.

What to keep in mind

As we have mentioned before, buying a home in New Zealand can be surprisingly straightforward. But you must do the necessary research and go through the proper channels. Once you make sure that you are eligible and have the necessary funds, you can hire a realtor. With them by your side, you should find a suitable New Zealand home to move into. When it comes to international movers, try to hire them as soon as possible. Not only can they help you prepare appropriately for your relocation, but the cost of their service can vary drastically based on the timing of your relocation.

By Mary Aspen Richardson

How to Design Safe Bathrooms for the Elderly

a simple, bright bathroom design, perfect for the elderly

The main reason why older adults leave their homes is that it becomes impractical and uncomfortable for them. Tasks that were once a routine become risky and challenging things to do as we get older. Probably the most problematic room in the house becomes the bathroom. Slippery floors, tiles everywhere, and a dangerous shower/bathtub make the simple tasks very unsafe. And as we buy homes to make a lifetime commitment, it is challenging to leave it after such a long time and go live somewhere else. Luckily, you don’t have to do it. Adapting your bathroom to be a much safer place in just a few steps is possible. We prepared some tips on how to design safe bathrooms for the elderly. Hopefully, they will help designers understand the needs of older people and make it easier for their families to provide them a safe home.

Start with making the bathroom accessible

The first thing to do is make sure older people in the house can access the bathroom with ease. This means that the doors should be 80cm wide – at least. It will make it easier for those in a wheelchair or with a walker to enter the bathroom. Next, think about the doorknobs. They are usually difficult to grab, which is why lever handles are a better option – not only for your bathroom doors but all around the house. They provide a better grip and minimize the risk of the hand slipping away from it and making the person fall back. Generally, doors should be light and easy to open. Finally, consider getting a sliding door – sliding is a much simpler and safer solution and doesn’t take a lot of space.

Make enough space

If the person needs a wheelchair, it is essential to think about the space necessary to access different areas and function in them. There should be enough space for the person to turn around the wheelchair – at least 150 cm. Also, additional space underneath the sink is necessary so the wheelchair can come close enough and the person can use the sink without any troubles.

Bathroom floors that minimize the risks of falls and injuries slippery floor warning

Slippery floors are the biggest threat for those who have seeing issues or trouble walking. Therefore, to design safe bathrooms for the elderly, be sure to use tiles that have textured surfaces. They are much safer than the smooth ones as they don’t make the floor that slippery. Furthermore, try to avoid rugs that wrinkle easily, creating a tripping obstacle. Use rubbery mats instead, as they will not move due to the friction between them and the floor.

Slippery bathroom tiles are a common cause of injury.

Taking a shower – the safest way

One of the significant steps in creating or renovating a bathroom should be removing the bath and building a walk-in shower. It’s a much safer option for older people as they don’t need to lift their legs and go inside a tub. Walk-in showers are great even for those who have trouble walking, so be sure to create one with zero thresholds.

Walk-in showers are the safest option – be sure to add a seat to make showers more comfortable and easier. alt.tag: an example of how to design safe bathrooms for the elderly

an example of how to design safe bathrooms for the elderly

Shower handrails

Don’t forget one more important detail – safety handrails or grab bars. Place them on each side of the shower space, so people can hold onto them on their way in and out and prevent slipping accidents.

Shower floors

When it comes to the shower floors, it is essential to add a shower mat that will make the floors less slippery. There are other solutions you can try – anti-slip formula for tiles and adhesive threads. However, mats are a widely used and inexpensive option.

Shower seat

Another great addition to the shower would be a built-in seat. It is much easier for the elderly to take a shower in the sitting position, so they can take their time without getting tired.

A safe toilet

Sitting down and getting up is a difficulty for many seniors. Thankfully, it’s possible to simplify this process when you design safe bathrooms for the elderly. Just place the toilet slightlyA white bathroom with easy toilet access higher than usual. Also, don’t forget the handrails on both sides of the toilet. And finally, secure it both to the floor and the wall for maximum safety.

Remember: grab bars need to sustain a lot of weight, so they must be strong enough for such pressure. Avoid using classic towel racks at any cost, as this can be very risky. Use bars made of steps to support the person using them, and provide the highest security.

Declutter and organize the space

To make the bathroom practical and easy to use, simple organization methods can help you out. Ensure there’s no clutter around and that all the items such as cosmetics are placed on dedicated shelves. Remove any unnecessary items that might block the way and rugs that can be a potential tripping hazard. Also, make sure you create some easily accessible storage space for all the bits a person in their bathroom needs. These shelves or cabinets should be within reach, so there’s no need to stretch a lot or climb a stool to get something.

Remember: these senior-friendly home improvements are not only practical for your bathroom but also when you need to get your entire home ready and adapted for a senior. Organized space with practical storage solutions will make the space cleaner and simplify the daily tasks of older adults living in the house.

Invest in an accident alarm

When you design safe bathrooms for the elderly, you also need to think about the possibility of something happening. Accidents can happen even with all precautionary measures. And if they do, it is important to react as soon as possible, so investing in an alarm system can be a great option. These systems allow the person inside the bathroom to press a button and contact someone outside. These buttons should be in a place where a person can reach them, especially if they fall on the floor. Even though we’re sure our tips will make the bathroom space as secure as possible, it’s always good to think about the ‘if’ scenarios.

By Mary Aspen Richardson