Five things to look for when buying an apartment

For many, apartments are an ideal first home or property investment. While there are lots of things to consider when looking to buy the right apartment for you, we’ve compiled the five most important things you should have on your search checklist.

Smart strata buying: Obtaining and reviewing the strata report

A strata report will provide useful insight into the history of a building, along with important information about owning a property in it - such as its by laws, current finances, pending building works, past works, special levies, and all expenses for the past couple of years. It is always advisable to have a professional review the strata report as an additional measure, so they can ensure there’s nothing important you may have missed.

Although building and pest inspection reports are less common in the purchase for apartments and can be limited in their scope and depth compared to a strata report, they might be helpful where you or your solicitor/conveyancer identify any issues that could have structural impacts on the apartment you’re considering purchasing. 

Also be sure to scrutinise the building’s finances and any planned works. You’ll want to know what the annual owners’ corporation fees are, if there are any outstanding debts, and what the state of its sinking fund looks like. This can help inform your financial planning, and better understand what financial position the building is in.

A clear indication of the building’s finances, including the health of its sinking fund, will help you understand if future works such as upgrades or repairs to common property can be funded in full. The capital works fund forecast is a ten year projection of expected works required by law, and gives you an idea of what work may need to happen in the future, so you can assess the sinking fund’s balance against covering these costs. If the funds are inadequate, owners may be looking at paying a special levy to account for these works.

Assess builder's reputation and warranty status

There’s no better indicator of a builder or developer’s capability than how their past projects look post completion, and how many properties they’ve built in the past. It’s also worth finding out if any complaints have been lodged against them before.

In the event you come across any building defects as an owner, it’s worth knowing if the apartment is still in the builder’s warranty period which is six years for major defects and two years for minor defects work from the date of completion of the works.

Home renovations: What changes are permitted?

If you plan to do any renovations, find out what is possible in the building and what will require strata approval. It’s also worth knowing if there’s any precedence that may restrict you, or make things harder. 

For example, you may want to install floorboards but face an owners corporation which makes it challenging and costly by requiring approval at an annual general meeting (as opposed to a regular strata committee meeting), or mandating an acoustic engineer report for a noise assessment. 

Furry friends welcome? Checking the building's pet policy

When it comes to the law, new legislation was introduced in August 2021 preventing an owners corporation from restricting ownership of pets, unless the pet causes a nuisance, hazard or unreasonable interference to other residents.

Owners corporations can still create their own rules for pets in buildings, so you’ll want to check your scheme’s by-laws if you have a furry friend who will be living with you, as you may need to inform them or the strata committee in writing first.

Happy neighbours, happy home: gauging building harmony

Committee minutes and email correspondence can tell a lot about the harmony, or lack of, in a specific building, including the details of any owner disputes, as well as insight into how the owners’ corporation is run.


An apartment is a great first step into the property market, and the real estate experts at Chidiac can partner with you to make it happen with ease.


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