B48 - Building a New Home
Building a new home is challenging but can be rewarding.
- comply with a range of laws and council regulations
- confirm you have the finances to cover all the costs
- find a suitable block of land to build on
- design your house
- decide how you will manage the building process, ie, will you be the project manager, employ a project manager or have the builder manage the project
- choose and engage a builder and other tradespeople.
Some sections are owned by a builder or developer, and you purchase such a section with the expectation that the builder/developer will construct your new home. Generally that
builder/developer will provide you with a choice of home designs from existing house plans. Some builders will be able to customise your new home to a certain extent, but some are
more flexible than others in terms of how much variation they are willing to accept from their standard house plans. Also, customisation often comes with extra costs.
It is also possible to purchase a vacant residential section from a non-builder and use your own designer and builder to construct your new home.
- You can customise your new home to suit your specific needs.
- A new home will generally result in few, if any, immediate maintenance concerns, assuming the home is built to a good standard by experienced professionals.
- You can anticipate having to wait at least six months for the build to be completed. If you have sold your house to finance the build, then you will need to find somewhere to
live temporarily, and you may need to put your furniture into storage.
- Building a house can be very time consuming and can sometimes be stressful.
What do I need in order to take this option?
- You need the finances to cover the build.
- An appropriate section needs to be available.
- You will need a builder who can construct the house you want.
Could this option limit my future choices?
This option may not limit your choices any more than buying an existing home. Future choices will depend on the costs of building the new home and the amount the house appreciates
in value over time.
- Talk to your bank about what finance you need and what is available to you.
- Spend time carefully developing a brief, in which you define your needs and wants - as well as your budget, before talking with a designer or builder.
- New Zealand is very vulnerable to natural events, such as floods, landslides and earthquakes. It is important to know about the land in and around the site of your new house.
You need to be sure that the section is free of problems that could be very expensive to fix or could impair your ability to build.
- Check out whether there are any covenants over the section. A covenant is registered against the land title. It imposes a legal obligation on the land purchaser to comply with
restrictions on what can be carried out on the land. These restrictions can be wideranging, covering anything from minimum house size to roof shape, building materials, paint
palette and restrictions on pets. Ask your solicitor to explain what any covenant entails so that you understand how it may impact on the size, design and construction of a new
home and what you are able to do on the section.
- Prepare estimates of likely construction costs (see below for useful free online cost calculators). To make these calculations, you will need to have a clear idea of the general
specifications for your new home. Keep in mind that most online calculators do not allow for any specialised features that you choose to include in your building, and you will need
to add such features to your estimated costs.
- Consider hiring a quantity surveyor who can provide a detailed independent estimate of the building costs, including materials and labour costs. This can be useful to get after
the house design is completed and before you tender out a building contract so that you can assess the tenders that come in against this cost estimate to see how realistic those
- You should always ensure that you use only licensed builders and other trades people.
For more information on section prices
For more information on house construction costs
For information on resilient house design and resilient sections
CRESA / Good Homes resilient guides:
For information on building on Māori land
Māori Housing network: