First Home Buyers

Buying your first home is exciting – but getting the financial stuff right can be daunting.

Get a preapproval

A preapproval means you know how much the bank is prepared to lend to you based on your savings and income. It also speeds up the process when you’ve found a house to buy. You can also get an idea of your borrowing power using our handy mortgage calculator.

You do need to understand any conditions attached to the preapproval and we can help explain those thoroughly.

What’s important to the bank?

There are several things mortgage providers will look at when assessing your home loan application, including your credit rating and your financial history.

Each lender has their own criteria that they assess against – some are more favourable than others – which is why it’s helpful to use a mortgage adviser who can guide you to the best fit.

One of the most important factors is your ability to repay the loan. Your income and expenses are both assessed and the bank will consider how much free cash you have at the end of the month to cover a loan payment, after you’ve paid your other expenses. Keeping your spending low in the 3 months prior to application helps.

Sort your other debt early! Hire purchases, car loans, store cards, credit card debt, student loans – all have an impact on how much a bank will lend. Sometimes it’s enough to stop them approving an offer.

Banks are wary of people with poor credit, however, you might still have options with a non-bank lender – we can help if this is the case.

It’s location, it’s construction quality and condition and age – all are factors that the bank will consider.

Getting the deposit together

Much sure you’ve paid off any debt first (there’s no point in saving if you’re paying a high rate of interest on a credit card).

If you’ve been contributing for over 3 years, you may be able to use some of your KiwiSaver money towards your deposit (in some situations, you can even use it if you’ve previously owned a home). You can use employee and employer contributions and tax credits but you can’t use the $1,000 kickstart. Using your KiwiSaver is a great option to get your deposit together – it’s something we do all the time and can help you with, regardless of where your KiwiSaver is.

If you’re planning on buying your first home as an investment property and don’t intend to live in it, then you won’t be able to use your KiwiSaver savings. You might want to look at the mortgages for investment properties page. 

The KiwiSaver HomeStart grant might also provide some money. Certain criteria apply (including maximum household income and minimum deposit amounts. You can read more info here.

There are three main ways family can help:

  • Gift you the money
  • Loan you the money – ideally with a lean agreement in place to protect everyone
  • Act as a guarantor for some or all of your loan. Some banks have a particular type of loan that makes this arrangement easier.

First Home Loans are offered by selected banks and are underwritten by Kāinga Ora. This means you might need as little as 5% deposit. However the criteria are quite restrictive and we’d encourage you to read more here.

Choosing the mortgage structure

Choosing the right structure for your mortgage is really important. Fixed or Floating? Revolving Credit or Table Loan? And what even is an Offset Loan? We know it’s confusing which is why we’ve got a whole page dedicated to answering these questions – but more importantly, we’ll help work out what’s right for you.

Why use a mortgage adviser – why not just go to the bank?

Best Interest Rates

We know the best interest rates and criteria for different banks and non-bank lenders, and we negotiate for you.


We help guide you the whole process of getting your first mortgage. We find the best rate for you, help with the paperwork and advise you how to best structure the mortgage. All at no cost.


Your bank might have turned you down – but it’s still possible that another bank might say yes.

What will it cost?

Nothing! For most clients there is no charge. The bank pays us (because it saves them having to do the paperwork that we take care of). The only time you’ll pay a fee is if we have to use a non-bank finance company – but we’ll tell you well in advance before you’re committed to anything.

Do I need to have found a house before I contact a mortgage adviser?

No – in fact it’s better if you do it before you start looking!

What’s involved with talking to Castle Trust about my mortgage?

Completing our online application form gives us the information we need to be able to give you feedback on your mortgage prospects, and the amount you could potentially borrow.

We’ll then have a phone discussion, zoom call or in person meeting (whichever you prefer) to talk you through your options and answer any questions you might have.

Once you're ready, we'll submit your application for pre-approval to the bank.

With your preapproval in hand, you can then go out and find your new home!

Once you’ve found the house you want to buy, we’ll help you with the purchase process and arranging your finance – making sure you’ve got the best interest rate and mortgage structure to suit your needs.

Expert Mortgage Advice

Stuart Pope is our specialist Mortgage Adviser. Stuart has 20 years experience as a mortgage broker based in Nelson, and has both personal and professional experience building up property investment portfolios including residential and commercial properties.