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Buyer Checklist: Affordability, finance, size, lawyers, brokers and purchasing agreements are all factors that need to be included when getting the best out of your apartment purchase.

6 points:

  1. Purpose – figuring out what you are trying to achieve? Is the apartment to live in? or gain income?
  2. Finance – What affordability capabilities do you have? Getting a broker is recommended by us over the bank
  3. Criteria – How much, space, bedrooms etc. do you require.
  4. Questions – Once you have criteria you will have an idea of what questions to be asking your agent
  5. Support – What professionals do you need to achieve buying your property? i.e. lawyers
  6. Conditions – what conditions are you going to put in place when        signing an agreement?  Your agent and lawyer can assist you with this


Good day, Andrew Murray here from the Apartment Specialists with an apartment buyer checklist. If you follow these six points, you can’t go wrong.

Number one is finding out your purpose. Now this is really important. What I mean by this is: “What is your focus on?” “What do you want to achieve?” Is it capital gain? Is it income your main driver, like the rent minus expenses? Are you an owner-occupier? Are you looking for a good location? Do you have kids or is it more about lifestyle? Where you’re not too concerned about capital gains? So, that’s where leaseholders is a very good option.

Are you high risk, where you’re looking at leaky buildings? Do you have access to the construction industry?  So, that is really, really important that you need to figure out, because that enables you to determine what kind of apartments you are looking for.

Then you have number two which is: What are your constraints? So this will be regarding your finance. What is your budget? Are you a cash buyer? Have you actually figured out what you can afford? How big is your deposit? This is where you go to your bank or your broker. And I actually highly advise a broker because they will choose the best bank for your situation. For example, the best rates, lending criteria and the size.

Number three is all about criteria. So having your purpose figured out, let us say it is capital gain and so you have done the finance. You know you can spend up to $600,000. This is starting to give you criteria and what it does is lead you to questions, because there are over 900 apartments on the market. This is always changing but there are a lot more than houses and there is so much choice. You need the criteria to get these basically 1,000 apartments down to these 15, 20 that you are actually looking at and then go through and do your research.

Let us go to number four and I just touched on this before. Now, this criteria is going to give you the questions to ask the real estate agent. When you inquire on that listing, you are going to say, “Okay, how big is it?” or “What’s the earthquake rating?” or “Obviously this is two bedrooms. It’s got another room, is that big enough for a third bedroom?” or “Has it got one car park? Okay, it’s got no car parks, can car parks be rented in the building?”

Now all kinds of questions and that is really important because this will get you down to, basically, ten questions that will help you whittle down that list. This is to get the appropriate properties that you will need to go and look at it.

Number five and this is really important, because a lot of people don’t actually do this one until the last minute. It’s something that I can actually recommend you in regards to different professionals, whether it is building inspectors, lawyers, or accountants. But you need professionals to help you get the best apartment.

The most important one here is your lawyer, because your lawyer will probably be the one reading through those body corporate minutes. And that condition you’ve put it in. They are going to be checking those extraordinary general meeting minutes. They will also be helping you make sure that you are not buying into a building that is problematic. So, make sure you’ve got your professionals that are going to support what you have chosen.

Then we go to number six, which is the last one condition. Obviously, a lawyer will help you out with this, but also see the four conditions. I’ll put in a podcast; basically four conditions every buyer should use and this is where you are putting in conditions to enable you to do the research on. So, you will know if the apartment that you have chosen suits your purpose.To make sure that it is a safe one, a good one, and you’re going to prosper from it regardless.

I hope that helps. Feel free to go through our other podcasts and obviously search the other ones, and especially Buyer Type. If you are a bit confused on purpose, look under “What Kind of Buyer Are You?” and that podcast should help you figure that out your category.

If you have any questions, just flick me an email or any of the staff an email. You can send it to me on andrew@apartmentspecialists.co.nz.

Cheers, bye!


This purchase is where the focus is to have a better lifestyle and you would like to free up capital to either spend it other investments for example rental apartments or use it to enjoy life like travelling and adventure.

