But owning an apartment in a complex with others is very different to owning your own piece of land. There are common interests that need to be maintained across multiple owners, and financial considerations are just one of many competing interests at play.
Living in confined spaces with many others also comes with its challenges. And just like any property, with an apartment complex there are costs associated with the day to day maintenance as well as upkeep over time. All of which requires rules and regulations dictating what can and can’t be done and how money will be raised and spent.
Here are a few important questions that property buyers should ask and have answered when considering buying an apartment.
Strata levies are the individual financial contribution each apartment owner within a strata complex pays towards the overall costs and expenses associated with that complex.
They cover both the day to day running expenses (administrative fund) and bigger ticket capital expenses and repairs (capital works fund). Usually they are paid in regular quarterly installments and are calculated according to each owners unit entitlement.
Given that strata levies are paid in addition to water and council rates and potentially any mortgage payment, as a property buyer you will want to know with certainty what they are before you buy so that you can factor this into your purchase decision.
When there are insufficient funds within a strata apartment complex to cover large capital works or unexpected major repairs or expenses, a special levy is raised amongst the owners.
While each owner only pays their respective share of any special levy according to their unit entitlement, often it is a large amount and paid over a long period of time. As a new apartment owner, the last thing you want to find out after you’ve just moved in is that you are up for significant additional costs you didn’t know about.
By doing some detective work before making an offer, you will be able to find out if there have been special levies raised in a complex in the recent past or if they are on the radar in the foreseeable future.
Whether you are a pet lover or not, whether a complex is pet friendly should be an important consideration for any property buyer. While some complexes straight out don’t allow pets, others that do can place certain restrictions around the type, size and weight they can be.
The point is don’t assume anything. Before you put pen to paper and sign a contract, make enquiries and find out whether a complex is pet friendly or not. Regardless of whether you have a pet or are thinking about getting one, find out before you buy if they are even allowed.
And let’s say you’re not a fan of pets at all. Then even the more reason to make some enquiries upfront. I’m guessing the last thing you want to find out after buying a property is that you’re living next door to a chatty chihuahua.
The best thing you can do to better understand an apartment complex before buying into it is to order a strata inspection report. Never go off verbal assurances from the selling agent, always get a strata report when you are serious about purchasing.
Some selling agents will pre-arrange these and make them available for purchase online throughout the sales campaign, but you can also obtain your own independent one. For a few hundred dollars it will be money well spent.
If you found this article helpful perhaps you might also like 3 Good Reasons To Order A Strata Report.
I love talking property so if you’re thinking about buying an apartment but not sure where to start why not drop me a line here.
Shelley Horton is the founder of Sydney based exclusive buyers agency Albion Avenue. With a 20 year career honing her skills in every aspect of the property industry Shelley knows what makes a property worth buying and how to get the best deal.
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