Buying an apartment

Apartment living is now a reality for thousands of New Zealanders. 

One by one our city centres are being revitalised as people recognise the benefits of inner-city living; namely, no commuting and access to the best leisure facilities our cities have to offer. 

But high-rise living isn’t for everyone. There’s often a price to pay for being at the centre of things. Cramped living areas, noisy neighbours, leaky buildings, bolshy body corporates. All of a sudden that cute bungalow in the sleepy suburbs you’ve just sold doesn’t seem so bad after all, even if you did have to spend every other Saturday attached to the Flymo. 

Buying an apartment is either a very good, or a very bad, idea. If solitude, topiary and indoor Frisbee are important to you it’s a very bad idea. But if you like the prospect of low maintenance, then an apartment is the way to go. Bear in mind that generally your neighbours will be younger and multicultural. Mixing with other people is inevitable even if it is just in passing, so it helps if you are gregarious and don’t turn crimson every time you catch someone’s eye in the lift. If you have any doubts at all, perhaps try renting an apartment before making the more serious commitment to buy. 

Buying the apartment that is right for you is not dissimilar to buying the house that is right for you. You have to get out there and see what’s available to make sensible comparisons. Do not buy an apartment in a hurry. If you are going to find something special at a favourable price you need to be streetwise about the market. That can only be the case if you have viewed all available prospective options and you know comparative prices. Many apartments are priced incorrectly. Some were bought in their heyday by newbie investors at inflated prices on the basis of optimistic rent assessments and they are trying to recoup their outlay even though the market has since declined. 

Always keep in mind that one day you will have to sell this apartment. What special features does it have that will appeal to future buyers? If it is the same as all the other apartments then you have nothing to shout about when it comes time to sell. And that means you could be at the mercy of a market flooded with me-too apartments for sale. 


This is an extract from The Streetwise Home Buyer. The full chapter covers much more and you can download it below for free.

  • Who buys apartments?
  • What features to look for
  • The right neighbourhood
  • The building’s exterior
  • Inside the apartment
  • Light and ventilation
  • Outdoor areas
  • Noise
  • Different types of management
  • Buying off-plan