While buying an apartment in an established block or complex takes a lot of the guess work out of what living in a particular apartment will be like, as opposed to buying off the plan [What to Look For When You Buy a House and Land Package or Off the Plan], it still raises other questions that you’ll need to answer before buying.
Strata developments have strata managers, strata fees and sinking funds and you need to be aware of the condition of the entire building.
Strata costs and other fees
This is the first big question you should ask, because strata fees differ greater complex-to-complex. Sometimes there are other costs (capital works, for example) not included the strata fees you pay, so you should find out whether any major work is planned that you’ll be expected to contribute to — and whether they’re slated to increase anytime soon.
Parking and storage
Not all apartments in a complex necessarily come with a parking spot, so you need to clarify whether yours will come with parking. You should also find out whether there’s any storage, such as a cage or storeroom in the carpark. Storage is invaluable in apartment living, so it’s often scarce and hard to come by.
It may not be a freestanding house, but checking the structural soundness of the apartment you’re looking at purchasing and the overall block too is critical. Even if it’s structurally sound (obtain an independent building inspection to be sure), there may be other minor issues that will affect your enjoyment of the unit, such as quality of noise insulation, placement and number of power points, access to internet and cable TV — some complexes were developed without any access to internet, even in big cities like Sydney and Melbourne!
Renters or owners
If you’re buying this apartment to live in, a high proportion of renters may make it difficult to get any major improvements to the complex through, as landlords typically don’t like or want to spend money on unnecessary improvements. On the other hand, it’s a good sign if you’re purchasing the apartment as an investment. Meanwhile, a high proportion of owners in a block you’re intending to buy into as an investment could mean you’ll be forking out for uneccessary improvements.
We can help
There are lots of things to consider when buying an apartment, whether it’s to live in or rent out. For help finding your new home or investment property in the Newcastle, Cessnock, Port Stephens or Lake Macquarie areas of NSW, contact EzyEstate.
If you are exploring a property as an investment either existing dwelling or house and land package check out our property investment course – well work with you to help you find a property.