Not everyone can afford to spend a small fortune when buying their first home, which is why apartments will continue to be popular.
Factor in the often central location, low-maintenance lifestyle, other conveniences and resale potential, and their appeal is obvious.
Big issues of shared, smaller places
But there are areas to consider before investing in an apartment.
In general, Archicentre has found its five biggest downsides to being excessive noise, poor insulation, bad ventilation, access problems and lack of privacy.
Add the prospect of inadequate hot water systems and/or heating, low-quality flooring and fittings — and this should ring alarm bells.
Body corporate costs and regulations are another all-important consideration.
Caveat emptor or ‘buyer beware’ is the best advice that any buyer or investor can heed.
Does the price seem right?
If an apartment appears reasonably priced, ask yourself and the agent why? Better still, visit it at various times, and see if it is still what you want.
If you intend to buy a new apartment, ensure the builder’s credentials and insurance coverage are more than adequate, and also that off-the-plan specifications and finishes meet expectations.
It may even pay to insert a clause about having no obligation to make a final payment until the work is completed to appropriate standards.
Whether you’re buying old or new, rushing in is risky business before conducting the relevant checks. Take the time to be thorough and you’ll be spending your money wisely.
Benefits of apartment living
Units and apartments have become increasingly attractive, as much for their affordability and lifestyle benefits as their potential for vendors to maximise sales results.
Besides proximity to shops, transport and educational institutions, sound-proofing,
insulation and fire ratings are other important considerations.
Amenity to strive for
Additional features, such as communal gardens and access to health clubs, tennis courts and swimming pools, can be priceless when it comes time to resell.
As with all properties, the unit and surrounding grounds should be viewed by an independent building inspector, providing an accurate estimate of future works, both for the unit and shared costs in the complex.
Just as important is to inquire about the body corporate — with neighbours, as well as agents.
Ongoing costs and services
These annual costs are often presented, but much can be discovered by double-checking the maintenance record of your apartment complex.
Not only will this provide an insight into its level of activity, but it can also be compared with your inspection report to highlight whether the ongoing costs represent value for money and match your expectations of capital growth.