5 things to consider when buying a lifestyle property
November 2022

5 things to consider when buying a lifestyle property

If you’re dreaming of a new view, maybe making a move to a lifestyle block in 2023 is the outlook for you.

As your very own large slice of paradise, lifestyle blocks can be a wonderful place to call home - with plenty of space to set up a lifestyle that suits you and your family. Whether that includes tending to livestock, growing your own fruit trees and vegetables, escaping from the hustle and bustle of the city - or all of the above - it’s hard not to get caught up in the idea of what could be a splendid change of pace and scenery.

However, like any relocation, there’s plenty of things to consider. From understanding the realities of life on a block, to getting clear on all the ‘nitty-gritty’s’ of buying a lifestyle property, it’s important that you set yourself up for the best possible move.

To get started, here’s five things to put at the top of your list:

  1. What are your reasons for moving?

Before you begin your search for a lifestyle property, it’s important to have a good understanding of why you’re wanting to move. This will set you up with a foundation for all your decisions and help to narrow down your search to only properties that fit the bill.

Do you want to work on the land and make an income from it, or just have it as a hobby outside of your job? Remember that having animals isn’t always a given, there could be restrictions on the land use that don’t permit livestock - which could pause your plans for a boutique alpaca farm.

Know what kind of lifestyle you’re ideally looking for, the requirements you need to make this suit you, and work backwards from there.  

  1. Decide on size and location

On average, lifestyle blocks typically sit on around four hectares (10 acres), which is certainly a sizable piece of land. But of course they do come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Understand your requirements on the size of the land that will support the activities you’re going to get stuck into, and then you can have some fun weighing up the various locations you might like to include in your search. Here in New Zealand there’s an abundance of regions that offer all sorts of added benefits to life on the land, and this is certainly a time you can have your pick of the bunch!  

Don’t forget to also consider things such as soil type, land contour, sheds and facilities, and whether you want an established house or if you’d prefer to build new.

  1. Be realistic about the practicalities

While there is plenty of excitement to be had when thinking about a whole new lifestyle, it's essential to put your ‘sensible hat’ on. Use this to cover off things such as jobs and commutes, schooling and school buses, travelling, and distance to amenities. You may even need to include things such as phone coverage!

Try not to underestimate the work required to maintain a lifestyle block – from mowing the lawn to feeding the animals, and be willing to learn all about the uniqueness of rural life.

  1. Do your due diligence

Buying a lifestyle block is different to buying a typical residential property. You’ll become well-versed in understanding words like land covenants and easements, which covers conditions that may restrict use of the land, and things such as water supply, power and access permissions.  

Lending can be harder to come by for lifestyle blocks*, in that banks don’t tend to give a pre-approval for any property you want to make an offer on - they’ll want to check each one individually. You might also find bare land requires a higher deposit too.

It’s also important to find out whether GST applies to the property you’re interested in - as some do come with a price tag that doesn’t include GST. Make sure you talk to your lawyer or account to understand what tax implications this has for you and your finances.

Lastly, check out the neighbours. What type of rural activities or agricultural businesses do they use their property for, and could it impact on the peace and quiet you’re hoping to enjoy?

  1. Future plans and aspirations

From subdividing to establishing a new business once you’re settled in, think about how you might like to be using the block in five to 10 years’ time. You may wish to make improvements, build new infrastructure, or subdivide the land and being able to do that could depend on zoning (and of course those all-important land covenants and easements).

It would certainly be frustrating to move into your new lifestyle property and then realise that the plans you had aren’t possible.

There are many things to think about when considering a move to a lifestyle block, and this is only the starting point. Our salespeople at PGG Wrightson Real Estate are specialists when it comes to purchasing lifestyle property. If you’re interested in learning more about taking the leap to the country - we can help.

Contact a PGG Wrightson Real Estate office near you today, it could be your first step towards an exciting, new view in 2023!

Tips and tricks

To make sure you get the best result from your lifestyle property search, follow these golden rules:

  • Have a realistic idea of how you will live on the lifestyle property so you can find a block that suits you and your needs.
  • Try not to get too caught up in all the pros, consider the practical aspects of what you’re buying, along with the adjustments you’ll have to make in your life. Are you happy to compromise?
  • Not sure what impact covenants, easements and GST could have on your purchase? Make sure you partner with someone who can explain those implications to you.
  • Look beyond the gate to see what types of properties surround you - what the neighbours get up to is their business, but it could affect the way you want to live your life.


*Reference https://www.trademe.co.nz/c/property/article/why-lifestyle-properties-suit-first-home-buyers-just-fine


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