Avoiding property pitfalls the focus of new guide

  • Marian Hobbs
Environment

A multi-storey development across the street, a motorway designation through the backyard, or noise from the nightclub next door - all factors that could potentially ruin the perfect property.

But, future property pitfalls can be avoided. Environment Minister Marian Hobbs today launches a new guide aimed at better informing property buyers.

"Nobody wants to find that a property they have just purchased could be affected by factors they never thought to consider," Marian Hobbs said. "Asking the right questions and doing some basic homework is the best way to avoid problems in the future."

In response to concerns from councils, who increasingly have to deal with complaints from unhappy property owners, the Ministry for the Environment has produced a simple guide for the public called Thinking of buying a property?

The guide points out a few basics, such as how a district council plan can set limits on things like the height of an extension, what you can do on your property, or how much noise you can make. It also points out how to check on what restrictions might exist that could affect a property, such as a motorway designation, heritage site or road widening area.

Often, it is the simple things that can cause the biggest concerns, Marian Hobbs said.

"For example, it wouldn't be uncommon for an apartment purchaser to find that at 5am three days a week, the nightclub next door empties several hundred bottles into a dumpster. It might not seem like a big thing - unless you're the person being woken!"

If an area is zoned commercial, or allows a nightclub to operate, the apartment owner may be able to do very little to stop the racket. Considering the noise factor before purchasing and looking at ways to address it, such as with double-glazing, or even seeking a new apartment, should mean the problem is avoided.

"We’re not trying to put people off buying houses," Marian Hobbs said. "The simple message is do some basic checking on the things that are important to you before signing up, and avoid problems in the future."

The guide is available free from the Ministry or can be downloaded from the Ministry’s website: www.mfe.govt.nz