The property ladder is, more often than not, unkind to first time buyers. If you have ambitions of one day owning a home, start out by buying into a strata title property. There are pros and cons of this fast track into the property market, so it is important to know what you are getting into with any given property.
Units, townhouses, or apartments are the most common types of properties that are sold as part of a strata title scheme. As the buyer, you are making an investment that results in ownership of the space within your lot. However, the owners’ corporation owns the physical building and any associated lands.
Demographic trends show that with our growing ageing population, empty nesters and solo buyers are increasingly seeking strata title living for its associated inner city lifestyle and amenity. Having the ability to lock and leave for extended travel appeals to these owners. Little or no maintenance is another bonus associated with owning strata title property, as this issue is dealt with by the owners’ corporation.
All common areas come under the ownership of the owners’ corporation, which you become part of when buying into a strata title property. There are also legal and contractual obligations that each owner must abide by as a member of the owners corporation. Strata levies, rates and taxes are additional payments that members of the scheme must pay every few months.
Strata Property Maintenance
As soon as you contractually agree to become part of a strata title scheme, you share joint responsibility for maintenance of the building. That includes the repair of any pre-existing defects in your own property or common areas. It is therefore recommended that those considering buying a strata title property should inspect the building and common areas before committing to a legal contract.
To save yourself time and stress, ensure that you are entitled to hire an independent third-party building inspector to assess the property. Some owner corporations may only allow inspection of the individual property, as opposed to the areas shared by all residents.
Even if you are restricted in how extensively the property can be inspected for defects, a handover inspection will reduce the likelihood of getting locked into a contract with significant maintenance costs. An experienced builder can also inspect common areas and visible structures without encroaching on the privacy of other owners.
Adapting your Space
Another issue to consider is adapting your space to reflect you as a person. Strata title property contracts typically include restrictions when it comes to renovations. If you are using the strata title as a stepping stone to better things, these restrictions may not present much of an issue. However, if you plan on settling down for the long term, the inability to change your surroundings could become stifling.
Again, a handover inspection can help you better understand limitations with renovations and other changes you want to make in the property. Regardless of your long-term intentions, you are likely to spend several years in a strata title property. Saving money and getting on the property ladder is one thing but living in reasonable comfort is also important.
Strata Title Building Inspections
When you hire a building inspector to assess a potential property for defects and other issues, it is important that the individual or company understands how strata title properties work. You are not purchasing a traditional, standalone home. There are different considerations that need to be taken into account when inspecting the property.
Houspect has provided inspection services for countless strata title property owners. We understand how to produce a handover report that gives you the information you need. Our commitment to tailoring building inspections to the individual is one of the reasons Victorian homeowners consistently trust our qualified builders to provide unbiased inspection reports.
If you are in the process of buying into a strata title scheme, reach out to Houspect for further advice or to book a handover assessment. We are ready to help you make informed property choices in Victoria.