A Property Title Search – What Is It?

A property title search or title check is a search and check done by your property lawyer or conveyancer of the records held by Land Information NZ (LINZ) regarding a house or property.

What Can I Find Out From a Property Title Search?

A title check establishes:
  • Who the owner of the property is.
  • Type of title i.e. freehold (fee simple), cross lease, leasehold, company share or unit title.
  • Any covenants or right of ways.
  • Any easements.
  • Boundaries.
  • Any other interests in the property (e.g. mortgages)

What Do the Results of the Property Title Search All Mean?

Freehold? Cross lease? Easement? Confusing! For explanations of all of these terms – head to our definitions section.

A lot of information can be found in a title check – your lawyer or conveyancer is an expert at working out exactly what is going on and can highlight any potential issues.

A title check can bring some information to light that can really affect the price you are prepared to pay – perhaps the title type is not what you expected, or the boundaries do not correspond with the fences, or easements are a problem.

Implications of covenants or right of ways may affect your enjoyment of the house, or put a stop to plans you have for the house (extensions or additions). Therefore it is a really good idea to get a title check done before you make an offer.

Making an Unconditional Offer?

If you are buying through auction or tender getting a title check done before making you offer is especially important. Commonly, the normal vendor warranties (promises) about features of the property and the purchaser’s right to requisition (raise objections to) the title are deleted from the sale and purchase agreement in the case of auction or tender.

This means you need to get your lawyer to check the title and any other reports on the property before the auction or the lodgement of a tender as you have forgone your legal right to raise objections by signing an agreement with the vendor warrantee clause crossed out.

Property Title Search

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The Propertytoolbox Home Buyers Guide

The title is one of a few things your lawyer should check for you before you make an offer. This information is all part of the Propertytoolbox home buying guide.

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Replacing Scrim With GIB – What Does It Cost To Re-GIB?

In previous post we discussed what Scrim and Sarking is and why it should be replaced. Then we talked about just what re-GIBing is. Now we are getting down to it – the money...

What is it Going to Cost to Re-GIB – The Basics

For a straightforward room (a small double room with not too many fiddly bits!) the cost of re-lining with plasterboard (re-GIBing) depends mostly on the wall area that is being covered. It can cost upwards from $800 - $1,000 per room to get the room to a state that it is ready for painting i.e. Plasterboard put up and plastering of the joins to give a smooth finish (GIB Stopping). This price would be for a DIY job with a GIB-stopper hired in. A big factor is whether you do it yourself or hire in the professionals – this will add a lot more to the cost - and if this is the way you are going - get a few quotes.




The type of plasterboard or GIB you use can impact on the cost – GIB Standard® is the most inexpensive – if you use GIB Aqualine® in wet areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and laundry’s or GIB Noiseline® where you want noise reduction then the will cost a bit more. To find out more about the GIB products check out their website.

What is it Going to Cost to Re-GIB – Wait! There’s More!

How you prepare the room for re-GIBing can impact hugely on the cost – are you going to strip all the Scrim and Sarking off? Or just strip off the Scrim and screw Plasterboard to the old Sarking board?

Replacing Sarking with GIB - Cost to Re-GIB - Removing Sarking Boards

Removing The Sarking Boards - Some Dry Rot Exposed

Commonly the Sarking board provides a horizontal bracing element for the house – i.e. there are no Dwangs behind Scrim & Sarking walls – you will need to replace this bracing element if you remove the Scrim & Sarking completely. This is now a structural issue – don’t ignore it! It important to address properly and may involve putting in new Dwangs and/or even using a product such as GIB Braceline®.

Replacing Sarking with GIB - Cost to Re-GIB - Wall Structure After Scrim and Sarking Removed

Wall Structure Once Scrim & Sarking Removed - No Dwangs

If you do remove the Scrim and Sarking completely you never know what you are going to find. Often you find relic’s from a bygone era in the form of old coins, bottles and cutlery, but less fun is finding rot – which will need to be repaired, and the source of the rot identified and fixed, before you can re-GIB. The costs of this kind of find can add up...

