A strata-titled unit in Brisbane… is it a good opportunity to buy more affordably in a desirable area, or too much red tape, fees and unit block politics to contend with?
Strata-titled units are a perfectly viable option for buyers with entry-level budgets wanting to get into inner-city locations.
When choosing one though, location is important. Units must be located within walking distance to amenity such as public transport and lifestyle precincts.
If hunting for a unit or apartment, what buyers need to be careful of is to not purchase in an area with an oversupply of these units, especially if considering new or near new units or apartments.
Also be aware that ground floor units can be perceived as the most insecure of the block, and as a result the re-sale price may not be as strong as those units higher up in the block; single females typically avoid buying or renting them.
Though if the ground floor unit is a large one, it could suit a small family wanting a private courtyard area rather than a first or second-level unit with balcony, which can be perceived as risky for young children. But here in Brisbane families aren’t a major player in units, it’s the students, singles and couples who are more likely to rent or buy them.
Bigger is indeed better. I know of some two-bedroom one-bathroom units in Brisbane smaller than 65sqm. That’s just too small. Instead I’m a big fan of buying larger than average units.
Also check how many car spaces come with the unit, there should be a minimum of one car space. With a larger unit plus one or two car spaces you’re more likely to have less tenant turnover, less vacancy, and a greater re-sale market in the future. How can you argue with that?
Now for some technical bits’n’pieces of finding a unit. When considering a unit, you need to investigate the body corporate. A body corporate is a committee of owners nominated to be in charge of the block’s welfare. Often the day-to-day running of the block and common area is outsourced to an independent company to manage, though sometimes a manager is located onsite. The body corporate’s role is essentially to manage maintenance of the building and common areas, and instigate any new works to be done.
What every buyer should always do is ensure the body corporate is active but not overpriced. Ensure the members of the body corporate are up to date on their payments. And very importantly, be sure to ask if there are any recent or upcoming body corporate works planned. If there are, this could be a negotiating factor on the price.
Hint: Request minutes from the last body corporate meeting to investigate their latest activities. Find out all the details of what levies you could be liable for. If the block has a pool or lift be aware that these will lift the levies significantly.
It’s a good idea to read over the body corp by-laws to have an understanding of what you can and can’t do.
Well that should get you started on your hunt for a unit. For more advice on if a unit is right for you, and where you should find one, give us a call.
Zoran Solano, Senior Buyers Agent @ Hot Property Buyers Agency