Getting into the property market can be both exciting and overwhelming. Because there’s a lot to think about, we’ve created this handy guide so you’ll know what to expect when buying your first home.

  1. 1

    Where are you at?

    Buying a home is a big step, so now’s a good time to assess your finances, make a money plan and start thinking about:

    • Paying off any debt you have and being able to show you’re saving regularly.
    • How soon do you want to buy? Setting a date makes it easier to plan ahead.
    • Where are you looking to buy? Research a range of suburbs to get an understanding of house prices in the area.

    It's also a good time to think about your deposit. Generally, you'll need a 20% deposit to qualify for a home loan but don't be put off by the thought of pulling together all that money. We've got some tips to help you get your deposit together and you can find out if you're eligible for a KiwiSaver first home withdrawal.

  2. 2

    Learn the lingo

    You’re bound to come across some terms you haven't heard before. Our home loan jargon buster explains commonly used terms that are used a lot when buying a home, e.g. conditional approval and unconditional offer.

  3. 3

    Do your research

    It may help save you time and money and make the process smoother. Here are some ways to get started:

    • Ask family and friends about their home buying experience.
    • Use our first home buyer calculator to work out how much you may be able to borrow and compare different repayment scenarios.
    • Monitor your savings and spending to make sure you're keeping on track.
    • Set some money aside for home buying expenses like building inspections and lawyers’ fees.
  4. 4

    Talk to one of our home loan specialists

    Once you’ve done some research and planning, it’s a good time to talk with a Kiwibank Home Loan specialist. You can meet with one of our specialists at your home, at a branch or have a chat over the phone. They'll walk you through the process and ask you about your income and what deposit you have, your ideal timeframe and the suburbs and property types you’re interested in.

    They'll also be able to let you know if you’re ready to apply for a home loan now, or if you need to keep saving for a bit longer.

  5. 5

    Apply for conditional approval

    Conditional approval, sometimes referred to as pre-approval, gives you an idea of how much money you’ll be able to borrow, so you can find a property within your budget and be ready to make an offer quickly. Your home loan specialist will help you with the application and advise what you'll need to provide, such as proof of income, expenses and identification.

    Learn more about conditional approval.

  6. 6

    Searching for your first home

    With conditional approval sorted, you can continue your property hunt. We've got some handy tips on what to look for when you visit open homes.

  7. 7

    Making an offer

    Once you've found a property and you plan on making an offer or bidding at auction, share the property details with your Kiwibank Home Loan specialist to confirm how much you can offer for the particular property. They'll also discuss what you’ll need to provide before getting unconditional financing.

    Our tips on what to do before you make an offer cover property checks and inspections you might want to carry out and common conditions to include in your offer. Your property lawyer should also check the paperwork to make sure that all conditions and deadlines are clear before you sign the sale and purchase agreement. For more information on what to ask your lawyer when buying a property, visit

    When you’re ready to make an unconditional offer, there are two important things to know:

    1. If you’ve submitted a conditional offer and it’s been accepted, you’ll need to meet those conditions before your offer becomes unconditional and you can complete the purchase.
    2. If you’ve won an auction or submitted an unconditional offer, once the offer is accepted you’re required to go through with it.
  8. 8

    You’re on the home stretch

    Before settlement, speak with your home loan specialist about the different types of home loans and which home loan structure, repayment frequency and repayment amount will work best for you.

    There's a few other things to consider as you get ready for settlement:

    • If you’re using KiwiSaver funds for your deposit, arrange your KiwiSaver First Home Withdrawal with your lawyer. Aim to get your application in at least 15 working days before the date you'll need the money
    • Organise house insurance and life, living and income protection insurance if you need it
    • Sign loan documents with your lawyer
    • Book a pre-settlement inspection to make sure you’re happy with the condition of the house
    • Transfer the loan deposit into your lawyer’s trust account
    • Arrange your utilities – e.g. power and internet.
  9. 9

    The big day is here!

    Congratulations on making it to settlement day - you’re almost a homeowner! We’ve got some details on what happens on settlement day and some tips to help make the move go smoothly.

Let's get you into your first home

Our home loan specialists and tools can help you through the journey of buying your first home.

Talk to a specialist

Our home loan specialists can walk you through the process of buying a home and discuss what your options are.

Find a specialist

First home buyer calculator

Our first home buyer calculator allows you to work out how much you may be able to borrow and compare different repayment scenarios.

Calculate now

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