WHEN BUYING A UNIT
- Written by Melanie Toye, March 10, 2012
Buying a unit is a big decision. Whether you are going to live in the unit or rent it out, here are some things you will need to know before purchasing.
As an owner of a unit you will be required to be a part of the body corporate. Ask to read the body corporate minutes from previous meetings. This will provide you with an insight on any maintenance or faulty issues with the complex and any owner disagreements.
Body Corporate fees will need to be paid. Body Corporate fees pay for regular maintenance such as light bulbs, renovations and repairs.
Find out if the body corporate has a sinking fund. A sinking fund is used for major renovations needed in the future. If there is no sinking fund, when something expensive requires fixing or renovating, then you will have to pay extra for this. Make sure you add this additional regular expense to your budget.
Council rates, utility bills and potential interest rate rises also need to be included in your budget.
GET A BUILDING INSPECTION
Ensure you get a building inspection, even if the building is new or newly renovated.
Don’t worry if the outside doesn’t look as luxurious as you hoped, the added benefit of a non-renovated outside appearance can provide a lower crime rate. Instead focus on renovating the inside to your desires.
Check if there is enough lighting outside and for the walkway to the complex.
Check out crime stoppers online to see if the area has had any recent break-ins. Although any area is prone to a break-in, some areas receive more criminal hits than others. Check the windows have security screens. If the garage is shared amongst the owners and someone forgets to lock up their garage then you could all be in danger of stolen property.
GO WITH YOUR GUT INSTINCT
You don’t have to get along with all the owners, but you do need to feel good that the property is safe and functional for your needs. If you feel any unease keep looking and perhaps come back another time to see if you have the same odd feeling.
When buying a unit, top floor is always nice. Great views and less road noise are one advantage. However, having a unit on ground level isn’t such a bad position to be in either. When moving furniture in and out, it is handy to have minimal staircases to push your lounge suite up.
Being close to public transport is definitely an advantage. However, how close is too close? One unit I lived in was based right next to the train line. While inspecting the property it was the weekend and we did not hear a train. The real estate agent told us the building was sound proof. When we moved in however, it was another story entirely. Our unit would shake, our glasses and plates would rattle and we would wake to loud freight trains driving past in the early mornings.
Is the unit close to shops and schools? You have to remember when buying a unit, to think about the sellable features your unit boasts when going to rent it out or sell the unit down the track. The more boxes it ticks the more buyer/renter friendly it is for others too.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER
Does the complex have a pool or BBQ area? Although these are great leisurely advantages, note you will have to pay for maintenance upkeep costs.
Find out the costs for other units in the area, not only sale costs but how much they are renting for as well. If your unit is two bedrooms and one bathroom and a unit down the street is the same size but at a cheaper sale price, make sure you are not paying more than what it’s worth.
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