Purchasing a Strata Unit or Investment Apartment: Look Out For These Signs Around the Property

Posted by Brad Porteus on 27 May 2014

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When first inspecting a Strata property for sale that you may intend to purchase, it is equally important and recommended that you perform a defect inspection not just on the unit itself, but also on the common property i.e. the overall unit or apartment block in which the unit is situated.

This is because the cost of the Common property’s building maintenance repairs are met by the Strata members, so before you buy a unit you need to be sure your Strata fees will not be hiked up covering repairs to dilapidated common areas.

Areas you’ll need to look at include the carparking areas, general courtyards, tennis courts, pool area, gymnasium, foyers, lobbies, hallways and lifts. The following list of items should be looked over during your inspection of the property.

1. Is there any evidence of any water leaks through boundary walls, retaining walls and suspended concrete slabs?

The carparking areas, especially if they are below natural ground level should be checked for water leaks past the suspended concrete slabs and perimeter walls. If the property has a pool that is on a suspended level, the underside area should be inspected if possible for any water leaks.  

2. Check the walls for large cracks?

The internal and external walls of the buildings, boundary and retaining walls should be visually checked to note any large wall cracks. Cracks that are greater than 2.0mm in width or properties with excessive cracking can be cause for concern and should be further inspected by a qualified Building inspector.

3. Check that the roof downpipes are running to storm water soak well drains

Do a quick walk around the external of the property to check that all roof downpipes are discharging into stormwater soak wells and not just discharging onto the ground. You should also look for any signs of past flooding or excess water flow around the roof downpipe bases as this can be an indication that the soak wells are not suitably sized or require cleaning out, which can be a costly maintenance item. To install stormwater soak wells on an established property can be very expensive, as paving, concrete and garden beds may need to be excavated to install the drains.

4. Are there areas of the common property cordoned off?

This may be an indication of a problem or maintenance repairs. The reason for the areas being isolated should be asked at the time of your site inspection.

5. If you are having a Pre Purchase building inspection done request that the inspector also checks the common property

This may cost slightly more than your standard unit inspection but will be well worth it if it uncovers structural or significant defects to the common areas.

While you should look out for these warning signs at all home opens and sales you attend in order to rule out unsuitable properties at an early stage, it is important to also book a professional pre-purchase building inspection of any Strata unit you are seriously considering purchasing before you sign the papers.

Once you do find a suitable Strata unit that you want to lease, we also offer Strata Building Maintenance Inspections and Defect Reports to maintain the status and value of your investment.