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What is the difference being a specialist for you, an apartment owner looking to sell? With thousands of apartments in the Auckland CBD and surrounding suburbs and at least 100-150 apartments selling every month, you need the right information so you can make the best decisions for you.

Apartment specialists looks at the value of apartments, not just in your building, but of those in the surrounding buildings as well. The apartment market moves all the time and we make sure we’re aware of it when valuing your apartment.

SUMMARY:

There are over 26,500 apartments in the Auckland CBD and fringes and around 400 buildings which will become up to 450 in the coming years. Each month there are 100 to 150 sales of apartments.

We know this by understanding our market well. This is done by constantly keeping up to date and being in the know. It is not just about being an agent but about being a specialist in the market.

We look at apartments that are the same, these are usually in the same building and look at other buildings that are similar to help us gauge the real market value of your property. Calculating size, carparks, level and so on are all important factors to consider when valuing a property as well as record prices in the building and recent sales in both your building and other that are alike.

By being well informed, we can help you make the best decision that works for you and selling your property.

Summary:

Character apartment pros: unique, high stud, less facilities equal less Body Corporate fess, low maintenance, solid, ability to renovate and make homely.

Character apartment cons: Low earthquake ratings, often have been converted from a building designed for something else, lack of carparks.

There are many pros of character apartments. They are timeless and all unique, they will never be built the same again. Most true character apartments ceiling are high stud which gives the illusion of more space and a bigger floor area. Most character buildings don’t have the facilities like a pool or a gym, this is a pro as they facilities are often unused but increase the cost of the Body Corporate fees. Character buildings are built well and this often means the maintenance and the likelihood of major works are low. With character apartments being all individual and effort allows you the autonomy to renovate how you please and make your home.

The main concerns when buying a character apartment is the low earthquake ratings. Anything about 34% is pass and means the likelihood of problems is low. Many character apartments have been converted to apartment and the building was originally designed for another reason. This is not the issue, but additions made after the conversion can be problematic if they weren’t done to high standard and properly.

With all this said, don’t let this deter you from purchasing in a character building. With thorough due diligence they are a fantastic investment.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Andrew Murray from the Apartment Specialists, talking about character apartments, the pros and the cons; though I personally own character apartments and have sold hundreds of character apartments and I personally love them.

First, we start with the pros and that is supply. There simply aren’t any more being built; and even if a developer wanted to build them, they couldn’t because they are just simply too expensive. We all know that with supply and demand, if you’re not having more supply, well obviously the values long term is going to go upwards.

Number two, high stud. A lot of character apartments have higher ceilings than normal – nearly all of them. And that makes the apartment feel bigger. That small area of say 70 square metres feels 90 square metres because you’ve got a three metre stud. Design is another big one, because if you look at these new buildings now, in ten years and time, they become dated. Just look at something like say Key West, down at the bottom of Albert Street. It’s starting to look dated and once upon a time, that was one of the most premium apartment buildings around.

If you have an apartment complex that’s built with a, say futuristic design, they age the most. But character, they just simply always look good.

Number four, facilities. They don’t usually come with a pool and a gym which nobody uses so you don’t have to experience costs and maintenance around that area.

Number five, maintenance. Now, if the conversion was done properly and you don’t have any issues; they’ve been around for 60, 70, 80, 100 years. They’ve stood the test of time and there isn’t the same amount of maintenance needed in most cases.

Now, the other one is why some people love character apartments? It’s simply your own canvas. The potential when it comes through innovation is huge. It’s not like this sort of carbon copy approach, which is done with mirror apartments, where every single apartment of that configuration is the same on every single level. With a character apartment, you can look at each one and its completely different, and you can make it a home.

Now, for the most important thing of this podcast, it is the other cons.

Number one,  you’ve all heard about it – its earthquake ratings. Now, the pass is 34%. 33% with a character apartment is a fail.

Often I hear agents saying, “They’re going to change. This is a character apartment and they’re going to lower it.” It’s not going to happen. I’ve spoken to a lot of experts about this and structural engineers. They put that in place for the safety of the people, so they’re not going to lower it. And the thing is, when we come to strengthen a building, it comes at a huge cost. So no matter how attractive that character appeal is of that apartment, learn to be able to walk away when there’s a low earthquake rating. The other one is what I mentioned just before, conversions.

Most of these character apartments were not initially character apartments. They were just character buildings and they could have been used for office blocks – and all kinds of reasons. I came across one the other day that was used for a dog pound. Now, when they we’re turned into apartments, some of them had extra floors added that were modern, or extra decks – often that were done incorrectly. A lot of them were done in the 90s, and you’ve got huge problems with a lot of character apartments with the additions that were made later.

If there had been additions made, make sure you check them out thoroughly and make sure there are no issues there. If not, absolutely fine. The other one is a lot of them don’t have car parks and that really frustrates me, especially if you’re an owner-occupier. Their location is really important to make sure that car parking is available. Because people, whether we like it or not, are still bound to our cars; and until our public transport system really improves – which is a big ask – it’s really important. So that hurts yourself when you’re living in it and when you go to sell that property.

