16 Nov 2020

What to look for when buying an apartment

From Nine To Noon, 11:52 am on 16 November 2020

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

Here's part two of University of Auckland lecturer Bill McKay's checklist of things to think and ask about when you're apartment-hunting.


Photo: Public domain

  • Listen to / read part one here.

Design - People often buy an apartment "off the plans" but these get simplified in real estate ads and brochures, Bill says.

Before sealing the deal, get a building surveyor to look at the architectural plans and the cladding system of the whole apartment building.

Keep in mind the views and access to direct sunlight your apartment may have are not protected - "Be aware of what might be built after your [apartment]."

Noise - this is the most common gripe Bill hears from people who've recently moved into apartments.

  • Find our specifications and orientation of your specific apartment and check out the noise levels onsite at different times of day and night.
  • Look at what people are doing on their balconies elsewhere in the building. If they hang out there, will noise be an issue?
  • Noise can travel upwards very easily from a restaurant or pub at the bottom of the building. Also find out about nearby street cleaning, rubbish collection and buses running through the night.
  • Think about the layout of your future neighbours' apartments as well as your own - when you're lying in bed is there a flushing toilet or a TV on the other side of the wall? If so, wardrobes and bookshelves can be quite helpful at stopping noise transmission between walls.

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