If you’re thinking about buying your first home and have been a member of KiwiSaver for at least three years, you’ll know that you may be eligible to put your KiwiSaver funds towards the purchase.
Knowing which step to take at each stage of the purchase process can be confusing, so we’ve put together a step-by-step guide for first home buyers wanting to withdraw their KiwiSaver.
1. Confirm your eligibility for a KiwiSaver first-home withdrawal
You may be eligible to withdraw KiwiSaver funds for your first home if you meet all of the following criteria:
- You have been a member of KiwiSaver for at least three years
- You have never owned a house or land
- The house or section you are planning to purchase is located in New Zealand
- If it is land you are purchasing, you intend to build on it
- You intend for the house or section to be your main home and you plan to live in it for at least six months
- It is the first time you’ve made a KiwiSaver withdrawal to purchase a home
If you meet the criteria above, your first step should be to approach your KiwiSaver scheme provider and request an eligibility letter and a first home withdrawal application form.
This letter will confirm your eligibility and provide an estimate of the amount you are eligible to withdraw. You can then provide the eligibility letter to your bank manager or mortgage broker, who will use it to help you get pre-approval for a home loan.
2. Check if you qualify for a HomeStart grant
In addition to the first-home fund withdrawal, KiwiSaver members may also qualify for a HomeStart grant from Housing New Zealand. The HomeStart grant involves Housing NZ paying you a grant for the home, additional to the funds coming from your personal KiwiSaver account.
It is possible to apply for, and receive, both the KiwiSaver first-home withdrawal and the HomeStart grant. Alternatively, it is possible to be eligible to receive one but not the other.
You can apply for a HomeStart grant or pre-approval for a grant from the Housing NZ website.
If you haven’t yet found a property and would simply like to check if you are likely to qualify for a grant, you can apply for pre-approval. If a pre-approval is granted, it will be valid for 180 days. If the pre-approval expires before you make a purchase, you will need to re-apply.
You can also apply for a HomeStart grant with a specific property in mind, however it’s important to note that Housing NZ requires applications to be sent at least 20 working days before settlement.
If you sign a sale and purchase agreement that is conditional on the grant being approved, you will need to apply for the grant at least 10 working days before the agreement is due to go unconditional.
3. Apply for KiwiSaver first-home withdrawal
Once you have found the property you would like to buy, it’s important to apply for your first-home withdrawal as soon as possible.
Although you can use your KiwiSaver funds for either the deposit or for settlement, payment of the deposit will usually fall due before your KiwiSaver application can be processed. Therefore, it is crucial that you get your application in well before any payments that you want to use your KiwiSaver for are due.
To apply, you need to complete the first-home withdrawal application form provided to you by your KiwiSaver scheme provider. We recommend that you complete the form with your solicitor’s assistance.
You can apply to withdraw as much or as little of your KiwiSaver funds as you like, provided that $1,000.00 stays in the account.
Each KiwiSaver scheme has different rules around purchasing in your trust or your company. Please check this with your provider directly, as many scheme providers will only allow you to purchase in your personal capacity.
You must ensure you return the application form, together with any required documents, to your KiwiSaver scheme provider at least 15-20 days before payment is due. This will ensure that it can be processed in plenty of time before payment needs to be made.
On or before settlement day, the funds will be paid to your solicitor’s law firm trust account and your solicitor will transfer the funds to the vendor.
This article is brief and general in nature. You should not treat this article as legal advice and should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this article. Armstrong Murray accepts no liability for losses suffered by any person or organisation who may rely directly or indirectly on this article.