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Accommodation
 for Migrants
in New Zealand

For those people who are immigrating to New Zealand (which means you have been granted a permanent residency visa), depending of where you are coming from, you may go through a period of discovery and adaptation until you fully understand the system of renting or buying a house. But unless you already have a place you can stay when you arrive, such as friends and family, you will need to find a temporary place until you can organise your life (e.g. opening a bank account, buy a car, etc.), and then you can start thinking about buying or renting a house. We found the best option for this transition period, as its fully contained and you can bargain with the owner for a cheaper price for longer stays. In our case for example we stayed for 30 days and were able to get the price down from nz$ 70 to nz$ 45 for a family of 4.

Renting is a great option to give time for the person to get to know the city and the suburbs, and for those who do not have enough money to get finance for a house (mortgage). An important step in renting a place is being able to present references to the Normally they like to see NZ references but since you may not have them as you have just arrived, there are other things that you can do. For example, we solved the problem of not having any NZ references by getting a reference from the motel owner stating that we had stayed for X time and that we always paid on time, and had made no damage etc. The other thing we did was provided the Real Estate with a bank statement showing that we would be able to pay the rent. Not sure which one of those things spoke louder but we were accepted to rent a house

There are normally two situations when buying a house. The first case is you may have the money in your hand and you are not going to need financing from the bank. In this case you only need to find a property that you like, and you can buy it straight out.The second case is when the person only has enough money to put a deposit for a house and will need financing from the bank to help with the rest of the money (mortgage). This can prove a little complicated since you have no credit history in NZ. To solve this problem, one thing you could do is to get a job which obliviously pays enough so you would be able to pay for the mortgage and for other living costs, and to get a letter form the employer stating that they guarantee your employment for a certain period, which can be used as prove you will be able to pay the bank. The bank can lend up to 90% of the value, the other 10% will need to come from you. But in the case you have 50% of the total value for example, you may find that the bank may lend the rest, without the need of prove of employment, since if you are unable to pay the mortgage the bank can sell the house and keep your 50%. But of course if it comes to that point you can discuss with the bank some form of late payment or maybe putting the house on the market yourself. But of course if the house has not valued anything in that time you will still owe the bank. Read more about buying a house in New Zealand

Analysing our situation: With time we discovered a great mistake that we made, which was to rent a house for too long (2 years), instead of in the second month deciding to buy a house. In these two years the house valued by 20% per year, and instead of paying for our own house, we were giving our money away (well we were paying for someone elseís house). We kept a great deal of the money we had, and could have used as a deposit for a house, to open a business. But only realised later that a business doesnít not have the same net profit to what a house can value, and that is why after all, the number one investment made by the kiwis. In this little mistake that we made we lost, or lost the opportunity to earn around 50 grand, which ended up in the proprietorís pocket. That is why we advise those who are immigrating to buy a house as soon as possible, but of course donít ever rush it, as it is a big investment. Make sure you know where you want to live and seek professional advice. Make sure that if you are getting financing from the bank to have a reliable employment so that you are able to pay the mortgage. Also keep in mind that at any moment your house may value, you may be able to sell it, pay the mortgage off, and still have a bigger bank account. You live and learn.

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