Things You Need to Know

Things to Know 

The following key tips and pointers come from our own staff who moved to our region and other tips that often come as a surprise to people who have not lived in New Zealand houses before.

  • Ideally the house should be north-facing in NZ, in order to catch the most sun in the day (remember this if you are moving from the other side of the world!)
  • Most NZ houses do not have double glazing or central heating, so our houses are colder than what you might be used to - hence the north facing home is preferable.
  • Most homes do however have a heat-pump or multi-fuel burner fireplace together with lovely large windows to catch the sun in the day, and thick curtains to keep the heat in at night. Most houses also have insulation in the form of "Pink Batts" - a NZ brand of thermal insulation used in ceilings and in between walls.
  • Kiwis have a habit of heating up the living room area only when its cold, and the rest of the house is kept cooler until the evening when the doors are opened for the heat to flow down
  • If the house doesn't have a heat pump, they are easy to have installed and often quite cost effective. Central heating can also be retro-fitted in many homes.
  • Schools are zoned, so it is important to consider the location of the property you are looking at in relation to the schools within that zone.
  • The cheapest properties in Dunedin and Invercargill tend to be targeted towards University students, and not for professionals and families
  • Properties are usually rented and sold unfurnished, with only a stove/oven provided (you will need to organise your own fridge/freezer, washing machine etc).
  • Sometimes you can pick up a furnished rental property (or house sit) which is helpful when your household goods are still being freighted
  • When renting a property, the landlord pays for the local body rates. You will pay for the agreed rental rate and for your own electricity and telephone/internet bills.
  • When buying a property, you will be responsible for the local body rates.
  • Visit the city council websites for further information:
  • The Consumer Build website (partnership with Department of Building and Housing) has useful information regarding important checklists when buying a house.   
  • Take your time before buying a house - get to know the city and the types of housing available and talk to your colleagues who will be happy to offer their advice too.