Replacing Sarking with GIB - Cost to Re-GIB - Dry Rot in Wall Framing

Dry Rot & Borer Exposed

If you are planning on insulating (which is always a great idea!) this adds to the cost, and again, if you choose higher rated insulation or insulation with noise reduction properties the cost will increase.

How do you insulate if you are not removing the Sarking Board? You can take out every third board and feed the insulation in. This keeps the bracing element of the Sarking Board but allows you to insulate the wall cavity. Just remember where the missing boards are when you are screwing the GIB on!





Something that can really impact the cost of re-lining is what you decide to do with the existing covings, architraves and skirting board – can they be kept in place? Removed and reused? Or do they need to be replaced? The majority of re-GIBing situations require coving, skirting board and architraves to be removed.

Sometimes a ‘work-around’ can be arranged if you have intricate moulded covings you want keep. Re-GIBing can be done where the GIB butts up next to architraves and sits on top of skirting boards – but in most cases it is hard to get a good finish with this technique.

So replacing your Scrim and Sarking wall linings is going to take a bit of planning, and probably a bit more money than you thought - so make sure you have the time and the budget to do it properly before you start.

The Propertytoolbox Home Buyers Guide

Want more home buying info and advice? Head to our home buyers guide. With advice on all aspects of the home buying process - all you need is here.



Replacing Scrim With GIB – What Is Re-GIBing?

Last week we discussed just what Scrim & Sarking is and how to identify it. Then we talked about why GIB should be replaced. Now, before we move on to the cost of re-GIBing, we are discussing just what re-GIBing is...

What Is Relining? Or Re-GIBing?

Relining or Re-GIB is when Scrim (or any other inferior wall lining) is replaced with plasterboard. In NZ Plasterboard is commonly referred to as GIB – this is the brand name for the most commonly sold form of plasterboard. GIB has been around for a long time and is considered an iconic NZ brand.

What is GIB or Plasterboard?

Plasterboard is a rigid board which is made by casting gypsum plaster and coating with paper. All plasterboard resists fire and is the most commonly used wall board product in new builds. Current building regulations require certain specifications for wall board and fire ratings for all walls. Modern plasterboard is designed to meet these requirements.

re-GIBing - replacing scrim with GIB

Scrim and Sarking Removed - New GIB On

Once new plasterboard has been put up the final part of the re-GIBing process is GIB-stopping. GIB stopping is where the joins between the GIB sheets are plastered to give a seamless finish. While working out how to put up GIB just takes a bit of research, the right tools, planning and some muscle – GIB-stopping is a bit of an art! It pays to hire in some highly recommended GIB stopping talent for this bit.

GIB is made by Winstone Wallboards. On their website they have all the resources you need to find out about GIB and how to install it.

Re-GIBing – It’s Just a Small Part of Renovation

Re-Gibing it not just about putting up some plasterboard – it is an opportunity to sort out a lot of things in a room, when you strip off the old Scrim &/or Sarking Board you are going to get a window of opportunity to access difficult areas and usually inaccessible components of your house.

This is a great opportunity to insulate! Insulating exterior walls is a must, but even insulating interior walls with normal or sound proof insulation can improve your enjoyment of your home, keeping it warmer and quieter!

re-GIBing - replacing scrim with GIB

New Insulation & New Wiring Including CAT5

You can take the opportunity to replace old wiring in a room you are re-GIBing and even put in more plugs, light fittings and switches. What about wiring for speakers etc? And have you considered smart wiring (CAT 5)?

Next Post - Re-GIBing Scrim - What is it going to cost to re-GIB

The Propertytoolbox Home Buyers Guide

Want to find out more about how to identify problems with a house before you buy it? Check out our guide to building inspectors – or for a quick do it yourself read our house inspection tips.




Replacing Scrim With GIB – Why Should I Do It?

Last blog post we discussed just what Scrim and Sarking was and how to identify it. This week we are discussing why it should be replaced. If you want to skip right to the practicalities check out our posts on - what is re-GIBing and what will it cost to re-GIB.


What’s Wrong With Scrim and Sarking?