If you don’t have parking options around, it can hurt the sale price. And then the last one is numbers. So, if there are major costs involved or strengthening, or any issues, or maybe the windows need to be replaced because they’ve been there for seventy years. Often, the character apartment buildings, there are fewer apartments because one thing, which I didn’t add, is that most character apartments are large and the buildings aren’t 30 stories high, obviously, so there are fewer apartments. When there are fewer apartments, there’s less apartments to share a cost. If there are major works that need to be done, then the costs are often greater per owner.

Anyway, hope that helps. Character apartments, absolutely love them. If you do the right due diligence, you can’t go wrong. Hope that helps. Cheers.

Andrew Murray, Apartment Specialists.

Summary:

Pros: In upmarket buildings where the facilities are large enough to cater for many people to use at a time – this then makes the difference and is worthwhile.

Cons: not often are the facilities good enough to cater for the number of people living in the building and the maintenance can become costly

Pools, gyms and tennis courts add to the amount of your Body Corporate fees annually and are facilities not often used and often need maintenance.

However, there are exceptions to the rule where there are high end buildings in Auckland that have superior facilities.

The major factor to consider is if the facilities are large enough to cater for the number of people in the building and would you use them. If this is the case, then it is worth your while paying the extra Body Corporate fees and may increase the value of your apartment.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Andrew Murray from Apartment Specialists. Is an apartment complex with swimming pools, gyms and tennis courts, do they add value or just increase your body corporate fees?

Now if I was going to give a generalised answer across the board, I would be saying they’re a complete waste of money. There’s always something going wrong with them. You never actually use them. I own several apartments and I live in an apartment complex, I never use it and the whole time I think of using it, there’s someone else using it. So if I had a blank board again at the end, I’d say they’re a complete waste of money.

Now there’s always an exception to this rule and that’s if these facilities are outstanding. For example, The Pullman, you’ve got a pool you can actually do laps in and you can actually sunbathe around the side. They usually take away the roof. Or in Metropolis, you’ve got a gym where you’ve got multiple machines.

The good way of looking at it is does the gym or the pool free, or would someone actually pay to use that as a stand alone. If they could, then that a small gym in itself, or a small pool in itself? And in that case, yes it definitely adds value, but otherwise it’s just a complete waste of money.

Some examples of this is you’ll see these apartments or these complexes that have these pools that are probably a couple of meters wide. Some are eight meters long and they’re basically washing machines. I see a lot of them with these off the plan apartments, I’ll give you an example is the Queen Residences. I saw the photos of how they’re selling the apartment. I looked at the pool, and I said, “That would be great at my house, but not for 280 plus apartments.”

Anyway, I hope that helps. You decide when you’re looking at that apartment complex, does that pool or gym actually achieving or increasing the value or is it just going to cause you problems?

Cheers, bye!

Do you have any questions so you can get the best deals when buying an apartment in Auckland? Download our Buyers Guide to get much sought after insights. You can also email andrew@apartmentspecialists.co.nz or call +6421 424 892 and we will happily answer any questions you might have.

Summary:

A building Warrant of Fitness ensures the building is up to standard where shared amenities area and in sound working order in your apartment building.

A lot of people are not aware that every apartment complex has to get a Warrant of Fitness. Just like your car, if it has got any systems that need to be in working order it means it has to have a Warrant of Fitness each year.

It is the owner of the building which is all the apartment owners or the Body Corporate. It is their responsibility to make sure this is done each year and any maintenance needed is addressed promptly.

This is to comply to the local authority, which is the council and needs to be displayed in the building. You will usually see it in a common area like a foyer.

The person who issues the ‘warrant’ is commonly called an I.Q.P. an Independently Qualified Person.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Good day, this is Andrew Murray from Apartment Specialists. A lot of people are not aware that every apartment complex has to get a Warrant of Fitness. Just like your car, if it has got any systems that need to be in working order. It means it has to have a Warrant of Fitness each year. It is the owner of the building which is all the apartment’s owners or the body corporate, The body corporate is responsible to get a Warrant of Fitness every year.

This is to comply to the local authority, which is the council and also display it in the building. When you look in the apartment, you may see a Warrant of Fitness in the corner. It is usually in a frame and it will be something like this. For an example, this is one would be in the Citta Complex. You can see there is the address. You will see the basic details of the building and you will know when it was first constructed.

Basically, a single dwelling does not need a Building Warrant of Fitness, but if it has certain systems in place. Like when it is dealing with multi-unit dwellings. It needs to be indicated in a Warrant of Fitness. Does the building has  automatic doors, sprinkler systems, or things like that? Does the building has a security system that are reliant on making sure that everybody is safe inside?

You can see it there if you have got automatic sprinkler systems, manual emergency warning systems, access controlled doors  and  so on. Obviously, passenger lifts. Having a lift means you are obviously going to need a Warrant of Fitness. So, it is important that the Body Corporate realises or the Owners’ Committee or as an owner, you realise that you are important. It is your responsibility to make sure that the building is up to standard so get its Warrant of Fitness. And that is displayed in the building and just like a car, if it fails, you have got to get it fixed. It iss pretty simple.

Here is another example, it is a one-pager and a Building Warrant of Fitness is, here is actually the person who inspects it. It is commonly called an I.Q.P., which is an Independently Qualified Person. Pretty self-explanatory really.

Anyway, I hope that helps. Andrew Murray,  Apartments Specialists.

Cheers, bye.