Leasehold apartments are often spacious with high end finishing’s and a view.


Buyer type number four – Lifestyle. This is where capital gain is not the focus of your purchase. It is maximising your lifestyle. Whether it be how you live it, and/or having a better life in general. For example, you are being able to travel and enjoy your life through freeing up capital. So, what I mean by this is where leasehold is an actual viable option.

Now, leasehold gets a huge amount of bash in the press and amongst other purchasers because they have been told, “Avoid leasehold.” But the thing is, leasehold does suit a certain type of purchaser.

Obviously, the purchaser who is not concerned about capital gain, but they are concerned about freeing up capital, either to spend it in other ways where they can get a better return. That is to make more money or to free up to enjoy your lifestyle so it is not tied up in a property or a business.

You can travel more and not have it all tied up and underneath their feet. For example, let us say I take my parents and pretend that they have got one home. You look at their first home they purchased for $176,000 in 1987. And now, that is worth 2.5 million dollars. Yet, if they just had that home and they stopped working. They are what is called asset rich, cash poor folks. So, they have got nothing. But yes, they have got a lot on paper.

Now they are bound to enjoy their life more and live a good lifestyle, it would be to sell that home and release the money. Go buy a leasehold property for a couple of hundred thousand dollars with a great lifestyle, understanding there is high outgoings but then there is also outgoings when you have got a home anywhere. If you release all that capital to be able to go on holidays, go on good trips, probably invest in property that is purely income based.

A good example is when you buy a small student apartment which is freehold and they can live off the rent, or help pay the expenses for the leasehold apartment. That kind of thing. So, that is the market where lifestyle depicts what you purchase. It is where you have got to be looking at leasehold and you are going to be, “Okay, what is the best lifestyle I want to live?” And look at also what leasehold actually has the lowest costs.

When I am talking about lifestyle, that narrows down to what you are looking for. The thing is, if you looked for that, you know that a couple of hundred thousand dollars in the freehold market and, I could not see my parents living in a two bedroom, 50 square metre apartment. They could not really invite their friends around for dinner. My mum would be, to be honest, embarrassed.

I mean, she is in her 60’s and that is buyer type number four and it is a small segment of market, but it is actually rare that leasehold suits. I hope that helps.

Next one, I am going to be talking about is an owner occupier. There are different types like high level, medium level, and low level.


Apartment Specialists Podcast No: 119


What is the essence of a building report when you buy an apartment? Why do you need to look at it? What do they do? Watch this podcast to know the answers.


Andrew Murray here from Apartment Specialists. Today we will be talking about “Building Inspections.” If you have bought an apartment and you want to get a building inspection.  I am just going to run you through a typical example. I have taken out the names, address and all the logos of the company. To give you, basically, the essence of what is in a building report when you buy an apartment.  I will just take you down. Normally, you would obviously have the address here and obviously the time and the weather.

It was raining when they did the report, so that was taken into account. I will go briefly through it but  if  they are looking at the building, also the structure and the cladding, they will also be looking at the type of the building and they will be grading it. And they will look at the cladding, because they have a cavity system – all that kind of thing.

Here you can see pictures of the building and they comment on it: “A multi-level apartment complex. Appears to be constructed of solid concrete and aluminium joinery. The concrete exterior appears to have various detailing and features. The ground floor has a small flat roof over it, which is clad in waterproofing membrane system.” What they do is, they then look on the roof as they look around the areas as well as the cladding. To look at for example, this membrane situation.

Therefore, seeing that they can see on top of the roof. You can see here where you have got the membrane and where it joins. They will also look at that and they can see here where there has been water pooling. Obviously, it was wet and it just rained. They talk about that and they look into it and see, “Is that membrane performing? Are there any visual signs of any water ingress or that membrane failing?” Bear in mind that they can’t actually dig into it, but the best they can do are – the people you hire would generally be experts, which is good.

