6 Things to Consider when Buying an Apartment

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Buying your first apartment? You are joining the multitude of Aussies turning to apartments for their homes. For the last decade, the trend of Australians choosing the strata and community living is tremendously high. And apartment buildings are no longer exclusive to cities and urban areas. A lot of Brisbane apartments are outside of the CBD. Modern and family-friendly apartments are now available in neighbouring communities like Sherwood and Mount Gravatt.

There are a lot of ways apartment buying is different from purchasing a landed property. Landed properties are often defined by the land measurements and the buildings, developments and other features within its limits. Apartments are defined by several aspects that might include the unit space measurements and everything within, the building and its features and amenities, the immediate surrounding within the property line and the corporate body. This is often referred to as the strata scheme.

Whether it is your first home purchase or your first apartment purchase, it is best to know the rules of the strata scheme.

What's yours?

Apartment buying is literally buying air space. What ultimately belongs to you is the space inside your unit. You have total control of the walls, floors and ceiling in your side. You may also own a specific parking lot or a storage space, depending on the building plan and on the title of the unit. Everything outside your walls and those not included in the unit title – the lobby, the roof, the gardens and the rest are owned by the body corporate, which you’re a part of.

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The Body Corporate

The body corporate, also referred to as the owner’s corporation, manages and rules the apartment community. The body corporate is made up of owners and residents, wherein a committee is elected from amongst its members. The committee is tasked to run and manage the body corporate affairs that may include paying bills, maintaining assets and enforcing the by-laws. All owners and residents automatically qualify as a member. Election of the committee happens during the yearly general meeting.

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Community By-laws

Building residents in all Brisbane apartments are subject to its corporate rules and by-laws. The by-laws can be adopted from the Queensland standard by-laws or be drafted and approved by the owners. This can also be amended whenever and how ever the owners need to. The by-laws include common agreements and community living arrangements approved by all residents. Residents’ age limits, pets allowed, the number of resident to a unit and no smoking ban are some of the items might be covered by the by-laws. Apartment buyers are advised to read through the by-laws to see if it conforms with their living requirements and preferences.

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Security, Maintenance and Fees

One of the reasons to buy apartments over landed properties is the easy upkeep and maintenance. Apartment owners do not need to worry about leaking roofs, mending the fences or even washing the windows. All maintenance work outside of your units is managed and handled by the building manager as directed by the body corporate. However, owners are required to pay a fixed monthly fee to cover the maintenance and upkeep of the property. The charges might also cover security and utilities. For major renovations and one-time construction work like roof replacement, installation of security devices or construction of a facility, owners will meet up and agree on how to pay for it. The cost of the one-time project is often divided amongst the owners and paid separately from the regular monthly fees.

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The Strata Inspection

Aside from the usual factors – location, size and demand that determine the value of the property, valuation of apartment buildings will also depend on the condition of the building. The age, amenities and soundness of the building factor significantly. How do you know you’re getting what you’re paying for? By conducting an independent full strata inspection. The strata inspection report will include the state of the building – plans, wirings and pest control reports, minutes of the body corporate meetings, title and certificate of the plan, budget and approved fees, insurance policies, supplier agreements and accounting records. It is advised to have a professional strata inspector review the documents.

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Neighbourly Conduct

Apartment living includes an unwritten rule of neighbourly conduct. Due to the proximity of living, residents are expected to observe mutual respect for the privacy, peace and comfort of the person on the other side of the wall. Residents should exercise extra measures to avoid getting into their neighbour’s space. Avoid loud noises, banging on the walls and too much thumping on the floors, be friendly but not intrusive, be mindful of any pets and children, be watchful of your trash, keep to your parking space and lend a helping hand when needed.

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Brisbane apartments are centrally located, more affordable than landed homes and are proven to be great investments. But not everyone will readily give up of the perks of suburban living. The solution is finding a suburban apartment. Sherwood apartments offer the perfect housing choice for people who prefer the living comforts of apartments and the laidback suburban lifestyle.

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