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The annual costs involved when owning a carpark include Body Corporates which range from $3500 to $8000 depending on size of the apartment. There are rates are around $1500 which is much cheaper than owning a house. Other costs include water, power and internet.


Often when someone buys an apartment they don’t know the other costs involved like: Body Corporate fees, parking and such. What do you need to financially prepare for before purchasing an apartment?

What is the Cost of Owning an Apartment?

The cost of owning an apartment is pretty simple:

Body Corporate fees – On average, the smaller the apartment generally the lower the Body Corporate fee is.

One Bedroom – $3500 – $4500

2 Bedroom – $4500 – $7000

3 Bedroom – $6000 – $8000

Car park – Add another $1000 – $1500

Rates – around $1500

Water – $500 per year

Power – Generally half your household power bill due to heating and size.

Internet – Standard fees apply

Improvements to your apartment are obviously your own cost, otherwise everything else is covered in the Body Corporate fees.

Some Body Corporate fees will include power and water and in that case the outgoings will generally be higher. Also, if the apartment is in a hotel complex they are often more due to higher standards.


Good day, Andrew Murray here from the Apartment Specialists, talking about what are the costs of owning an apartment? Now, the costs to own an apartment are pretty simple. They consist of your body corporate fees, which on average for a one bedroom, are around about $3,500 to about $4,500. A two bedroom is around $4,500 to $7,000. They go up higher depending the facilities in the complex, or how high end.

The better quality apartment often the body corporate fees are higher. A three bedroom would generally be about $6,000 to $8,000 a year, and if you have a car park, add $1,000 to $1,500 to that body corporate fee. Now, the next is obviously rates. Now, rates are around about $1,500 per year. The more expensive the apartment, the higher the rates. But if you look at it compared to a house, your rates are a lot less – probably about a third.

Now, your water is probably around about $500 per year, and your power is about half what it would be in a house. This is because you don’t have to heat as much area. You have less appliances, you have less lighting – all that kind of thing. The Internet is pretty much standard, as if you are living in a house. Now, repayments to your own unit, obviously, come at your cost, which is pretty obvious.

Improvements to the rest of the building and everything else is covered by the body corporate fee. Now, bear in mind, some body corporate fees are quite high, and this will often be because things like power are included and water is included in the body corporate fee. That’s not common, but it does happen from time to time. Also, if you live in a hotel, the complex will often be looked after to a very high standard, and you can get higher body corporate fees then. I hope that has helped.

Andrew Murray, Apartments Specialists, Cheers.

If you have any questions, flick me an email at or call +6421 424 892 and I’ll be happy to answer your queries.


The simplest way to figure out your net return per year is:

Income – expenses ÷ by the price you paid = your rental return in a percentage per year.

To figure out what return you will be getting on your apartment per year is done through a simple equation. Your net income per year (incoming earnings minus expense) divided by the price you paid for the apartment equals your nett return on a yearly basis on your purchase.

You do need to be aware of a few things though, when working out your income on 50 weeks of the year opposed to 52 as there may unexpected costs like vacant tenancies or maintenance that needs to be addressed.

Allow for agent fees when working your income too, this means minus this amount off your rent. Allowing for Body Corporate and rates need to be considered too.


Good day, Andrew Murray here from the Apartment Specialists talking about how you can get a net return percentage on your apartment.

You hear all these investors talking about I get 6% return or I get 7% return on an apartment and how that return is so much better than putting your money in banks.

What I’m talking about today is how you actually get that return on your apartment or how much you want to pay to get the right return you’re looking for when you’re looking for an apartment.

You can see here you’ve got the pretty simple equation, which is the net income minus expenses divided by the price and that’s the price you’re willing to pay, or the price you’ve paid for your apartment.

That equals your net return percentage and if you end up your net income as your income minus expenses. There are a few points you need to be aware of here. When you’re talking about income, real estate agents use 52 weeks times the rent to calculate income, but in reality you’ll have things like maintenance that turns up, things that need to be fixed throughout the year.

You have vacancy and things like that. When that happens, you should be really using 50 weeks to allow for vacancy. Another thing that people are not aware of is actually allowing for agent fees. In that case, that’s when you’ve got a property manager looking after your apartment.

For example, let’s just take it if your rent was $100 per week and the rental agent is charging 8% for the managing of your apartment, the actual rent you’re getting is $92 per week, not $100. That’s how you’d actually calculate your return. Then you’re looking at expenses and I mentioned this earlier and your expenses are your body corporate fees and your rates.

