Buying Property In New Zealand From Overseas

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fiona taylor lawyerAre you a New Zealand citizen living overseas and looking to buy property “back home”?

Overseas Investment Office Requirements (OIA)
If you are a New Zealand citizen, but live overseas, you are not subject to OIA requirements. As long as you can raise the finance to purchase, you can purchase the property.

Finance
New Zealand banks have tightened up on their lending to off-shore based buyers, but it can be possible to obtain loans from New Zealand banks. We can recommend a buyer’s agent or mortgage broker if you require assistance.

Alternatively, you can obtain finance in the country you are living in, and use that to purchase property in New Zealand (subject to that banks’ terms and conditions). You should make sure you fully understand the time it will take to transfer the money from your country to New Zealand and the fees involved in such a transaction before you start looking for property. (Yes, even in this age of Internet Banking, money transfers can still take several days)

Who Should Own the Property – You, a Family Trust or a Company?
There are numerous ways in which you might be structuring this purchase and ownership, dependent upon whether you are buying a long term investment property, a home to eventually return to New Zealand and live in (but rent in the meantime) or for some other reason.

There are varying tax implications to be considered, we suggest you contact a buying agent and accountant to structure your investment carefully for your requirements and to minimise your tax burden.

There is no stamp duty or land tax in New Zealand, however if you do not live in the property, and sell it property within two years of purchase, you may have to pay a tax on the capital gains made (brightline tax).

If you do wish to purchase the property in the name of a trust or company, it will need to be formed prior to starting the purchase process. We can assit you to set up a company or trust if needed.

A New Zealand Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number is required before purchase
If you are purchasing the property in your personal name, all the people who will be listed on the property title will need to have a New Zealand IRD Number. If a trust is purchasing the property, the trust will require an IRD number. If a company is purchasing the property, the company will need an IRD number.

Requesting an IRD number can take several weeks, so we recommend you have this sorted before you start looking for property.

House Hunting
You should make sure you start out by fully understand the buying process in New Zealand – it can be quite different from other countries (including Australia).

A New Zealand based buying agent can assist you with selecting a property at arms length and work with you to ensure all aspects of the property are suitable for you.

Buying the property
Smith & Partners will step in to assist with the actual mechanics of your purchase – checking the title, looking over LIM reports and builder’s inspection reports initially, following through to the actual conveyancing and loan documentation required.

Smith and Partners are not able to advise on the quality or type of any investment in property in New Zealand.

All documentation, from signing an Agreement for Sale and Purchase, down to mortgage documents and Authority & Instruction (A&I) can be signed remotely from wherever you are in the world, by email, sign, scan and return.

We have requirements for signing of the transfer documentation in an overseas situation, which involves witnessing by a Notary Public or local solicitor (which differs depending on what country you are in).

Loan documentation can normally be simply signed, scanned and returned to us by email.

For further advice on buying property in New Zealand from overseas as a New Zealand citizen, including recommendations for buyers agents and New Zealand accountants or to get started doing due diligence on a property you are interested in, contact property law expert, Fiona Taylor.

Fiona Taylor
Email: Fiona.taylor@smithpartners.co.nz
Phone: 09 837 6845
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