How to choose the right lawyer when selling or buying an apartment


Don’t go for a choice of lawyer upon a recommendation from someone you know. Unless it is a lawyer that has expertise in the sale and purchase of apartments. Apartments are different to houses and can be complicated in terms of regulations and inspections of not just the property you are purchasing but the entire building too. If you require further information in regards to finding the appropriate lawyer to aid your purchase and sale, we can assist at Apartment Specialists.


Choose your lawyer on their expertise, not because of friends or you have used them before. Choose them on what they are good at. Now, I am talking obviously about lawyers that you can use when you buy or sell an apartment. And I do not mean it by saying in bad terms towards other lawyers. I am talking it in the same sense that, if you asked to sell your house in Papakura or in Wellington or Christchurch, I am not the best man for the job, if you ask me to sell your apartment; the same thing goes with lawyers.

Good day, it is Andrew Murray from Apartment Specialists. I will be talking about the importance of making sure a good lawyer who has expertise in apartments is looking after you when you are buying or selling. I have seen this mistake cost people tens of thousands of dollars, either through when they are purchasing an apartment. Not picking up particular issues or when they are selling deals.

What sparked this podcast was recently, I just had a lawyer and I was almost going to settle. It was about three days before settlement and the lawyer who was acting for the vendor rang back and said, "I don't know what to do." I rang back and go and had a conversation with him. We spoke about them and basically gave them the gist of how to convey the property. It was a lease on an apartment, so it was more complicated than normal.

The person said, "Look, I'm down in Hamilton," which is a city in Central North Island. "There aren't any apartments down here. We haven't dealt with this and I literally don't know what to do." And I said, "Look, can you please tell me this so then I can tell my vendor." Just be straight with them, and say, "Look, you're not the best person for the job." They can get another lawyer who is. Obviously, it happened but it should have never happened. Another reason is when someone is purchasing and I have had lawyers who are asking all the wrong questions.

Even though, in most of the cases, the buildings are fine, because I have to disclose them yet. They are asking questions that are completely irrelevant to apartments or they do not understand the Unit Titles Act and the due diligence. What they are doing, on behalf of the purchaser, is not the best due diligence. What I am saying is, before you choose your lawyer, make sure they have expertise in apartments and unit titles. How many have they actually done before? And if they are in a town or a city where there is no apartments, you can pretty much almost guarantee they have not dealt with them before.

Again, this is not putting down the law community. It is the same reason why a lawyer specialises in family law or a lawyer specialises in commercial law. You are good at what you specialise at. Anyway, I hope that helps and please follow this advice whether you are purchasing or selling. Especially when you are looking for a lawyer.

Thank you. Cheers!

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How to choose the right lawyer when selling or buying an apartment