What to look for when buying an apartment

Not all apartments are made equal, or will suit your lifestyle. Here's how to choose the right apartment for you.

Barker New Farm

Apartment living is becoming an increasingly attractive option for renters and homeowners in Queensland. Not only is there plenty of supply (particularly in the state’s capital), living in an apartment is often a more affordable option that can in fact afford you a more convenient lifestyle. But, being spoiled for choice does mean you’ll have to make tough decisions, and not all apartments are made equal, or will suit your lifestyle. To help with the decision-making process, and stop you from making costly mistakes, Queensland Homes sought some expert advice from Wood Peters Property, who recently completed their Barker New Farm development.

Barker New Farm

What are the crucial elements people should be looking for when purchasing an apartment?

It is important to look first and foremost at the space that you will be occupying on a daily basis. What is the level of finish and is the build quality of a high standard? Find out who the builder actually is and make sure they have a good reputation. Has the developer tried to cut corners to save costs by installing cheaper appliances or B-grade finishes? Are the living areas and bedrooms well lit with natural light? The little things like finishes and lighting end up being big things when you are living in a space.

Barker New Farm

What aspects of the apartment building in general are important?

Location and amenity are the two most important things. Buying an apartment should be a lifestyle choice. Apartments within walking distance to cafes, restaurants, bars, shops, green spaces and public transport enhance the liveability of the apartment. Density should also not be overlooked. Buildings with more than 30 to 40 units are considered high-density. High-density living is best avoided unless your desire is to live in the CBD, with the danger of it being the potential for a lack of community within the building.

Barker New Farm

What are some of the common problems people can encounter when purchasing an apartment?

Inexperienced buyers may overlook the ongoing costs of owning an apartment within a Body Corporate Community Title Scheme. Body corporate levies, also known as strata fees, are usually invoiced quarterly, but calculated annually. Body corporate fees tend to be expensive in buildings with unnecessary ‘selling points’ such as gyms, large lap pools, additional elevators and onsite managers or caretakers. While these amenities seem like a point of difference at the time of purchase, in reality they just cost extra to maintain with little use or long-term benefit. In some instances, fees can surpass $20,000 per annum, which is a very expensive addition to the cost of everyday living.

Barker New Farm

Are there any red flags people should look out for when buying an apartment?

New residential apartments specifically targeting investors can be a huge red flag for buyers looking to find an apartment for their own occupation. Typically compiling one and two bedroom apartments, buildings marketed toward investors often tend to contain apartments designed or constructed with compromise at the expense of future residents’ liveability.

Barker New Farm

There is a lot of talk around there being plenty of apartment stock in the Brisbane market. How does Barker New Farm cut through the competition?

By catering to our target market of downsizers, Barker New Farm delivers a product that provides all the luxury of a multi-million dollar house but without the upkeep and maintenance. All apartments come standard with SUB ZERO & WOLF appliances, European oak parquetry flooring, Concordia marble splashbacks, Corian benchtops, travertine, and limestone bathrooms… the list goes on. The level of finish and craftsmanship is an example of the point made earlier about looking out for the finer details. We also worked hard to keep Body Corporate Fees low, at only $4000 approx. per annum. As part of our marketing strategy, we actually waited until construction had finished before selling any of the apartments. We wanted people to experience the uniqueness and the luxury first-hand. This is something that wouldn’t be possible if we were selling apartments off the plan, which is typical these days, but buyers run the risk of having sub-par finishes, or not what they were originally promised when buying off the plan.

Barker New Farm

How will you know an apartment is right for you?

At the end of the day, you’ll know a good apartment when you find one. The feeling you get when you first walk in the door or the life you envisage yourself living once you move in, that’s what matters. Also, size matters. Always compare apartments based on internal floor area, then add on things like balconies, terraces or car spaces. Some agents may advertise the gross floor area to make an apartment seem bigger than it is. Be thorough with your search and you’ll find the perfect apartment for your lifestyle.

Images: Barker New Farm