Retirement village life

The upside (and downside) of downsizing

New Zealand’s ageing population has created a boom for retirement villages, with record numbers being developed. For many looking to retire or slow down, retirement village living is attractive – and it’s not hard to see why. A new apartment or cottage in a secure, well-maintained environment, offering a lock-up-and-leave lifestyle, and providing resort-like facilities such as cafes, gyms, pools, bowling greens, libraries and men’s sheds can be very appealing.

Many clients tell us how happy they are to have made the move, some even say they wish they had done it sooner, but retirement village living is not for everyone. It’s important to think carefully about what this move means for you – both financially, and in terms of your current and future needs.

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Property briefs

The agreement for sale and purchase

Checking the conditions

Given the significant financial commitment involved in purchasing a property, you want to make sure your investment is sound. One way of ensuring that a property is right for you is to include some conditions in your agreement for sale and purchase. If you do so, the purchase will only go ahead if your conditions are met. An agreement with no conditions included is ‘unconditional’ and you are obliged to complete the purchase once the agreement is signed.

Some common conditions that can be included in an agreement are conditions that give you time to sell your existing property, check what restrictions there are on the property’s title, or get a building report before the agreement becomes unconditional.

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Buying a cross lease property

Quite different from a fee simple title

New Zealanders love to talk about property. There are a multitude of topics relating to property that Kiwis have an intimate knowledge and understanding about which form the topic of water cooler and dinner conversation. The cross lease is just one of those many topics of conversation.

Traditional land ownership model

When you’re considering buying a house, you don’t envisage a cross lease form of ownership. You think of owning your own slice of land, subject only to the laws of New Zealand, and what your title says you can and can’t do. This form of ownership is called a fee simple title.

A cross lease is not the same as a fee simple title.

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Changes affecting every buyer of residential land

Overseas Investment Amendment Act 2018 now in force

We covered the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill in Property Speaking’s Spring 2018 edition. The Bill has become law and is now the Overseas Investment Amendment Act 2018 (the OIA Act). It has been in force since 22 October.

The implication for you is that when you next buy residential property, there will be another layer of compliance to be completed before your property purchase goes through.

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Private land with public access

How is access granted?

Our ability to access the ‘great outdoors’ in New Zealand is seen as something of a citizen’s right. At times, however, It does conflict with the rights of private landowners when, in order to access the great outdoors, there is a need to cross their private land first.

The question of public access over private land has recently been becoming more of an issue. In particular, groups who are advocating for that access see the acquisition of private land by overseas people as an opportunity to gain more formal access over private land. Historically, New Zealanders have enjoyed a reasonably significant amount of access over private land – often based around relatively informal arrangements.

Public access over private land is a complex topic. This article gives you some background to the law relating to the rights of private landowners.

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Property Briefs

Warmer homes for Kiwis

Low-income homeowners or homeowners in low-income areas could be eligible for the new government grant to assist in keeping their homes warm in winter.

On 1 July 2018 the new four-year government program, Warmer Kiwi Homes, came into effect. Under this initiative the government will cover up to two-thirds of the cost of underfloor and ceiling insulation or, if you have a concrete floor, ground vapour barriers. Warmer Kiwi Homes only applies to homeowners who have a Community Services Card, however, funding help no longer stretches to landlords.

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The great lawyers’ fee debate

Lawyers’ fees are often a difficult subject to discuss. They shouldn’t be.

When setting a fee we need to consider many things but, ultimately, the fee we charge to you must be fair and reasonable – for us both. We need to be paid for the expertise we give to provide you with a trouble-free property transaction and you need to know what we do to ensure this happens for you.

Remember to ask us for a GST-inclusive cost estimate. Our cost estimate will usually have three components:

  1. Our fee
  2. The disbursement cost, and
  3. Office services charge.

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Business Briefs

Is your business infringing existing intellectual property rights? Do your homework.

A trade mark can be a valuable asset which can help your business to develop a reputation in the market and distinguish your goods and/or services from others. It’s risky, however, to not consider existing third party intellectual property rights before you start to trade.

There would be nothing worse than finding the perfect location, deciding on a business name and launching into trading, only to receive a letter six months later to say that your business is infringing existing third party intellectual property rights, and that you must stop using it immediately. In most situations the only way forward is to re-brand and potentially lose your existing goodwill and customer recognition.

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Purchasing from a developer who isn’t a builder – what are the pitfalls?

One of the increasingly popular options for purchasing a new house is to buy from a property developer who may not have actually built the house. Contract builders are brought in to construct new homes in subdivisions; the developer then sells on. This can result in a nice new house at a reasonable price.

However, there are risks associated with this type of purchase about which many people are not aware. Some of these risks can be mitigated with sensible contractual protection built in, others are simply risks that you can’t reduce.

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Pre-purchase inspections – what you can object to and what you can’t

The final step before you settle your property purchase is to undertake a ‘pre-purchase inspection’. This gives you the right (under the contract you signed) to inspect the property one last time and raise any last-minute issues about the property with the real estate agent and with us before settlement.

Having a pre-purchase inspection is not, however, the right time to try to negotiate a price reduction, or to attempt to raise new issues about the property.

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