Downsizing to an apartment? Three crucial questions to ask before buying
If you’re downsizing and buying a new apartment to simplify your life, there are a few things you need to ask so you don’t do the complete opposite and make your life more complicated. Without asking the right questions you can open yourselves up to building expenses that could cost you thousands of dollars.
The controversy over flammable cladding is a prime example and just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many building issues that can cost big money down the track if you don’t do your homework.
The key to avoiding the ‘Downsizing cost trap’ is to ask the right questions during the buying stage. So before diving into buying an apartment, be sure to ask:
1. Can I see the books and records for the building?
You want to see the history of the building, read the by-laws and any changes to ensure they fit your lifestyle. Verify if there are any building issues, read the meeting minutes, check for compliance, check the financial status and dig deep by looking into the correspondence. If in doubt, engage a fully qualified company to obtain a proper strata inspection report.
2. How do you ensure that the strata information that protects my investment isn’t lost or misplaced over the years?
When buying into a building you want to ensure your information is protected and available to all stakeholders. In the past information has been stored in boxes and digital dumps of information and only the current strata information is available, depending on what the strata managers or owners corporation have decided is important enough to keep. As every strata business and owners corporation have different processes and software / email applications it is really easy for information to be lost over the years.
3. Has the building got any ongoing problems that could be costly to fix in the future?
Ask this question to determine any building issues that you might be obliged to pay for in the future. Has a special levy been struck to cover the cost of issues such as cladding, structural or plumbing? You may want to ask follow up questions to determine if the appropriate cause of action has been taken with the right consultants engaged to rectify any issues.
If you’re unsure about the hurdles associated with buying an apartment should consider seeking advice from a property expert. We also recommend you consult with a strata inspection company to obtain a ‘building health check’ and this will give you the knowledge and confidence when making a purchase into a strata scheme.
When buying into a building there needs to be transparency with the books and records. The threat to your investment information can be mitigated by our leading industry platform – StrataVault – where all the strata information is secured and protected and communication with all stakeholders is stored online and available through any web-enabled device for the life of the scheme no matter who manages or owns within the scheme.