Lifestyle Block Assessment Guide

Lifestyle Block Assessment Guide

We’ve put together a handy guide on the top 8 things you need to look into if you’re looking at buying a lifestyle block. We can provide a detailed assessment on any of our properties, digging further into all the important aspects covered here.

1. Aspect assessment

The aspect (how the land lies) of your Lifestyle Block can be all important as it is something that you are unable to change. The ideal to look for is land that faces North. Land that faces North East is probably the ultimate. The reason for this is that northerly facing land will receive maximum exposure from the sun. North Easterly in Northland is the ultimate because the prevailing winds are from the South West so your North Easterly land will be more sheltered.
As a general rule you would be wise to avoid land that is facing South West as it will be cold and exposed.
So you could say the best is 1. North East followed closely by 2. North 3. North West, 4. South, 5. South West. That is, look for land that is 1, 2 or 3 and avoid if possible 4 and 5. Obviously if land is all flat aspect is not an issue.

2. Contour (land form)

The contour of your lifestyle block is important because it is difficult and expensive to change. Flat land usually offers more land use options than hill country. Flat land will often be more fertile than hill country. On the other hand flat land does not usually offer the views that hill country offers. To some of us flat land can be boring and hill country exciting and challenging! To others flat land offers efficiency and ease of use. As a general rule flat land will be more expensive than hill country. The exception is if the hill country lifestyle block offers great views or is coastal.
Most lifestyle blocks in Northland are of the hill country variety. Of course the ideal is to have a balance of flat and hill.

3. Land Classification

The land classification system in New Zealand gives an assessment of the land according to physical properties which determine its capacity for permanent sustained production. Eight class categories are used ranging from Class 1 (versatile multiple use land, usually flat with virtually no limitations to arable use) to Class VIII (severe limitations which make it unsuitable for arable pastoral or production forestry use. Mainly high, steep, mountainous country).
A report on the limitations of your land classification can provide you with vital information as to your intended land use.

4. Soil Type

Northland has an absolute myriad of soil types, each with its own individual characteristics. The four main types found in Northland are:

  • yellow/brown earth pockets (YBE)
  • red/brown loams (RBL)
  • brown granular clays (BGC)
  • yellow brown sands and recent soils (YBS)

These four soils types occupy the following area:
YBE and podzols – 560,000ha
BGC – 240,000ha
RBL – 77,000ha
YBS and recent – 40,000ha

When choosing your lifestyle block you may wish to discuss the soil type with your Salesperson. Having a soil test done to assess the feasibility of your block is a good idea. For more detailed information you can refer to the Northland Regional Council Soil Factsheets

5. Land Cover

It is worth assessing the land cover of your lifestyle block before purchasing.
What is the predominant cover?

  • Pasture
  • Bush
  • Tree species
  • What condition is the pasture in?
  • What age and condition are the trees in?

An assessment of the current state of the land and use of your intended purchase will help you to appraise its value.

6. Water

In Northland the availability of water on your lifestyle block is a critical factor. Prolonged droughts with high temperatures can be experienced in Northland summers. Look for the current water supply on the block. Do you have a stream or creek? Is this permanent or does it stop running in the summer. Other water sources can be from a bore, dams, ponds, springs or tanks.

7. Fencing

Fencing, especially boundary fencing, is an important aspect of your assessment as to the suitability and value of your lifestyle block. How old are the boundary fences? What is their construction? A robust boundary fence shall be a minimum of 7 wires (No8 or 12½g) with 5 battens between posts. It is wise to also assess the caliber of the internal fences.

8. General

1. Improvements
– Assess and value buildings, yards and fences
2. Potential Uses
– Refer to land classification – assess specifics
3. Location
– Real estate Sales Specialist appraisal
4. Regional Economy
– Real estate Sales Specialist knowledge

If you would like to discuss your lifestyle block needs with one of our specialists please contact us.

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