Scrim and Sarking is a fire hazard – is it dry and brittle – having been aging and drying within your house for nearly 100 years. Combined with aged wiring, the risk of fire, and risk or significant damage from a fire, is much higher than that of a modern home.

Scrim wall linings are also very unsuitable for the purposes of redecoration. When scrim deteriorates, it comes away from the Sarking leaving an unstable base for painting or wallpapering (particularly in room corners – this is a very tell-tale sign of Scrim).

Why Should I Re-GIB?

Insuring your home can be problematic when you have inferior wall linings. Your insurance company will ask if your house has been relined when you get insurance, they consider Scrim & Sarking wall linings an increased risk factor for damage.

If you have Scrim & Sarking wall linings, especially combined with old wiring your insurance company may not be prepared to offer you their most comprehensive insurance policy.

Replacing Scrim with GIB - Re GIBing - Why should you do it?

Sarking Boards Exposed

Replacing Scrim and Sarking - The Result

Replacing Scrim and Sarking with GIB will give you a stable, fireproof, smooth wall that when GIB Stopped and redecorated (painted or wallpapered) will give you the ability to get a high quality finish. Removing old wall linings before re-GIBing also gives you an opportunity to access and repair the wiring, and insulation a room.

So to ensure you home is safe, to be able to get a comprehensive insurance policy and to get the most benefit out of any renovating and redecorating – removing Scrim and Sarking and re-GIBing is essential.

Next Post - Replacing Scrim with GIB – What is Re-GIBing?

The Propertytoolbox Home Buyers Guide

Still on the house hunt? Check out our house buying guide – we have all sorts of tips and tricks to help you make great house buying decisions.


Replacing Scrim With GIB – What Is Scrim And Sarking?

Re-GIBing Scrim and Sarking is the Propertytoolbox topic for the next 4 blog articles. The articles will cover:

• What Scrim and Sarking is and how to identify it (that's all covered in this article)
why you should consider replacing it
what re-GIBing is
What re-GIBing costs

What is Scrim and Sarking

There are generally three types of wall lining used in New Zealand houses:

• Scrim and Sarking
• Low Density Fibreboard
• Plasterboard – GIB

We are focusing on Scrim & Sarking because this is the most problematic type of wall lining in NZ homes.


What is Scrim and Sarking

Scrim & Sarking – often just called ‘Scrim’ is a hessian or jute sacking material (Scrim) that has been tacked or stapled on to rough sawn, horizontally placed, thin wooden planks (Sarking).

Layers Of Wallpaper On Scrim

Scrim and Sarking forms the 'wall board' - to which wallpaper is then fixed. Over the years a Scrim and Sarking wall may have been covered by many layers of wallpaper and in more recent times painted. Scrim and Sarking was used commonly in houses built in the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s.

Sarking Boards Exposed - Wallpaper Layers & Scrim Partiall Stripped Away

How Do I Know if it is Scrim and Sarking?

If you suspect a house has some Scrim & Sarking wall linings i.e. It falls into the ‘late 1800’s to early 1900’s' age bracket. Here are three tests you can use to work it out:

  • The knock test - Scrim (unsurprisingly) feels like knocking on wood. Scrim is a very hard surface; the knock is hollow sounding, with the sound carrying well. It is impossible to distinguish any studs when knocking along the wall.
  • The floating wallpaper test – Scrim & Sarking is ‘finished’ by covering the Scrim with wallpaper (sometimes the wallpaper has since been painted). With age the hessian Scrim starts coming away from the Sarking and gives the impression of floating, bulging or twisting wallpaper. This is especially obvious in room corners.
  • Close inspection – With close inspection you can sometimes see rough sawn board (Sarking) or hessian (Scrim) where wallpaper is loose or has come away, or the wallpaper will look ‘textured’ as the woven hessian fabric has imprinted the wallpaper from underneath.

Close Examination - Sarking Boards, Scrim & Wallpaper

Using all or a combination of these techniques you should be able to identify Scrim & Sarking.

Next Post - Replacing Scrim with GIB – Re GIBing – Why Should I Do It?