What they also do then is, they go into the apartment- and they have different ways of looking at the apartment. Obviously, they will look at it and take photos. They will check if there is any obvious water damage. So you as the purchaser, would be able to do that. They come in with moisture readings and all sort of infra-red camera kind of things. You can see this here where, obviously, the red is showing the moisture  and all that kind of thing.

In this portion it says, “The thermal image shows no thermal anomalies.” Moisture readings taken in this area  dry at time of inspection, even though it was a very wet day.” You can see the window here and you can see where the photo without the moisture gun or photographer . They have taken photos there and you can see there’s no real moisture at all. That is pretty cool and you can actually see visual images of what it all looks like.

They will also use what is called a moisture reading where I see them doing it. They put it against that metal thing there, so it will actually give you a reading. If it’s above 40, then that’s seen as damp. If it’s above 80,  then it’s seen as wet. They look especially around all the windows and the showers and everything where water would be. You’ll see how high that is and it’s seen as a strike inspection.

Even though when it is just been after raining and you would think there will be some moisture around the windows. So it is open and still 35, so it’s good. In here, you can see where they’ve gone  and you can see white around the shower. You got 27 there, which is fine but then here  where they open the door, and you can see some kind of water. I mean, you’d expect that in a shower with condensation and all that kind of thing. If it’s  at 50 then it’s a little bit damp. Okay, let’s go to that location down there. What they do in this area is inspect the whole apartment.

They will comment, “It is in good condition” even though  the tenants are a little bit messy, or the previous owners. What they do is, they go round the whole complex. Check out the sprinkler system, the alarm systems, the lighting, the condition of the apartment complex. They will provide you a summary of their inspection. They will often also have a disclaimer in here, which say they cannot guarantee  and that is what they are saying 100%. They  cannot go through putting holes in walls. And they will also give a risk here, so basically they will talk in terms of very low risk: “The apartment’s exterior appeared to be concrete, which is extremely robust and a good product, in terms of waterproofing.”

It is very good to get a building inspection. Obviously, I know most buildings but I think you should probably always get one. I do not see why you should not. When you think about how much money you are spending and a building inspection is only usually about 500 to 600 dollars. It is probably something you should do every time and when you think about the risk you are taking, when buying an apartment.

The thing is, the better your due diligence, the minimal the risk. If you do very, very good due diligence, then you are basically making your risk as close to zero, as possible. That is why if you are spending hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars. You might as well spend that extra two or three thousand on your due diligence. Make sure that your purchase is 100%, because you will be kicking yourself if you miss something. When something as simple as a building inspection, you could have brought that up. Anyway, I hope that helps. Talk soon.

Cheers. Bye.

Apartment Specialists Podcast No: 111


What exactly is a Body Corporate? What is its significance to apartment buyers? Andrew Murray will provide his insights and why it’s an essential factor in every apartment building. Learn more from this podcast.


What is a Body Corporate?

A lot of people will buy an apartment thinking a body corporate is a company. They think, “Oh, because it is body corporate, I do not have control.” That is actually not the case. A body corporate is not a company. It is not an external company that looks after your complex or your apartments. A body corporate is actually you. When you buy an apartment, you actually become, automatically, part of the body corporate.

These body corporate companies that you hear about, like Strata, The Crockers, BCA or Body Corporate Admin or Strictly Body Corporate. All these kind of companies, they are actually employed by the body corporate, which is decided by the owners. Because as an owner, you are the body corporate. The first thing you need to know is the distinct difference between buying a house and buying an apartment.

Buying a house, you are in charge of doing the lawns. You are in charge of doing the rubbish. You are in charge if the house needs to be repainted. The roof needs to be redone every fifteen years. With a body corporate, the body corporate as a whole has to be in charge and you can not just let it go. You can not just go, “Ah, yeah, I’ll do it next year. It’s not too bad.” Everything has to be looked after spick and span, which is actually better.

That is where you have got to understand the big one. Just because you are in the body corporate, it does not mean you have control. Everybody has a vote and you all elect a committee to represent you, which is also voted at, what is called the AGM, the annual general meeting, which happens once a year.

