Strata properties make up quite a large percentage of the market both in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast. Where many first time strata buyers fall down is not understanding their responsibilities as owners in this set up. Purchasing in a strata property can be a great way into the market or perfect for those downsizing; make sure you understand your role with our important  hints and tips.

Phase 1: Research and Inspections

The fun begins! Purchasing a property can be a long and drawn out process but it is certainly recommended to get a good idea of what is available in the market. If you are inspecting properties in strata remember to ask the following:

  • What the strata fees are
  • What the council and water rates generally tend to be
  • If there is any major work needed or commencing soon
  • What you actually own, including car parks
  • Funds in the admin fund and the sinking fund
  • How old the complex is

These basic questions should give you a good idea of any additional costs you may face in the future, and any major works which may strip money from the sinking fund. You will also be able to work our your weekly costs when combining strata fees, water rates and council rates

Phase 2: Purchasing

This is where your conveyancing solicitor comes into play. Once you’ve signed a contract to purchase, your solicitor will do their due diligence into things like:

  • Search of the strata books which covers
    • Sinking fund and admin fund levels
    • Past recent meetings to identify any potential issues
    • Checking valid insurance

Your conveyancing solicitor should then advise you if all is clear or if there are any issues at play.

Phase 3: Responsibilities of Strata Buyers

Being aware of what you are responsible for as an owner is imperative. Due to the set up of each complex or high-rise building, you won’t always have the same responsibilities as your friend who lives in a building in the next suburb. Often issues arise surrounding gardening, painting, gutter cleaning and pest control. Generally a good rule of thumb is that if the section in question is on your lot, it is likely you will be responsible. Best to always check this out with your strata manager or building manager – they should be able to tell you quite quickly whether you need to pay for a gardener or if it is covered in your strata fees.

Purchasing in a strata set up can be good for those looking for properties with lower entry points to get into the market or for those looking to downsize. If you’re looking for a conveyancing solicitor to help you with your purchase as first time strata buyers, contact us today.