The “ultimate buying an apartment” checklist.
Owning your first apartment is a big milestone in the life of many people. However, make sure that you find the perfect apartment before you agree to purchase one, if you’re wanting to purchase property, you may also want to see how big of a mortgage you’re able to afford before deciding on viewing places, to do so you can have a look at mortgage calculators found on the likes of SoFi, as an example. Ensure that you’ve done your research on the apartments before you go and visit them. Depending on your area, you could look online to see if there are any apartments for sale locally to you. People in London, for example, might want to look somewhere like space station to see if they can find their dream apartment there. If you don’t live there though, you could still look for some inspiration. Before purchasing an apartment, we recommend that you follow this checklist to avoid any unwanted issues down the track…
Buying an apartment generally means buying into a strata scheme, which is basically a system of ownership that sees individuals wholly own their apartments and share ownership of common areas. Strata charge their members annual fees, or ‘levies’, to cover the cost of repairing and maintaining an apartment block’s shared areas. These fees will depend on the size of the block and what amenities it has to offer. Modern apartments with pools, gym, lifts etc tend to charge high fees and so it’s worth finding out much these are before you decide whether to buy a property. Capital improvements are another potential hidden cost.
Research your owners’ corporation
If you choose to buy a strata property, you will most likely become a member of an owner’s corporation. These legal entities have the power to enforce strict rules on noise, pet ownership and the use of common areas, so it’s important to do your homework on the owners’ corporation to make sure their rules are a good match for your lifestyle. It’s a good idea to take a look at the minutes of recent meetings for further information.
Check out nearby facilities
In most cases, apartment living means less space, so it’s essential to consider nearby facilities before you purchase. For example, if you have a dog, you will want parkland or access to an open area. You might also want to consider whether the apartment has good access to supermarkets and a gym. Apartment living can be quite stuffy, too, so it’s worth buying somewhere close to bars, cafes and restaurants. If investing, these nearby highlights will also make your property more desirable to renters.
Look for car parking space
Car parks are often in short supply around high rises, especially those close to the CBD. This is why it’s best to look for a unit that has a designated car space on the title – unless the added convenience adds too much to the price tag.
Apartment owners must be savvy when it comes to using space. Consider installing storage options such as built-in wardrobes. Just remember, if you’re going to rent out your newly purchased apartment to tenants, any fixture you provide must be maintained and/or repaired at your own cost. Alternatively, you can get creative with some simple storage hack! Such examples include putting the washing machine in the kitchen to open up extra space elsewhere or even creating space in walls for extra storage.
Suss out the neighbours
You can’t often control who your neighbours are in an apartment complex, but it’s important to remember that they can have a big impact on your lifestyle. After all, if you’re after a quiet life, then moving into a student-friendly apartment tower near to a university might not be right for you.
Before buying, consider;
- Noise – Are the walls paper-thin? Can you hear people in other apartments?
- Odours – can you smell animals, dampness, or rubbish?
- Light – will you have access to a window or balcony with natural sunlight?
- Air – does your apartment have enough windows and free-flowing air?
Structure and layout
The structural integrity of the building and the layout of the apartment should be key considerations for any buyer. When inspecting a unit, look for red flags such as cracking, mould or broken sealants. Check whether the apartment has carpets and what the walls are made of, too, so that you can get a good idea of how the unit will insulate noise. Getting approval to renovate apartments can be difficult, especially if you are making big changes, so if you are not happy with the design, then it’s best to look elsewhere.
Low maintenance = Major benefit!
Apartment living is great for people who don’t want to maintain a garden or mow a lawn, and a smaller interior space means less time cleaning. If you have a balcony you can always create a low-maintenance garden with pots of herbs and flowers to brighten up the space. As this isn’t an awfully large space, you don’t necessarily have to worry about investing in any storage sheds for your yard. Perhaps this is something to note down for the future though if you’re looking to move somewhere bigger and with a garden. But for now, just keep on top of looking after your little garden herb pots on your balcony.