The body corporate is actually responsible for, not the individual – like inside each person’s apartment. The body corporate which is, you know now, collectively you are all responsible for the maintenance and the up-keep of what is generally called the common property. The common property are the corridors, the lifts, the actual building structure. You know, if you have got a pool,  if you have got a tennis court, if you have got land, if you have got a garden – things like that. When you buy an apartment, you have got to understand that you are  actually becoming the body corporate. You are becoming part of that body corporate. And that is really important.

Now, what I will do in the next podcast is actually go over what does a body corporate actually do? What are their key responsibilities?

I will help you understand more of what a body corporate does. It will help you understand how to look, when you are looking at an apartment to buy, how good is your body corporate. It is almost like a health check. That’s what these body corporates minutes are. So you’ve got to know what a body corporate is to be able to judge if it’s a good one. Okay, Andrew Murray, apartment specialist, hope that helps, and talk soon.

Cheers, bye.


An IEP report and an earthquake rating are basically the same thing.

Something that’s very prominent regarding character buildings and because of what happened down in Christchurch. An IEP rating which is an Initial Evaluation Procedure and is what comes out as a figure or gives you a percentage of what is called a New Building Standard.

An IEP rating comes out with a percentage which is compared against what the standard of a new building that is built today. For example, if it comes out at 75%, that means it is as strong as a new building that was built today.

At the moment, the law is at 33% which is the cut off for being a safe building that will be covered by insurance. If you come in at 33% or lower, you are going to have to strengthen your apartment within 15 years. If it is a character apartment you have 25 years. That means you have to be 34% or higher to pass.

From very good sources within the council that it is not going to be changing in Auckland. We can’t promise that, but every single percent it goes up costs the country at least 700 million dollars.


What is an IEP report, and what is an earthquake rating?

Basically, they are the same thing. Good day, it is Andrew Murray here from Apartment Specialists, talking about earthquake ratings. Something that’s very prominent at the moment regarding character buildings, and because of what happened down in Christchurch. An IEP rating, which is called as you can see here, I’ve got one in front of us, which is an Initial Evaluation Procedure. Hence IEP, which is what comes out as a figure, gives you a percentage of what iscalled a New Building Standard.

An IEP rating comes out with a percentage, which is compared against what the standard of a new building that is built today, in regards to earthquakes. For example, if it comes out at 75%, let us say in a building that was built 50 years ago, there is 75%, but it’s 75% as strong as a new building that was built today.

I said I would show you one. This one was done by Fraser Thomas Engineers. It was done for a heritage building built in 1917 – The Regency. Obviously done here, which is the Initial Evaluation Procedure, IEP, and they go through and they actually come in and look at how the building was built.

The first IEPs  or earthquake ratings are just done off the plans, which are done by the council, which is my brush stroke approach. If you feel that your building has got a higher structural rating than what a council thinks, you can get an external IEP rating by an engineer. That is when they look in more closely, and then often what happens is, that’ll often increase – it could decrease, depending what has been done to the building. In this case increase, so they look at the buildings and they give you a history of the building. What it was built out of, when it was done, for what.

In this case, because it was built in 1917, it had various things done to it. It went from a warehouse office space, then an extension on the top, then it was turned into apartments in 1994. When it comes to an IEP rating, Initial Evaluation Procedure that comes out with an earthquake rating, it is really talking about two things: What they call longitude, which is what happens with the movement up and down, and what they call traverse, which is the movement side to side.

What is the rating? What will happen in an earthquake, if the earthquake movement was up and down, what is that rating? Against if the building was built today. What is the rating if the earthquake’s moving from side to side? Then each one will have a percentage, and then what happens is, they’ll take the lower of the two. And that will be the IEP rating, which is Initial Evaluation Procedure, or what we call the earthquake rating.

