Whilst many prospective homeowners would prefer to buy a house than unit, apartment ownership is on the rise. As it becomes increasingly difficult to get a foot on the property ladder, a growing number of people are attracted to the affordability of a unit. In fact, the 2016 census found that around 10% of Australians live in a unit, with one apartment occupied for every five houses.

So, if you’re looking to find units worth investing in, we’ve put together some helpful tips:

Check the credentials and structural integrity of the building

It is a good idea to check whether the building which contains the unit has any structural issues or defects that you may be liable for after purchase. To obtain basic information, you can request a seller’s certificate. This will tell you details about strata accounts, although certificates are typically only provided to those who committed to purchase the property in question.

You can also order a building inspection and strata report. This will be conducted by professionals who can pick up on issues such as litigation, building defects or special levies that could affect potential buyers, usually costing between $250 and $400.

Consider strata fees

A strata report should inform you of any strata fees. Typically, they come to between 0.3% and 0.7% of the total property value. They can, however, be more if the building includes a concierge service, swimming pool, or gym.

Think safety first

Following the Grenfell Tower disaster in the UK, it has come to the attention of the Australian government that many high-rise developments in the country feature flammable cladding. Although cladding is starting to disappear from buildings, the process is slow and beleaguered by legal issues. If you want to ensure your building is safe, it may be a good idea to opt for a building that was not built with flammable material in the first place.

Check out the builder or developer

It is a good idea to check whether the developer or builder responsible for a unit is still in business. Indeed, if a company folds after a building is completed, buyers have no means for restitution should any problems occur.

Old or new?

Opting for an older building is a good way to ensure you do not encounter too many structural issues or building defects. This is because enough time will have passed to prove that the building is sturdy and robust.

Check whether there are Airbnb rentals in the building

Apartment complexes that are full of Airbnbs can be noisy and disruptive. In this way, it is a good idea to ask around and search online to check that your potential unit is not surrounded by short-term rental properties.

And finally…

Finally, don’t forget the obvious administrative tasks such as having the contract checked by a solicitor or checking for any disruptive developments planned in the neighbourhood.

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