Looking To Buy An Apartment? Here’s Some Good Advice

Buying property is a major financial commitment, so it is surprising that many people start the search for their ideal home without having made some important decisions beforehand. How it will be financed, the size of the deposit, the location, desired features, whether it will be a free standing property or an apartment are all decisions that should be driving the search process.

What is a Strata Title?

If the choice is made to buy an apartment, buyers unfamiliar with the concept of strata title should seek out knowledge about this type of ownership. The best decisions are informed ones so people looking at just the advantages of group living should also consider any disadvantages, to ensure that they are happy with the final choice.

Know What You Want Before You Start Looking

Apartment living suits many people for a range of reasons, but before rushing off to buy the first one you see, take some advice from our experienced sales people at Bunbury Real Estate. Make a list of the things you absolutely must have in an apartment, the things that would be nice but are not essential, and most important, what you definitely don’t want.

This helps everyone involved to focus on the target and reduces the frustration buyers feel when inexperienced selling agents take them to properties that are never going to be suitable. Having said that, also consider the possibility that the perfect apartment may not be available right where you want to live.

Can you Compromise to Get What You Want?

To prepare yourself for this eventuality there are a couple of strategies to consider. Realise that you may have to compromise. Look through your list of absolute musts to see if there are a couple of things you could live without. At the same time, go through the things you don’t want and imagine what it would be like if you had to live with one of them. It might not be so bad, and could give you the keys to everything else you desire.

Great Apartment – Poor Management. Is this a Problem?

Ask questions about the strata management of the building. This is important but is often overlooked by over-eager buyers. The apartment might look perfect and have everything you want, but if the complex itself is poorly managed, there could be problems maintaining and using the common areas, or financial issues with the Council.

Inspect the common areas as well as the apartment itself, because once you have purchased, you are also a part owner of these. Is the pool clean, are the parking areas marked, does the fencing need attention, have the lawns and gardens been maintained, are the stairwells and lifts clean?

Be Informed and Enjoy the Chase

We can help you find your perfect apartment, but if you are well informed and clear about what you want, you will enjoy the searching process just as much as finally moving in.

What To Do When Tenants Vacate And Leave Their Possessions Behind

Currently in Australia, around 35% of households are rentals. Most of the people in these rentals observe the conditions of their rental agreements, paying their rent on time and treating the properties with respect. Of the small proportion that do not, some simply abandon their rental and their possessions, often leaving no forwarding details.

Breaking the News to the Owners

These actions create a significant problem for the rental agents. First, they have to advise the property owner that the tenant has gone, possibly owing rent. Then they have to explain that, by leaving their possessions behind, the property must remain vacant until due process has taken place.

Fortunately, at our agency, this does not happen often, as our tenant selection process is quite rigorous and includes employment and reference checks. However, after all our years at Bunbury Real Estate we expect the unexpected and have procedures in place to deal with these situations.

In Western Australia, there is a legal process that must be followed to clear the property for the next tenants. The first move is easy, as we are permitted to dispose of perishable foodstuffs within two days. After that, it gets a little more complicated.

State Government Certificates and Official Notices Required

We then assess the estimated value of the remainder to separate them into “goods of little or no value” and “goods of value”. For the former, we apply to the state government for an Abandoned Goods Certificate. This protects us from any claims by the tenants should they return to collect their possessions. We must give the department the details of the tenants and the property, as well as an itemised list and colour photographs. We then wait for official notice that we can dispose of the property.

Agents Required to Safely Store Goods of Value

For goods of value, and important documents, we must immediately arrange to store them in a safe place and manner for at least 60 days. Using the appropriate departmental forms, we must notify the tenant at their last known contact address of our intent concerning their property. We must also advertise this intention in a state wide newspaper. This allows someone with a legal right to the goods to collect them within 60 days.

Auction of Unclaimed Goods Permitted after Due Process

If the goods are not claimed within 60 days, we have the legal right to sell them on auction, and recover any removal, storage and sale costs. We then pay any balance through the Magistrates Court to the Rental Accommodation Fund, discharging our liability. If we are owed back rent or damages from the tenancy, we can make a claim from this deposit.

This process is fair to everyone, including the property owner, who can have the property tenanted again after 60 days. No agent can just seize abandoned property as compensation. This legal process protects everyone involved, and any ongoing disputes are settled in court.

Apartment Living – A Lifestyle That Suits a Changing Society

As the demographic mix of our Australian society changes, things that older generations took for granted as being a way of life are being challenged. Couples are marrying later in life, or not at all. Women are waiting until their 30s, and later, to start a family, and apartment living as a lifestyle is a conscious choice for many people.

There is no doubt that this style of housing would not suit people who approach maintaining a yard and garden as a hobby. For those who have other interests, however, apartment living, whether renting or buying, has several advantages. At Bunbury Real Estate we receive constant enquiries from owners wanting to rent their apartment, and tenants looking for somewhere to live.

Reduced Rent and Energy Costs

Tenants often comment to us that since they have moved into an apartment, their overall costs are lower than when they were renting a house. Firstly, the smaller floor area of most apartments compared with an average house means that energy costs for heating and cooling are reduced. Secondly, the rent or mortgage repayments for an apartment are usually cheaper than for a free-standing house.

Busy lifestyles don’t leave much time for property maintenance, and for an apartment dweller who is renting, a call to the property manager hands the problem over to someone else. Most apartment complexes have a gardener who looks after the lawns and gardens, and keeps the driveways clean. Tenants can still have indoor plants and vertical gardens for a touch of greenery inside with little maintenance needed.

The Comfort of Secure Premises

The apartments we manage for owners have a range of different security systems. This makes it more difficult for intruders to gain unauthorised access to the premises than to a house. Our tenants like this extra level of personal protection and they report feeling safer because there are other people in close proximity to them in the complex. Often apartments also have secure, off-street parking providing added security for vehicles and the occupants as they enter and exit.

Use of Amenities without the Maintenance

The extra amenities that come with some of our apartments are also a big hit with our tenants. Not only do they have the use of swimming pools, tennis courts, gyms, barbeque areas and other amenities, but they don’t have to spend hours maintaining them. This gives them a lifestyle that they would not be able to afford if they were renting a house.

The final advantage that our tenants often talk about is the freedom they experience with apartment living. Rather than being tied down to a mortgage and a particular area, they can move around in response to job opportunities or just because they want a change of scenery. The one thing that doesn’t change is that they ask our property managers at Bunbury Real Estate to search for something suitable when they want to move on.