If you look down here, so it goes through a lot of stuff, that really you have got to be an engineer to really get into. I can explain some of it, but a lot of it is sort of probably beyond my expertise. Then it comes down to, we have actually come down to the IEP rating. What they have done here, is I think it might be a bit of a typo, but you can see here, you have got the longitude. Which is the up and down, coming at 54, and then the traverse, which is the side to side strength, is 72%. Now take the lower of the two, and it is 55 – I think it is supposed to be 54 there, because generally that’s what they take there. But anyway, you get my drift. That is what they come and look at. They look at the IEP, and they got the lower of the two of movements – this way and that way, and that gives you your IEP rating or earthquake procedure rating.

At the moment, the law is at 33% is the cut off. If you come in at 33 or lower, you are going to have to strengthen your apartment within 15 years. If it is a character apartment, you can have 25. That means you have to be 34% or higher to pass. In different parts of the country, that is higher – Wellington and Christchurch, etc. I have got, from very good sources within the council, that it is not going to be changing in Auckland.

I cannot promise that 100%, but to give you an idea, every single percent that goes up – that’s 33%. If it goes to 34%, on average, they estimate it to be about $700 million dollars that it’s going to cost the country. I’ve spoken to structural engineers, and they are basically telling me they are 100% sure it is not going to change. Obviously, I cannot say that, because I’m not a structural engineer. But that’s what I’ve heard from the industry, which is great news because I actually own character apartments myself.

Anyway, I hope this helps you understand a little bit more about IEP and earthquake ratings. Obviously flick me an email, andrew@apartmentspecialists.co.nz, or off the website, and I’ll talk to you soon.

Cheers, bye.


The plan consists of both desired changes or improvements that the powers would like and then a list of maintenance that has to be done and when, for example paint the roof, wash the building, repairs lift and on on. These are all time lined and at the AGM will be discussed if and when these changes are going to happen.

This eliminates the element of surprise costs for the building and informs the owners and new purchasers what is coming up in the future. You will also be aware of any expenditures that may be coming up that the Body Corporate won’t be able to fully covers so allows you to prepare for these extra future costs.

Making yourself aware of the long term maintenance plan as it is an important document to know about before purchasing and a lawyer can assist you with this if needed. Or alternatively Apartment Specialists can guide you through one too.


Good day, Andrew Murray here from Apartment Specialists, talking about long-term maintenance plans. What are they? Are they important?

When you buy an apartment, a long-term maintenance plan is something that basically all the owners agree to on how the building is going to be maintained in the future. A good way of looking at it is, if you own a house. So, you and your husband or you and your partner own a house. In ten years time you know that you have got to repaint the roof, or in 20 years times you’re going to have to repaint the whole house.

You are obviously going to have to do the lawns. You are going to have to do the rubbish or you might want to do some altercations like improving the deck. You may want to put a pool in and put some heater. All these kind of things, owners come up with. On one side, a long-term maintenance plan is like a wish list.  It is what they want to improve in their building, and things that they need to do to maintain their building.

For example, once a year a building generally needs a building wash. Then in a couple of years, depending on the type of cladding, the owner may want to paint the building. In 20 years time the roof needs to be redone, or in 30 years time the lift needs to be reconditioned. All these things are put into a long-term maintenance plan. The reason for this is brought in in the 2010 Unit and Titles Act which was enacted in May. This act will make sure that the long-term maintenance plan is in place.

Owners do not get a surprise, “Oh, you need a new lift.” All of the sudden, you have to have a special levy. That means the body corporate fee. Part of it is putting aside, and would cost generally around about 10% of it is putting aside the  money towards what’s called a contingency fund. This is what used to be called a sinking fund, which is where all that money sits for the long-term maintenance plan.

I am just going to run through a pretty basic one. Just to give you an idea of what it is. As you can see it goes over what I was just mentioning before. The purpose of a long maintenance plan is to – that is what when you see LTMP, long-term maintenance plan – identify future maintenance requirements and estimate the costs involved; support the establishment and management of a long-term managements fund; provide a basis for the levying of owners of principal units; provide ongoing guidance for the body corporate to assist in making its annual maintenance decisions.

So the long-term maintenance plan will cover all of this, or cover the cost, or talk about what year things are going to be done – all that kind of thing. And this is something you want to look every time you want to purchase a building, or if you own a building, or you want to be updated this year, because it is very important.

