4 things to look for when buying a strata property

Here’s a startling, but true, fact: In our three biggest capital cities, more apartments are built than houses.

In Sydney, it’s been that way for more than 20 years, while in Melbourne and Brisbane it’s only over the past few years.

Do I think it will ever go back to the old way? brisbane-city-urban-apartment-tower-live-skyscraper-melbourne-off-the-plan-cbd-market

No. I don’t.

That’s because our population is growing, there is limited land supply in those cities, plus more and more people – young and old – are choosing to live in attached dwellings.

The good news is that investing in units or townhouses is a solid decision…

As you long you only choose investment-grade properties to start off.

Another key to successful unit investment is to understand the ins and outs of owning a strata property.

So to help you buy a good, rather than a bad, strata property, here are four things to look for.

1. Owners vs. investors

Owners in a strata scheme are called a body corporate or owners corporation

What this means is that they are responsible for the collective management, maintenance and insurance of common areas and facilities.

It’s usually better to have more owners occupiers than investors because they’re more likely to proactively keep the building to its optimum level.

Now that’s not because investors don’t care.

It’s more to do with the fact that investors aren’t onsite and can’t physically see any problems.

One of the other keys to successful strata investment is buy into a smaller complex, because they are more desirable to future owner occupiers who are prepared to pay more for property.

A smaller body corporate also means fewer owners to deal with and fewer owners who need to agree before a decision can be made.

2. A numbers game

In the rush and excitement that goes into buying a unit, many buyers fail to have a professional scrutinise the books and records of the body corporate.

This leaves them clueless to its current finances and unaware of the issues it might be facing.

A bad example might be that as a new owner you will automatically have exposure to major expenses or even law suits with neighbours!

The secret is to make sure that you check out the financials before you buy.

3. Repair history

Similar to checking out the books, you must complete a thorough investigation into the history of the building. 45168467_l

Has the building got ongoing problems that are costly to fix?

Will you be landed with a share of the bill to get a new roof within weeks of buying the property?

Most of the new multi-storey buildings I’ve been involved with over the past few years have had water issues with their balconies.

While sellers legally have to disclose any material facts about a property, some are actually selling because they don’t won’t to deal with an ongoing repair problem.

Don’t get lumped with a problem that you can avoid.

It’s as simple as getting a hold of past committee meeting minutes, which can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

4. Maintenance schedule

It’s an unfortunate fact that many bodies corporate don’t adequately plan for future maintenance.

This can be especially true with older schemes, which means you could inherit a property that hasn’t been adequately maintained over the years.

And that usually means money out of your pocket when the inevitable repairs (that could’ve been prevented!) start cropping up.

As well as assessing committee minutes for major problems, check whether the sinking fund is appropriately financial to undertake a long-term maintenance regime.

The bottom line…

The conclusion is that strata schemes are only as good as they owners within them. apartment

If you have a dormant body corporate that usually spells trouble for the future profitability of the complex.

Like I’ve said, investing in investment grade units and townhouses can provide capital growth potential and solid yields.

But not if you buy into a scheme that doesn’t even have any money saved for a rainy day or one where the owners don’t seem to care about the upkeep of the building.

Over the last few years we’ve built too many of the wrong type of apartment – many in high rise towers aimed at overseas investors.

Smart investors are steering clear of these investor dominated building for many reasons including no likely capital or rental growth for a decade and the scare of poor quality building issues.

However buying older established apartments (those that were previously called flats), villa units or townhouses, which are located in the right inner and middle ring suburbs of our capital cities, can make good investment sense.

 Take advantage of independent, unbiased investment advice


If you’re looking for independent advice, no one can help you quite like the independent property investment strategists at Metropole.

You can trust the team at Metropole to provide you with direction, guidance and results.

In “interesting” times like we are currently experiencing you need an advisor who takes a holistic approach to your wealth creation and that’s what you exactly what you get from the multi award winning team at Metropole.

If you’re looking at buying your next home or investment property here’s 4 ways we can help you:

  1. Strategic property advice. – Allow us to build a Strategic Property Plan for you and your family.  Planning is bringing the future into the present so you can do something about it now!  This will give you direction, results and more certainty. Click here to learn more
  2. Buyer’s agency – As Australia’s most trusted buyers’ agents we’ve been involved in over $3.5 Billion worth of transactions creating wealth for our clients and we can do the same for you. Our on the ground teams in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane bring you years of experience and perspective – that’s something money just can’t buy. We’ll help you find your next home or an investment grade property.  Click here to learn how we can help you.
  3. Wealth Advisory – We can provide you with strategic tailored financial planning and wealth advice. Click here to learn more about we can help you.
  4. Property Management – Our stress free property management services help you maximise your property returns. Click here to find out why our clients enjoy a vacancy rate considerably below the market average, our tenants stay an average of 3 years and our properties lease 10 days faster than the market average.

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Brett Warren


Brett Warren is Director of Metropole Properties Brisbane and uses his 13 plus years property investment experience to advise clients how to grow, protect and pass on their build their wealth through property. Visit: Metropole Brisbane

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