What questions should I ask the agent before viewing an apartment?


Knowing the right questions will save you time when purchasing an apartment and ensure you are making the correct decision.

Four main questions to ask are:

  1. What is the earthquake rating? It needs to be 34% or above
  2. Has there been any maintenance work done on the building? If so, that means there has been a problem, check to see this has been completed and of a high standard.
  3. Has there been any water penetration past or present? This doesn’t mean it is a leaky building but it may mean there is water in small areas and could lead into it being leaky in the future. Look into their action plan to solve this issue.
  4. With my affordability, can I afford this realistically if there are issues? Gain help and understanding to assist your decision. At Apartment Specialist we can help you with any of the above happily.


Good day, Andrew Murray here from the Apartment Specialists. Before you view an apartment or go investigate further and spend time and money doing so, you want to ask some specific questions. This is to make sure that you are not looking at an apartment that is, down the track, not suitable because it has issues or problems. This has come from so many purchasers asking us questions like, "Is it leaky?" And that question just doesn't cut it because it doesn't cover all the possible issues. It doesn't even cover the matter of water penetration.

What I have done is, I'm going to give you four quick questions to ask. This is going to help you to either put that apartment to the side knowing it is not suitable or carry on your investigation so you can go view the apartment or ask more things like body corporate minutes etc etc. This is all based around a real estate agent. He is not going to tell you unless if you ask.

Yes, they have to declare things to you but they will want to do that in front of you or get you through that process as long as possible so they can get you to be emotionally attached to that property. Let us go over these four questions.

The first one, is to deal with structural issues. This is not just character buildings. What is the earthquake rating? It needs to be 34% or above. This is to cover the structural side and I've seen buildings that have been built in the last 30 years that still have structural issues or do not have that required structural strength. Now, that is a very expensive problem. If that question fails then, boom, you chuck it to the side and that apartment's not suitable for you.

The next question that you need to ask: Has there been any maintenance work done on the building? This covers it all really except for the next question, of course. Anyway, what I mean by that is, maintenance is done on a building if there is a problem. You need to know about it, so you can then look into how that problem was fixed. It doesn't mean you necessarily discard the building unless if the maintenance work is being done currently, or it is going to be done. But what it means is, it covers all the leaky issues, anything structural and anything like that.

Next one, has there been any water penetration, past or present? Now that is really important because if you ask if it's a leaky building, it may not be a leaky building but there may be reported areas where say there have been reported with water coming in from certain parts of the building, but it hasn't been looked into enough or it's just happening in isolated areas.

This generally means that, that would raise alarm bells for me personally because I'd be going, "Okay, if that's happening in parts, then it's probably going to happen in other parts. It's going to continue and could lead to a leaky issue." Now if you're looking at the past, okay that's not a bad thing because how things are being fixed now are a lot better but it still means you need to look into how it was done.

The last one is all the numbers. If you are an owner-occupier and those numbers mean you can't afford the property i.e. if the outgoings we're like that, then well quickly put it to the side. Unless if it has something to do with like maybe the body corporate fee including power and water. Secondly, if you're an investor-purchaser, then that's probably the first question you would ask, because if it doesn't cut it in regards to the income minus expenses, you're wasting your time.

I hope that helps because in this market, there's a lot of apartments out there. And there are a lot apartments that are not very good and you can waste your time. It's about you getting to the good ones and making the best decision for your purpose, and obviously making money.

Andrew Murray, Apartment Specialists. Cheers!

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What questions should I ask the agent before viewing an apartment?