For many, apartment living is a lifestyle choice that makes inner city living a breeze. On the one hand, apartments are a more accessible and affordable option, while on the other, high-end luxury apartments offer a convenient lifestyle. But due to questionable developers and builders, high-rise living has received its fair share of bad press of late.
Reports of major structural issues in newly built developments have caused a lot of unease, but it’s important to remember that most apartments are made by highly reputable developers and builders. It’s just a matter of knowing which ones to buy into and which ones to avoid.
Here’s our checklist to safeguard yourself when buying a new apartment.
Apartment strata reports
When buying an apartment, the best information available to any buyer is the strata reports. According to realestate.com.au, strata reports cover things like the finance of the build, the cost of current levies, pending works, and the history of the developer.
Canstar also advises getting a hold of the last few years’ worth of AGM minutes, financial details of the administrative and sinking funds, and problems that have been previously repaired (or not) such as plumbing, drainage, fencing, and driveways.
“Review the strata inspection report and seek legal advice. Understand the body corporate’s bylaws because they may have restrictions that could affect your plans for the apartment,” says CEO of Belle Property, Peter Hanscomb.
“For example, you may need body corporate approval for renovations and the installation of new floors. What restrictions are there on pets? Is it a mixed-use building – does the building include commercial or retail letting? How will this affect you? These are all essential things to consider.”
Research the developer and builder
Unlike their older counterparts, new apartments haven’t had the luxury of time to show signs of structural issues. In this scenario, research the developer and builder. Realestate.com.au recommends that you learn as much as you can about the companies and their past work. What other jobs have they done? Have they changed names? Have they gone into liquidation and started up under another name?
“Research the developer and make sure they are credible and recommended. It is important to understand their history, past workmanship and future pipeline,” says Peter.
Look at the apartment building as a whole
Before buying an apartment, you must inspect the entire building and the facilities, such as all the common areas, carpark, recreational facilities, lifts, and so on.
Find out the ratio of owners to renters, as this will also give you a good indication of how well the building is looked after. A predominately owner-occupied building tends to be better maintained.
“The apartment’s interior is just as important as the exterior. Look at the building as a whole and see how well it is being maintained – this will give you an insight into how proactive the body corporate is,” says Peter.
For more information, or to find an agent, visit belleproperty.com