What do residential property lawyers do?

Buying your first home is exciting but it’s also a huge step filled with paperwork, negotiations, and complexity. Our residential property lawyers are skilled at guiding first-home buyers through the purchase of your first home. We know it’s all new to you, so we answer all your questions and provide extra support throughout the process for no extra cost.

We’ll help you understand the different aspects of financing your first home purchase – from gifts from parents, loans from parents, and parents as guarantors, Kiwisaver withdrawals, Kāinga Ora First Home Grants, Kāinga Ora First Home Loans, mortgages – including finance with the main banks or 2nd tier lenders – and whether you need a Contracting Out Agreement or Property Sharing Agreement to protect your (or your parents’) financial contributions.

We’ll help you understand the type of property you are buying – fee simple, unit title, strata title, cross lease, leasehold, and the implications – your obligations and restrictions. We’ll explain the property title and any restrictions attached – covenants, easements, etc. Plus the LIM report and its implications. Most importantly, we’ll keep you informed throughout the process, and remind you when legal requirements are due.

Why do I need a lawyer to purchase my first house?
Understanding the Legal Language

Firstly, there’s the legal jargon. A purchase agreement can feel like reading a novel in a language you don’t understand. A lawyer can translate all of this for you and ensure you know exactly what you’re signing. Make sure you get your lawyer to explain everything to you in a way you understand.

Property Checks and Clear Title

Then there’s the issue of ensuring the property has a clear title – that is, there are no legal claims against it that could disrupt your ownership down the line. We can run these checks to ensure the path is clear.

Protecting Your Interests

A lawyer is there to protect your interests. For example, we can help you understand the implications of a home inspection, assist in negotiations if any issues are found, and ensure any repairs are legally accounted for in the agreement.

Assisting with Mortgage Paperwork

If you’re taking a mortgage, there’s another batch of paperwork and terms to understand. A lawyer can help ensure that everything is in order and you’re getting a fair deal.

Managing the Transfer of Property

Finally, the legal process of transferring property – known as conveyancing – can be complex. We can manage this process, liaising with the seller’s lawyer and your bank to ensure everything goes smoothly.

A lawyer’s role in your first home-buying experience is to simplify everything, protect your interests, and ensure a smooth transaction, allowing you to focus on the joy of your new home.

Talk to us about making your home purchase easier.

Our First Home Buyer Specialists


“As a first home buyer I had no idea what to expect. AWS Legal Senior Associate Allanah Cunningham made the process easy to understand. There was consistent communication every step of the way. Allanah went above and beyond to ensure the house was secured in my name, right up until the final minute.  I could not recommend AWS enough. Supportive, compassionate and genuine throughout the whole process!”

- Emma

Allanah Cunningham and her legal exec were the most professional team to deal with during what can be a very stressful time.  Allanah and team were so excellent at translating complex legal language to simple, understandable facts.  At every single stage, I was more than kept up-to-date as well as the team making sure that my EPOAs and Will was up to date as appropriate for someone buying their first house.  Whether it is your first property and you need someone who will guide you through the house buying process with kind, thorough support; or as an investor with complex property Trusts – Allanah and team will handle it with ease.”

- Nicole

Articles and Updates

Photo of a young couple holding up a house shaped key ring with a key on it
From Dreaming to Buying: Your Fast-Track Guide with our Quick Checklist
Photo of a young couple holding up a house shaped key ring with a key on it
Changes made to First Home Grant 2022
People with a contract
Purchasing a Property with Family or Friends
Aerial view of a culdesac
Land Covenants and what you need to know about them
Photo of house being built - thumbnail
Buying to build – Tips to get it right
Houses with a shared driveway
What effect do easements have when buying land?

Find Us

80 Don Street, Invercargill
PO Box 1207, Invercargill 9840
Level 2, The Forge, Athol Street, Queenstown
PO Box 1322, Queenstown, 9348
Level 1, 77 Centennial Avenue, Alexandra, 9340
PO Box 268 Alexandra 9320
270 Great North Road, Winton 9720
PO Box 14 Winton 9741
11 Bowler Avenue, Gore 9710
29 Luxmore Drive, Te Anau 9600

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