How To Build a House in New Zealand: A Three Stage Guide

Building a house in New Zealand

Here in New Zealand, there’s something special about having a place to call your own, and when you have the opportunity to build from scratch it’s a chance to put your ideal lifestyle on paper and see it come to life. While the actual process you’ll go through can be time-consuming or even stressful, by breaking it up into three distinct stages it’s possible to see where you stand, what you’ll need to consider and what you can expect if you decide to build.

1. Secure finances and a section

Before you can think about building or even planning, the first things you need to figure out are where your house will be built and how much you can afford to borrow. By using a mortgage calculator, you can discover how much you can afford to repay once you’ve accounted for your savings and any potential KiwiSaver funds you may choose to withdraw. 

The repayment amount will give you an indication of how much you’ll need to pay back to your lender and give you an idea of the length of the term you’ll be signing up to. With that information you can apply for pre-approval of your home loan and begin to get a clearer idea of where you can afford to live.

Factoring in things like your commute to work, the supermarket and other amenities in your area are key to getting a clear picture of how your new lifestyle may look, and when you’re confident that you’ve found the right property then you should engage a lawyer that deals with land conveyancing so you can begin to negotiate with real estate agents confidently.

2. Plan your new build

With a section in your name, now is the time to begin planning your new home. Should your section require engineering or work to level it, you may need to contact a surveyor or work with a land development consultant to prepare your site; and if you don’t have a survey plan you will need to have one drawn as part of your application to council for resource consent.

An architect or draughtsperson will be able to make the technical drawings that are your house plans, so by working with one closely you’ll be able to solve any design problems of the section before they arise and end up with a plan that effectively accommodates your lifestyle and budget.

One way to customise your home to your liking is by using our online design tool to plan the home of your dreams online. With a number of finishing options and the ability to change the layout of any of our pre-designed house plans, you’re able to see in real time how every decision affects your budget. 

With a plan and your application for consent prepared, finding the right builder to manage and undertake your build is the last thing to do before signing a contract and getting underway. It can be difficult to find a new builder halfway through a project so you should ask to see examples of their work, or get in touch with one of our consultants and learn how we can facilitate the entire process. 

3. Watch your home come to life

With everything signed off on, you can finally start to see tangible process as your new home takes shape. Along the way you can expect inspections at various points, and your builder should keep you informed of what’s happening each week.

If you haven’t made any decisions on appliances, finishing materials or paint colours, you should decide before the various tradesmen responsible for installing them start on the site. By co-ordinating the delivery of items with them and your project manager you’ll use everyone’s time effectively and avoid any situations where one tradesman is waiting on another to finish. 

The last part of the build will come when a council representative checks your home is up to standard and provides a certificate that states your home meets the code of compliance. It’s important to get signed off so that you don’t have any problems securing insurance or if you sell in the future, but a pass means your house is ready to move into – it’s all yours.


Published:  21 December 2018
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