07 Oct 2013 Top 10 Tips for Buying into Strata
More and more apartment buildings are being constructed across Melbourne and, whilst apartment living can be great, it’s not like living in a house and there are some things buyers need to understand about sharing their space. Yes, that’s right – you will be sharing your space. While your apartment is your castle, the steps from the building front door to your front door are likely to belong to everyone that is, common property. Not only that but you will be required to pay a levy to help maintain the common property, have voting rights at the building’s annual general meeting and should familiarise yourself with the by-laws.
Here are the top tips for anyone considering purchasing in an apartment building;
1. Do Some Investigating
Have a professional search of the books and records of the owners corporation to view the finances and any issues the owners corporation is facing.
2. Don’t Forget the Levies
Remember that you’ll have to budget for levies to fund the annual running expenses of the owners’ corporation and its long term maintenance. Ultimately, this protects the value of your financial investment.
3. Know What You’re Buying Into
Check that the car space or garage you were shown is correctly allocated to the apartment – the strata plan will usually detail this. Your lawyer should also take you through the contract to ensure you understand each step of the purchase process.
4. Know Your Rights
Acquire a full copy of the by-laws that are specific to your owners corporation, so that you understand the rules that you will be required to live by.
5. How much is in the Bank?
Have a good look at the condition of the building and make sure that the funds in the sinking fund match long term maintenance planned for the next few years. Ask to see a copy of the owners corporation’s detailed maintenance plan.
6. All Creatures Great and Small
Before you buy, check whether the owners corporation will welcome both you and your loved one into the building. Don’t necessarily take the word of the selling agent when he tells you the block is pet friendly.
7. Be Informed
Educate yourself about your rights and responsibilities when living in a strata title property. Some of the state SCA organisations offer free consumer seminars. In NSW you can also do some free online training. Check out the website for your state.
8. Know Who to Call
Find out what emergency arrangements are in place or who to contact on your executive committee if something goes wrong in the building.
9. Get Involved
Take an active interest in what goes on in your building. Attend the annual general meeting so that your voice is heard and consider becoming a member of your building’s executive committee.
10. Love Thy Neighbour
Remember that in an apartment building, your neighbour is usually just on the other side of the wall. Live next to them as you would have them live next to you.