The sale of apartments represents a significant and important part of Tommy’s housing portfolio as more and more home buyers make the move to inner-city living. This is particularly so at Tommy’s head office where our sales team represent some of Wellington’s leading and highly regarded property developers. The advantages of apartment living are numerous and include convenience and accessibility to work opportunities, proximity to entertainment establishments, minimising travel and transport costs and saying “goodbye” to garden and section maintenance.

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Some home buyers are perhaps a little wary about apartment ownership, usually because they lack knowledge or experience of the workings of a body corporate. The reality of the situation though, is that buyers of a unit titled property are in fact, supplied with far more information than those are who purchase a fee simple, stand-alone property. The risks of buying an apartment are minimised by a careful analysis of available documentation and information pertaining to the past running of the apartment complex in question. Things to look out for and to consider:

  • The introduction of the Unit Titles Act, 2010 brought with it a number of significant changes. None more so than the need for owners selling a unit titled property to supply the purchasers with a whole raft of information about the body corporate structure and most importantly, the liability of a prospective purchaser to contribute to body corporate fees or costs of any agreed works which are to be carried out in the future.
  • The aforementioned disclosure of information comes in the form of three disclosures, namely a Pre-Contract Disclosure, an additional disclosure (if requested by the buyer) and a Pre-Settlement Disclosure.
  • Included in the various disclosure forms will be details of current body corporate levies and proposed levies for the coming 12 months, details of proposed maintenance and how it is to be funded, the balance of body corporate bank accounts and details of any maintenance problem areas such as weather tightness. These matters need careful consideration by prospective purchasers before committing to a property purchase.
  • Prospective purchasers should also be provided with copies of past body corporate minutes of any formal meetings, financial budgets and the body corporate rules which are often fairly standard.
  • Check as to what restrictions the rules have in regard to having pets in an apartment. Chances are that if you don’t have pets yourself, you may not want your neighbours to have them either.
  • What restrictions are there in regard to altering the building’s aesthetics? Usually there will be restrictions on changing the external visual appearance.
  • Check on parking entitlements for yourself as a new owner and also for your visitors.
  • If you are buying in a multi-unit complex, it is helpful to ascertain the percentage of apartments that are owner-occupied and the number that are tenanted.

This is merely an example of some of the major considerations when buying a unit titled property. To the uninitiated, this may all seem a little daunting but the reality of the situation is that buyers have access to a lot of information and it is important to use this information before making a final buying decision. Use your agent and your solicitor for advice in regard to any matters of concern. It is not uncommon also to use a building inspector or other specialist for a comprehensive report on the subject apartment, particularly if there are any doubts about the buildings structural integrity.

Pinnacle Victoria Street

If you are buying from plans and specifications, before your new apartment has been constructed, there are other matters to consider. A sale of this nature involves a more comprehensive form of Sale and Purchase Agreement (learn more of the Sale and Purchase Agreement) but gives buyers an opportunity to get onto the property ownership ladder with a smaller deposit and allowing 12 to 24 months to save additional funds while construction takes place. Purchasing new may also allow an opportunity to have some input into your own décor and apartment furnishings, which is an attraction to some buyers.

Apartment living is an established and popular option appealing to many Wellingtonians, young and old alike. Wellington City offers a wide range of pricing options for potential apartment owners to consider, and Tommy’s will be pleased to find an apartment that will meet your buying requirements. Give us a call or watch our website. We are here to help and to guide you through the buying and selling process and will be able to introduce you to a selection of inner-city living options.

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