Apartments in Brisbane are generally more affordable than houses, making it the popular first home choice. Apartment buildings also have the best addresses, often located within the inner city hub, in most dynamic city fringe neighbourhoods, and in upscale suburban areas.
Convenience is apartments’ strongest selling point. Condo towers and apartment buildings are either just few blocks away from business centres, schools, and parks, or is next door to a train station. Home maintenance is taken care of, amenities comes with the home purchase, and in some buildings the concierge service is available.
But not all apartments in Brisbane are built the same. Your parent might urge you to buy a unit in the same they are living in and are very happy about. You might be tempted to purchase the tallest glass tower for all its chic presence. You could be making a mistake if you will just base your apartment choice on reputation and recommendation.
Avoid the horrible buyer’s remorse by practicing full diligence and doing your own research. Here are some pointers to consider when buying an apartment in Brisbane.
1. Condos are offered with discounts on off-the-plan sales – You can save few thousands by buying the apartment before its completion. This is ideal if you don’t need to move-in soon. Buying on pre-sell also gives you the chance to pick the unit and provide inputs on the design. It is not unusual for popular apartments to be sold-out months before its completion. Disadvantages include delivery dates not meet, actual building largely differs from the plans, and your housing needs changing.
2. Association fees and other incidental costs – Association fees are monthly charges you have to pay the building management and are directly proportional to the unit size and amenities offered. Before you decide on the building with the largest gym, the 24-hour concierge service, or the biggest indoor pool, consider its association fees. Are the fees within your monthly budget? Do you really need all the amenities?
3. Loan approval will include utilities and other expenses – When you’re buying a house, your loan review and approval will be computed on your monthly re-pays, taxes and insurance. If you are buying a Brisbane apartment, maintenance costs, utilities, and association fees will be factored into your loan review and approval.
4. The building association is dynamic – The association is made of owners, and once you move in to your apartment, you automatically become a member. It is the association that drafts the condo rules and regulations. The body can also change, add, or delete some provisions as they see fit. It is not enough that you review the existing set of rules, also check the history of changes. How often and how radical the changes? How are the board elected? Can you live within the rules?
5. Plan for the next five years – at least – A first home is often not the forever home. You can get married and have children, and therefor need a bigger home. You can change jobs, relocate, move up or down the financial metre, and simply wants a change. All these can lead to finding a new home that will better suit you. Make concrete plans on how you will deal with your Brisbane apartment. You can sell it off, or rent it out. Assess the investment advantage of the property before signing the contract. Are you making a good investment? Is it in a good location? Is the builder reputable enough?