House Buying Process

21 April 2011

Are you just about to buy a house that you've fallen in love with? Have you really checked it out? Buying the property of your dreams could turn into a bit of a nightmare if you haven't done all your homework.

Make sure you do your homework before buying a house

Make sure you do your homework before buying a house

Council City Planner Julia Forsyth says while it may not be the most exciting homework you'll ever do, it's probably some of the most important.

"We can help you with this. We can provide a lot of useful information about the house you want to buy, and also the land, to help you make an informed decision."

We hold planning and building information on most of the city's properties. You can get this information in a LIM (land information memorandum) report. A LIM for a residential property costs $306.50.

The reports can tell you whether any alterations to the house have a building consent (complications with this can hinder buying and selling - and insuring - a property), whether the land is prone to slipping or potential flooding, and the location of stormwater and sewerage drains.

It's also important to consult our District Plan - the city's planning rulebook. This sets out the various zones around the city and the kind of activities that can take place in each one.

Julia says that because some people may not have been aware of what's permitted in their zone or the one next to them, they've had an unpleasant surprise a few years down the line after buying a property.

"We're not trying to scare people," says Julia. "There are about 60,000 residential properties in Wellington City, and only a fraction of owners have ever had a problem.

"However, it could be that you've bought a suburban house on the edge of a zone that's designated for residential housing, but also right next to one that's designated for commercial use. If, in that case, someone has plans to place a commercial development next to your house, it's quite possible that you won't be able to stop or influence it.

"Similarly, if you're planning to buy a nice apartment in town with a stunning harbour view, it would pay to really thoroughly check if there are any plans for high-rise development next door."

To find out if there are plans for something to be built next door, phone our city planners on (04) 801 3590.

"Maybe you want to live in a really quiet area that has no commercial activity nearby, or you want to confirm that the green open space next to you is conservation land rather than private property. Either way - our District Plan maps have all the information."

Wellington City's District Plan is available on this website, or you can phone (04) 801 3590 to talk to one of our planners.

District Plan

If you need help interpreting the District Plan maps or rules, feel free to pop in to our first-floor reception at the Council offices on Wakefield Street and ask to speak to a planner - brief enquiries only please.