Here, you’re getting a net income which is 50 weeks times the rent which is either the figure that’s coming in, and if you want to keep it simple, or you minus those agency fees divided by the price, then you pay and that equals the net return.

What I’m going to do is go through a basic example here, because it does seem a bit confusing for a lot of people. If we go through it here, I’ll go to a different page. I’ve just done one for you which I’ll take you through. We’re going to talk about an apartment here that was purchased for $200,000. I’m using round figures just to make it simple. You’ve got the rent and I’m using 50 weeks times $400 per week income equals $20,000 per year income.

You have your expenses. Now expenses, $4,000 here is for your body corporate fees and $1,000 for your rates which equals $5,000. This makes your net income, the income you’re receiving minus your expenses which equals $15,000.

When you look at the actual equation that I mentioned earlier which was this one here, net income divided by price equals net return. So $15,000 divided by $200,000 which is the price you paid or you’re willing to pay, equals 7.5% net return. You can say you’re getting a 7.5% net return on your apartment each year which is fantastic.

Anyway, I hope that helps.

If you have any questions about computing the return percentage of your apartment,, flick me an email at or call +6421 424 892 and I’ll be happy to help you with your queries.


Apartment Specialists Podcast No: 171


Have you viewed an apartment where due to the size advertised you expect to see a large space but the actual layout seems smaller? Have you then been to an apartment where the size advertised is smaller but the actual layout seems bigger? Andrew explains in this podcast why the size of an apartment doesn’t matter, but the layout does. Get all his insights by watching the video.

Size doesn’t matter – Layout does

There are so many people who base value on square meters.

This is an acceptable way to value an apartment yet it is not just about the size.  It’s about how that size or space is used.

For example, I go into apartments that are 60m2 that feel 50m2; or 40m2 that fell much bigger.

How? Layout and design.  An apartment with a good layout is worth more every time.

Look at this apartment below. It’s 55m2 but you have over 7m2 wasted in an unusable corridor.  It may be 55m2, but it feels like it’s 40m2.

Real Estate Companies Auckland | Apartment Specialists NZThen you look at this one and you can see that it is designed for the user. It opens up into the apartment. It is only a few square meters bigger but there is simply no comparison.

Auckland Real Estate | Apartment Specialists

Why is this?

When a developer builds apartments, for most it’s about how many apartments he/she can get on a piece of land to maximise profit. And when this happens, the layout suffers.

So when you are looking at an apartment and you find out the size, it may feel a few meters too small. Don’t dismiss it, as it’s not the size that matters. It is how the size is used.

Layout is king.

If you have any questions about finding the best apartment, flick me an email at or call +6421 424 892 and I’ll be happy to help you with your queries.


Good day, Andrew Murray here from the Apartment Specialists talking about size doesn’t matter, but layout does.

Valuing an apartment by the size, for example, by the square metres, is a very effective method of valuing an apartment. Most professional valuers follow the format as one’s looking at previous sales.

It always comes down to how many metres squared the apartment is. That’s good to go to do on paper, but actually what is the most important thing is how that size is used.

So you can see with the example in front of me. We’ve got a 55 square meter apartment here; but as you enter the apartment, you can see it’s not really designed for the user. You’ve got a whole stretch here of corridor, which has got to be at least seven square metres and it might as well not even be here.

So that 55 metres squared has actually only got 48 metres squared of useable space. This is why, I’ll often come into an apartment, let’s say, 40 square metres and it feels like 50. I’ll come into an apartment that’s 60 metres squared and it feels like it’s 50. It is about the layout and you’ll know after going into apartments that some apartments just seem bigger than others, and that’s what is most important.

An apartment with a good layout is worth more than a larger apartment with a bad layout. Again, look at this apartment, and just look how the square meterage is used. It’s just not very effective. If you compare it to this one with same size, but there’s no wasted space, you’ll see it’s been designed so as you come in here through the main entrance.

You’re coming straight into a sort of open plan and so every square meterage is used. You can see here, you can quite easily have a dining area, a lounge area, bedrooms, you got two bathrooms. It’s actually designed for the user. When you sort of, I suppose, you hear that size, or you’re told of a size of an apartment.

It may be a few square metres below what you’d like it to be, remember that it’s not always about the size. It’s about that layout that’s so crucial. A lot of people sort of ask me, “Well, why do apartments have bad layouts?” And it comes down to how apartments are built, which is about the developer.

A lot of developers, but not all, are about putting as many apartments as they can on that piece of land, and to do that, often the design and the layout suffers. For example, you see a lot of apartments, especially in the lower demographic apartments, that are rectangles, and that’s purely so that they can fit as many as they can on that piece of land. But the rectangle means you’ve a lot of corridor and a lot of wasted space. So remember when looking layout is king.

