As the population grows we’re seeing a greater trend towards creating ‘Urban Communities’ with apartments and townhouses – here’s what you should consider
As New Zealand cities grow denser, most New Zealanders will – either by choice or compulsion – need to live in apartments and townhouses rather than in single dwellings on big sections. But giving up the garden doesn’t mean a lower quality of life – increasingly, you’ll find sensitively designed developments in both the city and the suburbs.
- Do some due diligence. If there’s a body corporate, ask to see the minutes of their meetings and their budgets. Is it efficiently run? Do they set money aside for maintenance? If there’s no body corporate – what happens when the driveway needs repairing?
- Check for earthquake risk. Many heritage apartment blocks – while lovely – are facing big bills for earthquake strengthening. This isn’t a reason to panic, and in many cases it costs less than people think. Just make sure you know what you’re up for.
- Walk around the area, particularly at night. Does it feel safe? Are there cafes, restaurants, bakeries, shops and parks?
- Ignore the real estate agent when they say the house on that big section next door is owned by an old lady who will never sell. Check the district plan: what’s the zoning? Could you lose light and views?
- Buy off the plans. If you have a low deposit, buying off the plans is a great way of securing a property – the restrictions around loan to value are easier, and it gives you a couple of years to save up more capital.