Let’s go to page nine, what basically is the nitty-gitty of it, which is long-term maintenance plan for units in this complex.

Basically here you can see you have got different categories. Every building will have different categories. You’ve got your service lobby – so that’s our entrance level of this apartment complex. It’s got 115 apartments in it. The floor in 2016 will be retiled, or something like that. It’ll be painted, as well as the entrance walls. The rubbish room, they’re going to put tiles in the bottom – at the moment it’s just concrete – so that’s to improve it. They’re going to paint all the walls, they’re going to do tiles in 2022, 2016, refurbishment. What is the cost? The walls – you’ve got your cladding and building wash. So that means every year there’s an annual wash of the cladding, so that means somebody comes down– it’s quite a tall building, so you’re going to have people down on carabiners washing the whole place.

Then Level One and Two. The first couple of floors before it turns into aluminium composite cladding. It is actually concrete, so that needs to be painted and not cladded. Things like that. You know, the car park. It is pretty self-explanatory but it gives you an idea of what are the big ticket items. For example, the annual wash each year actually costs 18-grand. Obviously that goes into the budget. It is not really a long-term thing, but is included in that.

What is another big one? Your car park. Painting the whole car park is 9,000. Things like that.

As we go a bit further, it talks about the expenditure. When is this expenditure happening? And how much is going to be needed to be raised? So in each year, 2015, which is this year, you need $32,000 to meet everything that’s got to be done – 2016, 43. Ifyou are an owner, you are looking at a big year. You are going, “Okay,  19, 29, 25, 47. That’s quite big.” So you’re expecting maybe a high levy. Or basically what you are doing is repairing the body corporate fee to cover that whole period. That’s it in a nutshell.

It is really, really important, because you may have a period where, say 2017-2018, there are some big ticket items. You know in your budget, or in your contingency fund, or long-term maintenance fund, and there’s not enough money to cover it. So you know there is going to have to be a special levy there. So you can prepare for that.

This is a really important document that most owners or most purchasers – when they go to purchase – are just completely unaware of or don’t even look through. Or even lawyers don’t even look through. A really important podcast, this one. So make sure you are aware of the long-term maintenance plan of the apartment and the precinct.

Now, if you want to go through one with me individually, just flick me an email: andrew@apartmentspecialists.co.nz, or give me a call on 021424892. I can help you out.

Anyway, talk soon. Cheers!

how to use a feature ad to sell your auckland apartment

Apartment Specialists Podcast No: 30


Third on the series of questions of owners on “How Do I Sell My Apartments?” – aside from professional photography and putting the apartment in the best light possible, you’ve got to use feature ad. How important is it and How to Use a Feature Ad to Sell Your Auckland Apartment is a matter that we will dwell on thoroughly in this podcast.


Hi I’m Andrew Murray, Apartment Specialists. The third part and the question I get asked all the time is  “How do I sell my apartment?” Online presence, as I say it each time, is so important to sell your Auckland apartment. So, A. You’ve got to have professional photography; B. The professional photography has to be putting the apartment in the best light; and C. You got to have a feature ad. Now what I mean by that is you pay another $69 on Trade Me. And now that is virtually nothing. And it means that when your apartment is searched for – after those first couple of weeks when it is further down to list – it comes up a lot higher.  So it is an absolute must.

It is kind of like – if you don’t have a feature ad – your apartment is going straight to video. As in it is not in the cinemas. No one really knows about it. And the common saying in real estate is that you can’t sell a secret. So I will go straight to the point. What I’ve done is, I have actually got two apartments here that are in the same building. Very similar but one is slightly superior to the other. The slightly superior one is already under contract and it’s gone unconditional – I just put it up on Trade Me just purely to show this. And you will see what I mean.