I hope this helped. Cheers.

If you have any questions, flick me an email at or call +6421 424 892 and I’ll be happy to help you with your queries.

When buying off the plans don’t solely rely on the digital imagery portrayed as the end result of the construction. Use Google images or visit the site if possible to assist your decision.


Is this a good idea or not? The main point to take into account is digital imagery and what you are being eluded to the building looking like and the surroundings upon completion.

Google images often provide much more realistic photos and should be looked and at compared to the developer’s photos. If you are able to. we suggest you go and have a look at the site for yourself.

Often developers promote the facilities in the complex like pools and gyms. What needs to be considered is the size and amount of equipment available vs the number of apartments and people living in the building.

Measuring out the floor plans out for yourself in an open space is a good idea to gain an idea of what your space may feel like.

Don’t be discouraged though, there are many fantastic apartments being built to a high standard.

Apartment Specialists can assist you buying a quality new build off plans.


Good day, Andrew Murray from the Apartment Specialists and I’ll be talking about digital imagery and buying off the plans. Basically, raising alarm bells.  I want you as a purchaser to be able to look at these developments and go, “Is this a quality one, Is it not?” You should see past the digital imagery. I wouldn’t normally comment on this because I’m not involved in these projects. Yes, I do sell off the plans, but I chose the ones that I’m going to because I believe in them. In these cases, I don’t but that’s irrelevant, and I’ll let you make up your mind on what’s happening here.

I was walking up Victoria Street and I saw this project. I saw the photos of what is being displayed as what’s being sold and then I actually looked at the site of works being built. If you look at here – you’ve got the building here and you’ve got the building with a little Telco building in front. And it’s got around about 11 floors and it’s made to look very, very small.

When you actually go to the site and look how big that building is.  It’s actually 17 floors and a lot higher than it appears in the imagery. I’d imagine there’s going to be a lot of purchasers here, especially around this area thinking they’re getting a good deal. They’ll just be looking straight into another building and that’s why you’ve got to be really careful. It concerns me because this is my industry, but also I’m sort of predicting a lot of unhappy owners here in the future.

See this is where the site is and this is where the building is. It doesn’t matter if you can’t actually visit that site if you’re working overseas. As you can see, I’ve just searched this on Google Images. Oh sorry, Google maps and had a a look at it just to show you as an example. Then I looked further and thought about it and I’ve seen this quite a lot. Okay, take this pool for example that they’re selling. This is in another complex that has over 250 apartments they’re selling with it and its nearly sold.

I think 99% and this is the pool they’re selling. If you’re lucky you could get two people swimming along that pool at one time. Yes, it’s got some people in it and it’s made to look very, very light. Yet this would not service in my opinion, an apartment complex with over 250 apartments. It’s probably going to have about 700-800 people living in it. It’s just not quality.

To give you another example, the same developer did this same type of selling last time in showing a great pool and in the top corner. You can see what they ended up with a small pool that really nobody even uses. It doesn’t even add value to the building. It just costs you money and in my opinion, is not a high-quality complex. Here’s the actual pool. It’s a far cry from this sort of paradise they’re selling at the moment. The same goes for gyms and I mean this gym here. They’ve put mirrors here so it doesn’t actually go through in the digital imagery. You’ve got two bike machines, a running machine and some weights and that’s hardly going to service a complex that has over 200 apartments in it.

And that should ring alarm bells. I really want you to look into this imagery because there are some great projects out there and there’s some great apartments popping up. There’s ones that I feel are just a sales pitch. Also, when you’re looking at sizing and this room here, it’s got what you think you need. Your TV, your couches, your tables, all that kind of thing.

Yet, how much room is this? Have you actually walked past here? This is all not real, so how do you know? What I’d do is that I’d ask you to get the measurements and then measure that out in your own. I suppose living room and just see okay, what would this fit? That will give you a very good idea and it’s a good way to see past this digital imagery. Get that actual measurements from the developer or from the person selling it to you so you can figure it out.

They’re saying it’s this particular size, but is this actually common? For example, this is a pool which is in a high quality residence in Auckland which it services hundreds of people, and this is what I’d call a pool that should be in an apartment complex of that size. Just to go back again, just be aware of the imagery being used to sell off the plan apartments. There are some really good projects out there, but there are some that are in my opinion, very misleading and are going to lead to some unhappy purchases in the future.

