An increasing number of people are buying into strata titles across the east coast of Australia. With the first homeowner grants available for new homes, many people are choosing to invest in strata communities with many new developments continuing to pop up.
At SSKB we have put together a list of important topics to review and research when buying into strata.
1. Review the Financials
The financial status of the Body Corporate/Owners Corporation is very important for potential buyers. Check to see if the Body Corporate/Owners Corporation has sufficient funds in their administration and sinking funds. Verify if lot contributions are paid regularly or if there are a large number of levy arrears. If any major works are planned, make sure there is sufficient funding so that you won’t be asked to make a substantial special levy contribution as soon as you move in.
2. Get a Feel for the Community
The community may present itself as harmonious and well-functioning to potential buyers. However, on-going disputes which may affect your enjoyment of the scheme may be lying under the surface.
An easy way to identify this is to read the committee meeting and AGM minutes. Minutes will highlight any areas of concern, and also reveal if repairs are actioned quickly, if members cooperate, and if there are ongoing disputes between owners.
3. Check Details Which Will Affect You
Your real estate agent may assure you that there will be no problem bringing your furry friend into your new apartment but check the by-laws yourself. Pets may be allowed, but there might be restrictions on the type and size of pet. Another common concern in strata living is parking. Make sure you check how the car parking works in the scheme, for example, if there is a specific park allocated to each unit.
4. Check for Building Defects
As with the purchase of any building property, ensure you have building inspections which are performed by an expert. Reviewing the financials will inform you if the Body Corporate/Owners Corporation has defects they are aware of and have planned to rectify, but there might be defects in your lot which you want to be aware of before you finalise purchase.
5. Searching Records
With any significant purchase, it is important to be well informed. Doing the research now can save you possible shock and distress when you receive higher-than-expected levies, or are not allowed to bring your dog into your new home. The information you find may not mean you do not purchase the unit, instead, it will allow you to make an informed offer based on all the factors. You can access the records for all SSKB managed schemes, simply call our Client Solutions Team on 07 5504 2000 and ask to book a search in your local SSKB office.
Buyer’s Final Checklist
- Be aware you’re buying into a community, not just an apartment
- Be knowledgeable of contracts the Body Corporate/Owners Corporation is a party to
- Read and understand Body Corporate/Owners Corporation by-laws and how they apply to you
- Be knowledgeable about your ongoing maintenance and financial contributions
- Be aware of the role of the Body Corporate/Owner Corporation Manager and Building Manager (if your scheme has one)