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Buying and selling in a strata space

If the time has come to jump into the apartment market or jump out, then there are few things worth knowing about buying or selling your strata-titled property.

Whether you’re a downsizer looking into a vertical community or a growing family hoping to move into a house, there are some ins and outs you should be aware of when it comes to strata-titled homes.

Buying and selling basics

When buying and selling property you should be prepared for some of the following costs, according to the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA):

It’s a good idea to use all available resources, such as online tools and calculators, to fully research your options and understand your property’s worth. Think about starting your research with sites such as Domain and Real Estate as well as banking property sites/apps.

REIA president Malcolm Gunning says most of what you need to know as a purchaser you can do online.

Gunning says it’s not hard to work out the current market value of your property, which is “relatively good common sense”, and if you are going to move into an area, most of the information you require about an area – where are the best coffee shops, best schools, public transport services etc – can be researched yourself.

“That way when you go in to look at property, you are conscious of the strengths and weaknesses of the area, so you don’t necessarily have to be cold-sold to. There’s no excuse for being naive these days. Most of us can use computers.”

Apartment-buy considerations

When looking into purchasing an apartment for the first time, ensure you factor in ongoing strata costs, levies (including administration costs, planned projects and repairs), and have your paperwork looked over by an expert adviser so there are no nasty surprises once you move in.

Gunning says that when buying an apartment, the best method is to work out a “rate per square metre” – your unit value per square metre.

“If you’re buying a 90 square metre apartment and they want $1.1 million for it, then you know what that’s going to work out to per square metre. And you use that as a factor, plus or minus, when looking at apartments,” he says.

Downsizers

If you are selling your family home and downsizing to an apartment or townhouse, Gunning suggests you do an audit to ensure community living is right for you first.

“I went from a large family home where we had four children to an apartment. The biggest thing if you are going to downsize is to remember you only have a finite space. So, when you go from a house to living in an apartment it’s a very serious change in lifestyle. Declutter is essential,” he says.

“And you need to take stock of what your life is going to look like. If you have two cars for example you might not be able to get parking for two cars. If you have pets you need to ensure what you are going to buy is pet-friendly…then investigate the conditions on the property, such as learning about the by-laws for that apartment. What you can and can’t do.”

He says this will help ensure your community living purchase matches the lifestyle you want.

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