I know that picture and I hope this has helped. Andrew Murray, Apartment Specialists.

If you have any questions about buying apartments off the plans, flick me an email at or call +6421 424 892 and I’ll be happy to help you with your queries.



By the square metre and different floors from the bottom to the top may very due to views and so on.

The units are priced by a set amount per square metre. The metre will be decided on level of the builder so the higher you go are usually more expensive.

This is predetermined by the developers prior to start of the construction.

Being careful of digital imagery and the photos advertised are of the correct level and views and so on. The marketing companies often don’t put the correct photos of the apartment advertised.


Good day, Andrew Murray here from Apartment Specialist, talking about buying off the plans and how they price the units. As you can see here, you’ve got a building that just came up today on TradeMe and in the papers.

You can see you’ve got three arrows there. You have got 8,000 meters squared, you’ve got $10000 per meter squared, and you’ve got $12000 per meter squared.

Basically, when a development comes out, they have to do this and it is rough numbers, they are also changing it a bit. They have to consider everything because of the cost to build, but on average, a developer to make money has to average selling all their apartments on a development at 10,000 per meter squared. So, that means they sell ones up the top for a lot more and the ones down the bottom, which attract the buyers in. These units are not as favourable, and won’t have the views or are facing south for a lower price, or otherwise they couldn’t sell them.

We go to straight to TradeMe here, and this is a really good example that shows you how to do it.

What they do is they first introduce you by coming in. First of all, you can see that it is listed today. SKHY High Apartments and this is Newton. This is in the fringe. You can see here they come in and go, “Okay, it has spectacular views.” They will have the same pictures, every single one. This will be the penthouse, no doubt. If you divide 74 meters squared into 615,000, you are left with 7,600 dollars per square meter.

Now, that is extremely cheap. That seems very attractive, but if you go back to this picture, they are going to be the ones that nobody wants. Some of that attracts you to go and inquire and find out about it, because it looks like a fantastic deal. Which is very smart in my opinion. Just understand this, then if you go back to some of the high end listings.

I’ve actually priced it here, which is not normally what they do. If you go this one say, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, you’ve got 175 meters squared. It’s for $2 million and $65,000. If you divide 175 into the $2 million figure you get round it down to four. For $11,000, sorry – its for $11,800 per square meter, right?

You can see the per square meter value is creeping up. And in all of these, there are no car parks.  You can see how they are doing it. Same here, this one is more and that has got a few square meters, it comes out as $11,600 per square meter. Obviously, close to that $12000 figure I was talking about.

Then we go down. We look at another three bedroom. But that is price by negotiation and one’s similar to before. Here, oh this one’s a lot cheaper. Okay, there’s a different square meterage rate, but if you divide 152 meters squared into $1.3 million, you get $8600 per square meter. Again, this will be a unit that’s not as favourable. It’s without the views. If you look, they still all have the same photos, as if it is the penthouse.

That is how they market, so be very aware of when you are looking at all these listings on Trade Me, or in the newspaper. The prices they show are just a marketing tool. Otherwise, there is nothing wrong with buying off the plans.

I think  if you look at these apartments, I actually think they are really good, and the reason why. I’ll just bring it up again and I think I deleted it. I can bring up one of these photo’s and make it larger and its  because they’ve got, what it looks like here they have got views. The company built out, they are large sizes, which is the key.

A lot of these developers are coming up with very small apartments. You know, one bedroom around 40 square meters and things like that. Charging huge money for them, when really it’s just not there in the future, in my opinion.

But yeah, just be aware of when you are looking at all this stuff on Trade Me and While you are actually looking at in most cases, you are looking at prices to attract you in and then up-sell you up.

Anyway, I hope this helped. Andrew Murray from Apartment Specialists and this is all about selling off the plan prices.

Thank you.


Your ability to have little or no mortgage with a Leasehold property is appealing as there is much less interest owed to the bank. You can then use that money to use in other areas, whether this be investment in other areas or lifestyle choices. The property you purchase will usually be high end in a great area with a view.

The added bonus, is that with the negative stigma around Leasehold, means there are less buyers in the market and more choice for you. If you would like more information regarding Leasehold purchases, contact Apartment Specialists.


Good day, Andrew Murray here from Apartment Specialists. Today we’re talking about leasehold apartments. Now, the question I get asked a lot is, “Should I buy a leasehold apartment?” And it’s not about, there is a yes or no. It’s only really if you can figure that out, and it’s whether it suits you.