So we’ve got the first one. It is bigger than most. And you can see both. If you look through – both professional photography, both the same complexes – but one is a feature and one is not. So let’s go back to the first one. The photos look great. Now this is a tenanted apartment which you’re seeing. We did a lot of work with the tenants and they let us come in. Look around their things. All that kind of thing in order to stage the apartment, it came up great. I won’t go through all the photos and bore you. Anyway, let’s go to the other one. They were basically put up right after each other so exactly the same time, yesterday morning. Let me look at this one. You see this is a superior one, looking fantastic. This one has got a view.

I prefer this one to the other one. Now, this is the one that is actually already sold. Look at it. Let’s look at the views on them both. First one, 374 views. Still very good probably because of the presentation of the photos and it looks really good. Now, second one, 1122. That just says it all. If Trade Me charge $600 to make a feature ad, I would still recommend it purely on those numbers as it’s huge. Thank you for listening to this.

Now I hope you understand how important your online presence is. There’s a lot more factors that go into it, but these are the basic three things. Professional photography of the Auckland apartment in its best light, and it being a feature ad. Thank you.


myth about urgent sales

Apartment Specialists Podcast No: 21


Are urgent sales really that disastrous? Is it really true that  you are going to accept a low price if you sell your apartment urgently? Learn more from this podcast.


Andrew Murray, Apartment Specialists. You know, I get this question quite often – and a lot of owners think that – if I have to sell their property or their Auckland apartment really quickly, it means they’re going to have to accept a low price because of their contract. Now, unless you’ve got to sell it within days – which is very unlikely – generally a bank or whatever the situation is that’s making you have to sell it, we usually have how many months time. Now, this means you definitely don’t have to accept a lower price or lower than the market value.

The reason why I say that is, most of the activity that happens when you list an Auckland apartment happens in the first two weeks. You can see this by the amount of hits or the amount of views. For example, when you put an apartment in TradeMe, which is where most of your leads come from. Because with apartments – unlike houses – people search more on the internet than they do on the papers.

So the key thing there is to not panic and realize still – the fundamentals apply – which is presentation. So you’ve got to make sure that you take that week, to make sure that – say for example – what I do with an owner is, it takes me a week to make sure that I’ve got the apartment ready. All the information – I’ve got my sales pitch down, I’ve written the ad the best I can, I’ve got all the photos. So when it goes up on TradeMe, it’s got 12, 14, 15, 16 professional photos. Not putting up one photo and then adding them in five days time because it’s a rush. You’ve already missed the boat.

So the important thing for an owner to remember is you do not have to sell your – or undersell your apartment if you need an urgent sale unless you have to sell it in one or two days. And then what I’d do is I’d probably advise you to go to a trader and they can give you an unconditional offer very quickly. And I would gladly put you in touch with one and you won’t need to go through with a sales agent.

So I hope that gives you a little bit of justice. If you have to sell your Auckland apartment urgently, you don’t have to take that when it comes down to value. You’re just going to make sure you present your apartment properly. Do what you think is normal and just trust your agents to do a good job. And make sure that they explain it to you. And make sure that you follow how they market your property. It might take that time.

All right, next week we’re going to talk about another one. When an agent says that any other agent can sell your property. It’s a bit of a myth in this industry because it doesn’t actually happen. And I’ll explain to you why. Talk to you soon.

Cheers. Bye!

myth 3 rental companies charge auckland apartments

Apartment Specialists Podcast No: 20


In this podcast, we will talk about another myth concerning rental companies. I will divulge their common methods and what you need to know about them!


Andrew Murray, Apartment Specialists. Myth number three on the Auckland apartment market. All rental companies charge the same – complete myth.

Now, what I come across most is basically, rental companies will charge between generally, 7% of your rent and 9% of your rent. That’s what most of the companies charge. The reason why one charges nine, and the other one charges seven in regards of service, I don’t really see any difference at all. Now what I don’t understand is – owners are paying 7-9% of their rent. So if that say $400 a week, that is –  I don’t know – around $36 a week to the rental manager, to look after their apartment. Now you times that by 10, that’s $360. Times it by another five, and that’s a year. So that’s a lot of money you’re paying to a rental manager.

