Checklist summary: Buying a house

A summary of key things that you or a professional should check before buying a house.

Ask the agent and the seller if there are any issues with the house.

Thoroughly check the house yourself or use the services of an appropriate professional. You should look at:

  • the roof
  • plumbing, including water pressure
  • electrical wiring
  • the piles
  • insulation (especially above ceilings where most heat escapes)
  • fences, paving and driveways
  • evidence of house movement
  • any alterations that do not appear on the plan.

Check the property for potential signs of leaking, including:

  • visible water damage
  • cracks in the external cladding
  • mould on ceilings and internal walls
  • bulging or stained walls and skirtings
  • balconies on upper floors without good drainage.

Make sure you:

  • view the property file at the local council
  • or obtain a LIM from the local council
  • engage an experienced building surveyor to report on the property
  • seek legal advice about any issues that arise in the LIM or property report
  • obtain legal advice before you sign the contract
  • don’t sign the contract until you are confident it is right for you.

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: