The New Zealand apartment buyer’s checklist
Apartments are sometimes considered lesser property than detached houses, but the fact is they’re just different. The realities of prices around the country mean that they’re the best option for countless Kiwis looking to get on the ladder. Trademe’s Property Price Index also has them increasing in value by over 20 per cent nationwide – far more than townhouses or units.
That means buying an apartment can certainly be a great idea – if you know what you’re doing.
Know what you’re buying
Because the space may be small, it’s essential that you like the way that it’s used and that it suits your preferences.
The first thing you should do when buying an apartment is to inspect it yourself. Because the space may be small, it’s essential that you like the way that it’s used and that it suits your preferences. Next, always get a professional property inspection done.
These can provide you information on the the quality of the building itself, as well as its level of light and ventilation. You’ll know if it’s leaky before you move in, or if the common areas require excess maintenance. With a professional property report you’ll be fully aware of any issues, so that you can make an informed decision when buying. Property Toolbox estimates that a full report can cost you between $450 and $1,200, but it could save you ten times that.
Know the body corporate
Most apartment buildings are managed by a body corporate – an organisation created to allow the owners to be jointly responsible for maintenance of shared facilities. When buying an apartment it’s worth researching this organisation:
- Consumer NZ recommends finding out if the body corp has a fund for maintenance,
- If there’s a permanent building manager on site at all times,
- What fees you’ll be required to pay, and what the specific rules are, and
- If you have to pay for maintenance of your own unit, or any major maintenance works.
It’s possible to request the records of all body corporate dealings and finances before buying for a small charge. This may be worth it to ensure that there have been no lawsuits or complaints filed against them, and that the body corporate fees are reasonable.
Know the developer
Lastly, if you’re buying an apartment you should always research the developer’s history. Research all of the buildings they have been involved in and if they’ve ever been bankrupt, or taken to court. Look into their financials as if they’re not secure they may not be able to finish the project and you could lose your deposit.
Most importantly, if you’re new to buying apartments make sure you get the help you need. A local real estate agent can make sure everything is above board, and that the apartment you’re buying will make a brilliant home and an even better investment.