Common sense thoughts on buying an Apartment.

Common sense thoughts on buying an Apartment.

Size

An apartment has an entrance lobby, car park spaces and usually a well planned layout that limits wasted corridors and space. Therefore comparing the size of an apartment to a stand alone home isn’t the right comparison.  Also if you live in a 3 bed home now, you don’t necessarily need a 3 bedroom apartment. A spare bedroom can work as a flexible office, movie room and occasional sleep-over space; instead concentrate on the living room/kitchen size and layout as that is where you really will live!

Pretty pictures

The specifications attached to your sale agreement override the perspectives, videos, website and promotional material.  So ensure the specifications are specific and clear on exterior materials, lift and lobby fitouts, and most importantly the finishes, fittings and fixtures in the apartment. Remember most apartments are on the market before the architect has finalised the drawings so the developer wants to retain flexibility. However the buyer needs certainty.

Price

Apartments in the City are based on a dollar per square metre rate. Usually this relates to an investor’s return and therefore apartment investors are very keen to compare square meter rates. It doesn’t work so well out in the suburbs as
many apartments include/exclude decks, have carparks as extra; therefore it becomes quite difficult to truly compare. Apartments in the suburbs are more like houses, in which case they should compare to a price point of a house. Currently purchasers expect that apartments should cost 50% of a stand alone home, however in reality an apartment currently sits at closer to 75% of a home in the same area.

Ongoing Charges

Looks fantastic on the brochure, pool, concierge, large lobbies, gyms and movie theatres etc. However the reality is that once the developer has built this, it is up to the owners to continue to pay for the upkeep and these become part of the body corporate charges. Also if the developer has specified painted or wooden surfaces, these can require a lot of maintenance, which can be very costly. It’s very important to research the materials used in the construction on the exterior and the projected common area charges, as there is little point living in an apartment and paying $100,000 a year in body corporate fees.

The Reality

People move to apartments for lots of reasons; financial, security, lock up and leave or they just want change. Apartment living has different dynamics. A closeknit community, security and wide outlook are great, but the flip side is cars parked underground and not adjacent to your home (so don’t forget your glasses), shared facilities are not exclusive, rubbish needs to go down the lift, etc. i.e. there are differences so ensure you analyse them up front.