It suits people who want to use their money in other areas. For example, the benefit of buying a leasehold apartment is the price. For example, a $600,000 freehold apartment, if it’s leasehold, is about $200,000. A $2,000,000 freehold apartment, if it’s leasehold, is about $800,000. It’s all about the mortgage and the opportunity cost of what you could do with that money because the definition of an investment is one that brings you income. If you’re living in your apartment, it’s not actually an investment. I hope that you get that because an investment has to be bringing you income.

So, the benefit is the mortgage – you don’t have one, or it’s a lot smaller. For example, if you look at, say a $600,000 loan for a freehold property, then you went to purchase this apartment. You would have paid it off over 25 years, and let’s say it was at 6% – I just did the figures before – it came out at, over 25 years, you will pay $1,159,742. That’s almost double your whole loan amount, and that’s at only 6%. That’s as if the interest rates are always 6%. But we know they go higher than that. So that’s a lot of money you’re paying back to the bank.

Now, that’s where the opportunity cost comes in. Because if you can buy a leasehold property for a fraction of that price and don’t have that mortgage – yes, you have the lease payments, but there’s quite a difference there. And a lot of people are finding out that buying a leasehold property works even better. They have a better lifestyle, they get to live in an apartment that would normally could cost millions, and have the best location without the outlay of cash. And they can use that money elsewhere in other investments, other types of property, or they’re using it for their business or other opportunities, or just living the lifestyle – travelling, things like that.

That’s the benefit of leasehold, and if you think you fit into that category, it’s definitely something you want to look into. Look at the figures, see if they work for you – the numbers – and it gives you a great opportunity to be able to buy your dream place without having to pay so much money.

Hope that helps, and yes, leasehold. Just before I go, one of the best things about leasehold is actually the negative stigma that’s around the leasehold market and that’s why these prices are so low. So, my feeling is they’re undervalued at the moment. I’m not saying leasehold is definitely something to buy with a capital gain focus, but I’m saying it’s definitely undervalued because of this stigma that’s come out on the market about leasehold.

Anyway, hope that helps, and it is case-by-case basis for leasehold, so give me a ring if you think all those leasehold could suit you, or email

Talk soon. Cheers, bye.


The simple answer is yes. Having a finance condition clause in your contract gives you time to ensure the bank will loan you the pre-approval amount.

Even with pre-approval from the bank or broker you still need a finance condition to ensure you are not let down when purchasing a property. With pre-approval on finance you are not guaranteed that unless the bank is happy with the purchase you are making. A number of factors may stop your purchase from going through or may take a few days to sort out. This clause allows you the time to get yourself organised and understand the situation better and if the finance will be approved.


Good day, Andrew Murray here from the Apartment Specialists, talking about finance.

Now, you may have gone to your bank, and you have a pre-approval. Let’s say you’ve got a pre-approval for $400,000. Now, when you go to meet with an agent, and the bank has told you, “Yes, you can buy an apartment up to $400,000”, do you need a finance condition? The answer is, absolute yes.

What a lot of people don’t realise with apartments is, I often come across a purchaser and they’ll go to purchase an apartment. They’ll put in an offer. It will be subject to finance with a particular bank, and they’ve got a pre-approval. They’ll go that bank and the bank will turn them down. This is for a number of reasons.

One, the bank, for some reason, may not want to lend on that apartment and often will not even give them a reason. But a lot of occasions, the most common reason is that the bank has already lent to too many people in that building, i.e. they have mortgages on too many apartments in that building so they see it and analyse the risk and see they are over exposed.

This just recently happened when I sold an apartment in the CM3 Complex through Westpack, and Westpack had a lot of mortgages in that complex. So, what happened was, a purchaser I was dealing with went to go and– they had a pre-approval and they didn’t need much of a mortgage at all and they went to Westpac and they said, “Absolutely not. We have a huge percentage of owners in that building that we already have mortgages with.”

So, the important thing is, you’ve got to organise your finance, whether it’s through your broker or it’s through your bank. Yes, you get a pre-approval because you need a guide on how much you can spend and what you’re looking for, but when it comes down to winding up that sale and purchase agreement, even if you have a pre-approval, make sure you put in a finance condition – generally, conditional on five working days. That way you contact your bank, see if it’s okay, arrange a valuation and ensure there’s movement.

So, don’t let a pre-approval give you confidence that you can go through a sale and purchase agreement without that clause. This is often difficult when you come up to bid at auction, because it means you have to do this all prior. This is going to take time and obviously cost money, especially if you’re doing it with lawyers and things like that, and it can get quite difficult. But yes, just remember, always put in a condition there, even if you do have a pre-approval.

Hope that helps. Cheers.