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Age before beauty

The thought of owning more on their mortgage than their home is worth has seen an increasing number of home buyers look at older style strata properties as a more stable place to park their finances.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows the number of apartments being built in high-rise buildings in Australia every year has tripled in less than a decade, jumping from 30,000 in 2007 to 90,000 in 2015.

But as the apartment boom raged, an oversupply of new apartments, falling property prices and issues with defects on a number of new builds means apartments built prior to this time have become an increasingly attractive proposition for those trying to insure themselves against buying a lemon.

And their interest is not without merit as there are many advantages to buying into an older-style apartment complex. While they may not have the state-of-the-art amenities blocks many off-the-plan developments offer residents, older apartments – particularly those built in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s – are often cheaper, larger and boast more character.

But as with standalone houses, it is important to do your homework on any type of strata property before you invest.

While a little bit of peeling paint, cracked arches or stained carpet is easily repairable and unlikely to break the bank, it is best to put aside a contingency fund for any larger repairs that may be required prior to taking over ownership.

In older apartments would-be buyers should begin by looking for structural damages that may have to be repaired at a future time. Aside from obvious cracks in the walls or flooring, this includes things such as having water pipes inspected and looking out for seepage or clogged drains.

If you are planning to run heavy wattage appliances, it’s also best to check the age and quality of wiring before signing on the dotted line as faulty or unsafe wiring could not only damage your light fixtures, TV, computer or other appliances but could pose a safety hazard or start a fire.

As well as looking in your roof cavities, inspecting all walls, ceilings, bathrooms, toilets, laundries and kitchens for signs of damp spots or mould is also advised.

As with the purchase of all property, location is king. But in terms of older strata apartments, townhouses or units it’s not just the suburb or street address we’re talking about but where your future home or investment is located within the building.

In some older style strata complexes gaining access to adequate ventilation or natural light can prove challenging – particularly if the property you are looking at is located on a lower floor.

In this instance property experts recommend purchasing properties located at the top or near the top of the building. Not only do they ensure a better view and minimise the chance of your light being blocked by surrounding structures, they also minimise the chances of dampness or leakage from residences located on higher levels.

Whether you choose to invest in a new building or an older style apartment, Smarter Communities has specialist managers ready to provide specialist advice. Call 1800 642 519 for an obligation free quote.

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