Apartment buying checklist

A quick checklist for buying an apartment in an Owners Corporation

Most Australian apartments are a combination of private and common (or strata) property managed by an Owners Corporation. This means more potential risk around liveability, building defects, owners corporation fees and more.  For investors, this can impact rental yields and asset value. It’s important to do your homework on both your apartment as well as the formal Owners Corporation and shared community it belongs to.

Here’s a quick checklist of key milestones for buying your apartment:

    1. Get finance approval from your bank so you know how much you can borrow
    2. Shortlist your preferred suburbs based on your budget and need (e.g. proximity to transport, parks, shopping, friends & family)
    3. Confirm your apartment needs (building size, age, bedrooms, bathrooms, parking, amenities, storage, views)
    4. Search and explore potential buildings and apartments and build a shortlist for inspections
    5. Research your apartment and its associated Owners Corporation to understand;
      • All outstanding and future owners corporation levies and other payables
      • Recent sales and rental activity in the property
      • Current/past building defects (including active building orders)
      • Notable apartment, building and/or owners corp management issues (e.g. current litigation involving the OC, community harmony, security issues)
      • Owners Corp special rules, noise, embedded energy and/or Internet, guest parking, storage, short stay, security and other potential liveability issues
    6. Engage qualified and experienced experts help you with your research. An owners corporation inspection is recommended (or a review of an existing report or Section 32 in Victoria) and a building inspection is recommended for smaller complexes. Building inspections typically do not investigate overall building issues other than the specific apartment. You could also engage a buyers advocate to assist with your appraisal, bidding and negotiation
    7. Have your legal partner review all documentation and contracts before signing a Contract of Sale. They can also draft any special conditions for you
    8. Arrange a pre-settlement inspection and additional building and/or Owners Corporation inspections if required
    9. Settlement day! Your legal partner will work with the vendor, their conveyancer and your bank to complete all contracts and agreements
    10. Insure your contents before moving in and book your move with the building team if required
    11. Enjoy your new apartment!