Buying in Strata
More and more people are beginning to call an apartment home and a large percentage of them are coming from living in detached housing.
Apartment living can be great but it is not like living in a house and there are some things buyers need to understand about sharing their space. That’s right – you will be sharing your space. While your apartment is your sanctuary, the steps from the building front door to your front door are likely to belong to everyone. Not only that but you will be required to pay a levy, have voting rights at the building’s annual general meeting and should familiarise yourself with the by-laws.
Take heed of the following simple tips that can make or break your apartment living experience.
Top 10 Tips for Strata Buyers
1. Do Your Research
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. Show Me the Money
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.
6. Love Me, Love My Pet
Before you buy, check whether the owners corporation will welcome both you and Fluffy 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. Be Active
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.