The Propertytoolbox Home Buyers Guide

Do you think the house you are looking to buy has Scrim and Sarking wall linings? Not sure and want to find out more? Maybe a building inspector can help - and make sure to check out our ten key rules before you put in that offer. For more help, tips and tricks when you are on the house hunt, check out our house buying guide.




Insuring Your House Before Settlement

Before you even can settle on your new home you will need proof that you have house insurance. Why? In most cases you need to borrow money off a bank to buy, your bank is using the house as collateral for the loan and wants to make sure that if anything unexpected happens to the house there is insurance to cover it – they are protecting their collateral! Therefore your bank will require house insurance as a condition of your mortgage. Get your insurance organised well in advance when buying a house and get your insurance company to send a certificate with proof of cover to your lawyer. The settlement day process, and drawing down of your mortgage, cannot be done if this proof of insurance document is not available. Insurance can be a bit of a minefield and it really pays to shop around and to read the fine print of each policy carefully before choosing. Things such as market value replacement, versus sum insured replacement should be fully understood and what is covered and not covered should be worked out. What kind of insurance you choose to take out is ultimately a personal choice. The consumer website has the most comprehensive information on insurance, and even compares policies. Gradual damage is an interesting part of insurance, and it can be a real surprise as to the level of cover for this you have in your policy. Here is a great article about gradual damage and insurance. Cost of insurance can vary widely and it is a good idea to find out what insurance is the best value for money. Lately insurance premiums seem to have gone up hugely, so it may be a good time to look around at someone other than your current insurer. With insurance, the cheapest insurance is likely to be inadequate when it comes to insuring your home – so make sure you know what you want/need in your insurance policy and choose one that gives you this. Like with many things, putting some time and effort into getting familiar with house insurance will mean you don’t get any nasty surprises and you will know what you are paying for. Are you about to settle on a house? The settlement section in the Propertytoolbox house buying guide has all you need to know.

House Maintenance Budget? Costs of Home Ownership…

Before you buy a home you need to know the full cost - and we are not just talking about mortgage repayments here! Yes, the mortgage is the most obvious and high profile cost of home ownership and usually is by far the largest one. But don't forget about rates, insurances, water, repairs and maintenance!  So just how much is this all going to cost?

The mortgage is usually the first figure calculated - and often dictates what the house buying budget is for many people. The biggest thing to consider here is the potential effect of an interest rate change. Currently interest rates are low, this almost certainly means that in the future your mortgage repayments are going to be higher. A good way to see the effect a change in interest rate has on your mortgage repayment is to have a play with a mortgage calculator - put in a variety of interest rates and see the effects. Here are some statistics for average bank 2 year fixed home loan interest rates that give you some numbers to play with:

Current 2 year fixed home loan rate = 7.1%

Average home loan interest rate for last 5 years = 8.0%

Home loan interest rate mid 1998 = 10%

Home loan interest rate April 2008 = 9.6% 

Home loan interest rate May 2003 = 6.7% 

With costs such as rates, insurance, and water you will be able to find out the exact amount these will be for the first year at least. These will go up year on year, sometimes by an amount far exceeding inflation, so factor this in. If you budget for an increase of 10% every year for these bills you are unlikely to be caught short.

As a bare minimum you should allow $1,500 or better yet 0.3 - 0.5% of the value of your house per year for maintenance. This does vary widely depending on the age, size and condition of your house and the building materials used. You may not use all of this maintenance money one year, and then have major expenses the next! But it will average out over time. Maintenance cannot be avoided, so budget for it!

Something you may not have thought about is all those extra bits and pieces that you are going to need to buy for your new home - new furniture, new appliances, what about plants for the garden? And are you planning any renovations?

How much you want to spend on renovation and new things for your house and grounds is up to you, but there is no doubting you will want to spend money, so establish a budget.

So when you work out how much you can afford to pay for a house, remember to add on all those extra expenses! A good rule is to add another 20-30% to your mortgage repayments to cover rates, insurance, water, small improvements, new stuff, and repairs and maintenance.

Ultimately you will have to come up with the money for all these extra things from somewhere - so take this into account when you are working out how much you can afford in repayments.

This information is part of the Propertytoolbox mortgage & money guide - This guide contains heaps of good info about the money part of home buying. Read more here.

