Whether you’re a first home buyer, downsizing or moving to a more densely populated area, the option of purchasing a strata or community titled property has its own unique points to consider before signing the contract.
Let’s have a look.
As you’d expect, you’ll be paying for utilities, phones, water rates and council rates. In addition, you also have to contribute to your strata fund. Levies (body corporate fees) are regular contributions that are used for the general maintenance and management of the group.
Levies are likely to be calculated by the size of each lot and are used to cover common property items such as:
- Swimming pools
- Restoration of ageing buildings
- Administration costs
- Cleaning of common area
You may also be asked to pay a special levy to cover unexpected or extraordinary expenses (i.e. swimming pool cracking beyond basic maintenance).
In general, strata complexes will be set in close quarters.
We’re talking about:
- Shared walls
- Common areas (driveways, gardens)
- Garage space
- Potential noise issues
- THAT neighbour (The one that always needs to have a long conversation….)
This arrangement isn’t for everyone and if you like your space, it can be a big lifestyle change.
These living arrangements require a set of rules, some simple, some complex and some unwritten.
Strata by-laws regulate what can and can’t be done.
They help determine matters like:
- whether you can install air-conditioning
- whether you can drill into common walls
- if you can have a clothesline
- if you can have additional shelter added to your unit
- pet ownership
Once a year (minimum) you can attend a meeting about the running of the scheme. You don’t have to attend, but at least you should nominate a proxy in your place. This is when important decisions are generally made, so it pays to be there.
These meetings are also the best format to raise concerns and ideas, and provide feedback to the all concerned.
Remember, it differs
Each strata and community scheme can work differently, that’s why we at Fox Stevens Conveyancing recommend you get the strata records inspected prior to purchase, to help you make the most informed decision you can BEFORE you sign that contract.