Buying a high rise apartment calls for careful scrutiny of the building.
A shortage of inner city land means more of us could be living in high rise apartments as developers are forced to go up rather than out. Living well above street level can have advantages but there are a few special issues to consider to make the experience enjoyable.
No matter whether you plan to occupy or rent out the apartment, it’s a major investment, and one factor that will underpin any growth in the property’s value is scarcity. High rise apartment blocks can contain hundreds of units – many very similar in layout and design. This can impact the capital growth potential of each unit.
Be aware too, the sheer number of units can make it harder to lobby for change in the body corporate if you have a particular view on how money should be spent on common areas.
How liveable is it?
High rise apartments inevitably bring great views though there are some safety considerations to address. First, how reliable is the lift? Living on the 21st floor may not be so much fun if the lifts require constant maintenance. Consider the building’s fire safety features too, and check that there is enough parking to comfortably house resident vehicles.
Cast a critical eye
Don’t just be wowed by fantastic views. Take a trip down to street level and look up over the building’s exterior. Clothes lines strung across balconies, a couple of dead pot plants here and there – it all starts to devalue what could be your biggest investment. Look for a development that appears fresh and well cared for rather than tired and shabby.
It stands to reason you should always check the strata levies applicable to a unit, though spending a few hundred dollars on a strata report can also alert you to possible future expenses like upcoming major repairs or even any ongoing legal action against the property owners.
Is it safe?
With a lot of people walking through the main entrance of the building each day, you need to feel safe in your high rise apartment. Check the intercom works, and take a look at how well common areas are lit especially at night.
Talk to your broker
It’s worth speaking with your Aussie broker before committing to a high rise apartment. Some lenders are reluctant to finance very small apartments, and it’s critical to know where you stand financially before planning to live with a bird’s eye view of the world.