Does The House Need Repiling? Repiling NZ Style…

What are Piles?

Piles are wooden or concrete posts under a house that form the foundations and are what many New Zealand houses sit on. The job of the piles is to distribute the weight of the house evenly across the soil underneath, and the house construction distributes the house weight as evenly as possible over the piles, ensuring the house stands straight and square.




Over time piles can rot away, causing them to fail, uneven distribution of house weight over piles can cause uneven settling, or movement of the ground under and around piles can cause piles to move.

Repiling a house NZ Style - Not a Firm Foundation

Not a Firm Foundation

Repiling a house NZ Style - 100+ Year Old Totara Piles

100+ Year Old Totara Piles

Has the house been repiled?

If the house was built in an era that used totara piles, an a examination of the piles under the house will soon determine if repiling has happened. New piles are either concrete or tanalised (H5) pine and are easy to spot.


Make sure to check out that all the piles have been replaced. It is quite common to see that only a few piles are new, often these are the piles around the edge of the house.

Why repile?

Sometimes all the piles move, but more often different piles move to different extents. This causes the house to twist, bow, and crack, resulting in damage. The piles may have stopped moving, or may be continuing to move - this all depends on the cause of the movement. To halt ongoing damage, re-piling is necessary. If you are planning renovations, it pays to start with firm foundations or you are going to end up with an inferior result.

About repiling

Repiling involves digging new piles down to a firm base and attempting to re-align the house on this new foundation. Sometimes it is obvious that repiling work is necessary. You may find yourself walking up hill and down around a house! Usually it is a lot more subtle.

To establish if the piles are a problem and to what extent, you will need to ask the experts. A house inspector is a good start. Make sure you get a good idea as to what is caused the need for repiling – it this likely to be an ongoing issue? i.e. poor soil, ongoing subsidence, risk of landslide. Can the cause be fixed? i.e. leaking pipe, drainage issues causing water to run under the house.

Repiling - The process

Repiling is a major job and different repilers repile use different methods - some cut holes in the floor to access under the house and some lift the entire house up. The technique used depends on a variety of factors with access being a big deciding factor and personal preference and tools and equipment available to the repiler having an influence too.

Repiling a house NZ Style - Lifting up the House

Lifting up the house

Repiling a house NZ Style - Cutting the Floor to Place House Raising Jacks

Cutting up the floor to place jacks


I am repiling - What else can I do?

Repiling opens a lot of opportunities to do other things to a house, it can be moved, lifted up and another level added underneath, or shifted somewhere else completely! The access that is gained under the house is also an opportunity to do things underneath that in usual circumstances are quite difficult - like underfloor insulation and working with the plumbing and electrical systems.

Repiling a house NZ Style - Access Under the House During Repiling

Access under the house during repiling

Repiling a house NZ Style - Moving a house during repiling

This house was moved across 1m during repiling

Repiling requires a building permit - other additions and changes to the house can be added to the same permit so it pays to plan in advance exactly what you want to do with a house before you repile so all your permissions can be gained at the same time - saving money - and also allowing you to organise access under the house for other works while the repiling is happening.

How much for a repile?

If you need to repile get a repiler in for a quote. Re-piling costs vary hugely and depend on many. Repiling costs start at around $12,000 - 15,000 (for a very small house, on the flat with fantastic access) and quickly climb when you start getting into soft soils, erosion problems and difficult access.


Will The Building Inspector Spot Everything?

Building inspectors can't guarantee they will find everything wrong with a building. They are limited to a visual inspection of a building unless the owner agrees to remove such things as wall-linings or floor boards. That is unlikely, so the building inspector will only check areas of the building that have safe and unobstructed access.

An inspector can't guarantee the building meets the Building Act and/or local regulations so will not check to see if the council has issued any resource consents, building consents, code of compliance certificates, etc for any work carried out to the property. But they can identify building work that is likely to have needed a building permit.

Information about permits and consents can be found by searching the council records or ordering a Land Information Memorandum (LIM) from the council. For an additional fee, some inspectors will look at the property records held by the council and prepare a special report on the findings.

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