June 7 2017

More on Kiwisaver, multi offers and insulation

Here are three useful updates about topics covered in previous articles: using your Kiwisaver funds to buy your first home, buying homes in a multi offer scenario, and grants for insulation for rental properties. These are particularly relevant if you’re buying your first home, selling a property in a buoyant market, or a landlord.


How flexible are your KiwiSaver funds?

It’s well known that if you’re a first home buyer, you can use a portion of your KiwiSaver funds to purchase a house. What many people don’t know is that you can still use your KiwiSaver funds to purchase a home owned by a trust, or partly owned by a trust, or a home owned in part shares by other people, such as your parents.

As you’d suspect, there are conditions, namely you have to use the property as your primary place of residence. Talk to our property lawyers if you want to buy your first home using a trust as an ownership structure or in part shares and we’ll go over the options available to you.

What is a multi offer?

With the high demand for property, buyers are hearing the phrase ‘multi offer’ more often. There’s no need to feel confused or uncertain if you’re wanting to purchase a property where there might be a multi offer situation. Proceed as you would normally, by getting your offer prepared, checked and presented quickly.

You need to be aware though that offers aren’t necessarily presented to sellers as first in, first served. Real estate agents aren’t obliged to present offers according to a set of rules. If an agent is aware of the possibility of a multi offer situation, they may present all the offers to the seller at once, when the seller is ready to view them.

This means prospective buyers are forced to wait. You’ll also want to know what to do after investing time and money getting your offer prepared. There’s no simple solution. The only way a real estate agent can treat each purchaser fairly is by putting your offer on hold until all other prospective buyers also have prepared their offers.

In this situation, almost every property listing will be a multi offer by default. You should approach any purchase with this in mind to manage and protect your own expectations.

There is another approach, however, as real estate agents aren’t the only people who can prepare and present offers. You can instruct your lawyer to prepare an offer and present it to the seller’s lawyer, bypassing the multi offer process.

If you’re looking to buy a property and encountering multi offer situations, talk to our property lawyers for advice about how to have the best chance of succeeding with your purchase.

Can you get a grant to insulate rental properties?

Landlords should be aware that changes have been made to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986. You’re now required to install ceiling and underfloor insulation to your rental properties, where reasonably practicable, by 1 July 2019.

A limited number of grants covering 50% of the cost are available through Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes, on a first-come-first-served basis. To apply, your rental properties must be occupied by low-income tenants and not owned by a government agency. The criteria also specifies your rental property has to have been built before 2000. Also, your tenant has to have a Community Services Card and have been referred by the Ministry of Health’s Healthy Homes programme.