2 Nov 2020

What to look for when buying an apartment

From Nine To Noon, 11:49 am on 2 November 2020

You're close to buying an apartment but how to know you're choosing the right one?

Don't assume it's like buying a house, says University of Auckland lecturer Bill McKay, you'll need to do MUCH more homework.

apartment building

Photo: Scott Webb / Unsplash

Here's part one of Bill's checklist of things to think and ask about when you're apartment-hunting.

  • Listen to / read part two here

Body corporate – what are the fees, when are they due, will they change?

Building – compliance with the building code doesn't tell you much so find out:

  • whether upgrades are due
  • if there are any seismic issues, the EQC rating
  • how the building envelope is insured
  • whether your own insurance provider has any issues with the building
  • whether your bank has different deposit requirements and interest rates for an apartment (rather than a house)

Talk to other people in the building, Bill says.

"Neighbours are terrific at passing on bad news and it also gives you the opportunity to see who they are and how they seem to live."

He suggests asking them who manages the building and if they're good at fixing problems, cleaning, taking care of rubbish, etc.

Talk to the building management and find out:

  • if there are additional charges for heating and ventilation and what these are
  • what the building rules are – can you dry your clothes on your balcony? Are you allowed to double-glaze windows?
  • how easy it is to move furniture and groceries into the building - is there a dock? a loading bay? a service lift?
  • how visitors and deliveries get in – is the intercom functional and reliable?

Bill McKay is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Auckland.

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