So what I don’t understand is on top of that, a lot of the rental manager’s charge for all these other things. For example –  okay, they’re going to check your apartment. They’ll go and check your tenant. Now they should be checking your tenant in my opinion four times a year because tenants can do all kinds of damage to your apartment. You want that checked to make sure the tenant’s are looking after it. There’s no damage and they’re not having parties. All those kind of things. All the horror stories we hear – and I see quite often. Yet, some only do it twice a year. And then others I’ve come across haven’t even check it at all and have got no idea what is happening. Yet, you’re paying them for doing what? Just sitting there?

Now then, there’s all these other charges some companies will be charging for when they might have to do a call-out. So for example, maybe something needed to be done or fixed in the apartment. So they get called out to the apartment to see it – and they’ll charge the owner a call-out fee. Or when work needs to be done and say a plumber comes in and fixes it and that gets organized and there’s an invoice or whatever. They’ll then put a percentage on top of the invoice that they charge. Now, I just don’t understand the industry really here because it’s not really transparent. What are you paying that 7% or 9% of your rent for? Shouldn’t it be that to manage your apartment? And doesn’t all those responsibilities should come underneath it?

So really it’s finding – Now, I don’t do rental management. I’m not trying to get your business or anything. I’m just trying to educate you and knock out – okay what’s sort of happening here. And then look at the company that’s been going after you. Because, how is an owner supposed to know if they are being looked after? Or what other companies are doing or charging cause there’s some very good ones out there.

And so look at your statement, do you understand it? Is it very transparent? Do you know what you’re being charged? Do you think it’s fair? If you’ve got no idea, it’s no fault of yours. Send an email. Scan in an invoice to andrew@apartmentpecialists.co.nz and I’ll have a look at it and sort of give you an idea of what you’re being charged and what’s normal in the market and what’s above or below that. And obviously this is a service and that kind of thing which only you really know.

But yeah, look into it. See what you’ve been paying because you pay thousand dollars a year for the apartment to be managed. And if it’s not being done properly and you’re getting charged too much for no extra value or service, you’re being taken for a ride.

Anyway, I hope that’s given you some invisibility. Next week myth number four. And we will be talking about agent sharing commission which is conjunctional sales. So the myth is all agents make it easy for other agents to sell your apartment. And if they do, they share the commission equally.

I’ll talk to you next month. I think you’ll find this one quite interesting and have a good week.


understanding auckland apartment buyer


As agents we get to know the different types of buyers and building as well. This means we understand our target audiences. Every single building has a slightly different market and what makes us experts at Apartment Specialists is being in the know.

An example would be if we were selling in a building with high percentage of Chinese owner/occupiers. I would then to market the audience as well as dealing with local Chinese agents and buyers.


Andrew Murray, Apartment Specialists, number nine – Knowing your buyer.

Now, what do I mean by that? Well, it’s what we’re here to do. As real estate agents, what do we do? We sell and we market. And to sell or to get those people to sell to, we’ve got to attract them – which means we need to know the type of audience.

For example, if your apartment is going to be most likely sold to an investor – we’ve got to target investors, and vice-versa with owner occupiers. Otherwise, you’re most likely not going to get the best result. Yes, you could get lucky, but we’re talking about most likely. Because again and again and again, we’ve got to be getting the best result for our vendors – which means we’ve got to know our market. Every single building has a slightly different target market.

For example, I may be selling a building which is 40% Chinese. Well, I’m European. So, how am I going to market to the Chinese? Well, what I do is, I deal with about 20 different Chinese agents. I deal with Chinese buyers’ agents, and that’s just to give an example. Also, what if a building is popular with the French? Well, I’ll deal with the French buyers’ agents, and vice-versa. There’s a lot of different ways that we can market in this industry. And it’s about knowing the right one for our vendor’s apartment.

So ask your agent, what is the target market? How are you going to reach them? And how is that going to maximise the amount of enquiries and leads created? That is a huge, huge point that determinants how much will you get for your apartment.

Anyway, hope this helps and I will talk to you soon with the other theme.