• John Tobin

Things to Consider Before Buying a Strata Property

Investing in a strata property can be a wise decision, which is why an increasing number of Australians prefer to live in apartments rather than detached suburban homes. Apartment living is not only a more cost-effective way to enter the property market; it also provides minimal maintenance, the convenience of living closer to city centers, and a community atmosphere.

Strata living has many advantages, but it is critical to conduct thorough research before purchasing a strata property. Before you sign on the dotted line and move into your dream apartment, you should carefully consider whether you've chosen the best property and community for you. Here are eight things to think about before purchasing a strata property.

What You Actually Own

As a general rule, each lot owner owns the air space within the boundaries of their own lot – essentially the inside of their apartment or unit. Any land or structures that are not part of a lot are considered common property. Consider what your prospective property has to offer and whether it will meet your needs. Learn more about:

● Are parking spaces and garages included in your allotment, or are they considered common property?

● What exactly is included in the list of inclusions? Most fixtures are included, but it's always a good idea to double-check.

● Will you have a driveway, a garden, or a courtyard?

● Are there any restrictions on the use of common property that you should be aware of?

What You Have to Pay

The fees paid by all owners fund the building's maintenance, repair, and operation, and are an essential component of any strata scheme. Levies are one of the advantages of living in a strata, as they allow you to delegate property maintenance and upkeep to someone else rather than having to do it yourself.

The actual amount of levies varies greatly between buildings and is determined by a variety of factors, so you'll need to know how much you'll be required to pay – and when. Keep in mind that levies can differ even among lot owners in the same building, depending on the size of each lot and the amenities available to each lot.

What By-laws Are in Place

All strata schemes are governed by by-laws, which manage how owners must behave in common areas such as noise, pets, parking, safety and security, use of common property, damage, and the appearance of the building. This is not a complete list, and many other items may be applicable depending on the scheme in question.

Before you decide to join the scheme, you should consider whether the by-laws are a good fit for you since they will affect your day-to-day life in a variety of ways. Examine the by-laws thoroughly before you buy, as there's no point in investing in a strata scheme that imposes by-laws you know you can't or don't want to follow.

Who Is in Charge

An owner's corporation (or body corporate) manages strata properties, which may include a body corporate committee that represents all lot owners in the scheme. The committee makes decisions on all issues affecting the owners. If you want to have a say and be a part of the decision-making process in your new building, consider joining the committee (and find out what that involves). If you're willing to let others make decisions on your behalf, at the very least find out who is on the committee.

Who’s Responsible for Maintenance

The body corporate is responsible for the upkeep of common property and, in some cases, non-common property elements of a building.

The survey plan (building format plan or standard format plan) for a community titles scheme establishes the boundaries between the lots and the common property.

Every lot owner should be aware of the type of plan that applies to their property because it is critical in determining whether or not an area is common property and who is responsible for maintenance.

You will have rights and responsibilities not only for your own property, but also for the common property shared with other owners in your complex.

It is critical to ascertain the costs of maintenance and general upkeep of the common property, such as shared driveway, elevators, stairways, swimming pools, tennis courts, roadways, and golf courses.

They are also responsible for the Fire Safety requirements of the buildings. This is important for the safety of the occupants and the buildings. The strata manager or body corporate is responsible for the Fire Equipment ensuring it is of the standards set by the QBCC and serviced on a regular basis in order to maintain the efficiency.

The Building’s History

If you're a new owner, you don't want to inherit a lot of maintenance and repair issues if possible. As a result, before making a purchase decision, it is critical to investigate the property's history. Request past committee meeting minutes to become acquainted with what has been going on.

Find out if the building has had any ongoing issues that have been difficult or expensive to resolve in the past. In addition, request to see the maintenance schedule to determine if the building has been properly maintained in the past, especially the fire protection system. You wouldn’t want to live in a place with no fire exits or with a faulty sprinkler system.

Wrapping Up

When you purchase a body corporate property, you are purchasing a complex with other owners. This means that you own your own lot but share ownership of the common areas, such as pools and gardens, with the other owners. Hence, you need to consider the things we discussed before deciding to invest in a body corporate property.

One key factor to consider when purchasing a strata property is due diligence of the condition of the fire safety systems and equipment, especially as most fire safety systems have a 5 or 10 year requirement for in depth inspections and maintenance works, which can be very costly if the site or systems have not been maintained by a diligent or adequately licensed fire contractor.

If you need a second opinion when it comes to the Fire Safety within your building, call SAFE on 1300 50 7233 or send us an email

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