Top tips for buying an apartment as an investment

Expert tips

Real estate expert Andrew Winter, suggests choosing an apartment in an area where the unit features something unique to what houses in the area offers, such as water views, closer proximity to the station or other amenities*.

He also stresses the importance of choosing the right location, “Apartment living in outer suburban locations and rural areas is just not the norm. When something is not normal in the housing market it is often not sought by buyers” or renters for that matter. Inner city and urban locations are preferable for renters and future buyers and he believes should be considered as the preferable option by investors.

Be aware of the fees

Once a seller hands their property over, you immediately inherit all of the attached council and strata fees.

Strata fees cover the property’s grouped maintenance and building insurance fees and are collected by the building’s owners’ or manager. These fees are ongoing costs that will continue to absorb your finances, generally quarterly, even after your initial property purchase payment, so it’s important to incorporate these into your ongoing budget.

Understand the ratio of renters vs owner occupiers

The more central a building is the more popular it will be with the rental market and as an investor this can be positive. However, if the whole block is rental stock, it can affect demand. Tenants have more choice putting the power in their hands to negotiate on the price. Try and find out the ratio of renters to owner occupiers.

Orientation

Property experts agree that buyers should look for an apartment with light, views and practicality. In addition to that Andrew Winter suggests buyers “avoid units with no outlook or those that look on to air conditioning condensers or a solid brick wall” if you own a property like this expect the price to allow for this negative as many buyers won’t consider this aspect no matter how cheap.

What level is best?

Experts also suggest not paying a huge premium for apartments on higher floor in high rise buildings. Many renters and future buyers don’t like being over the 5th or 6th floor. Whilst young professionals may love a view from up high – they may not love being blown away every time they step outside.

If you’re looking at an apartment in a quieter suburb, your tenants will most likely be young families or empty nesters. These tenants often look for easily accessible but safe, smaller apartment blocks with a unit of the first two floors.

Outside space

Property expert Andrew Winter suggests that whenever possible you should buy an apartment with a balcony or terrace and ideally ensure it is big enough to put a table and 2 chairs. It offers a huge bonus to the people who live there and makes your property more popular for renters and buyers down the track.

Apartments are becoming increasingly popular in Australia and if you’re careful with your investment selection and pay the right price they are very popular with renters and can pay dividends in the future when you go to sell.

There is a whole generation of people leaving home or migrating to Australia who are looking at apartment living as their preferred choice. Buying an apartment as an investment is as safe as houses – if you buy the right one.

14 Ways to Prepare the Outside of Your Home to Sell

We all know the importance of good kerb appeal. It draws people in off the street and can make your home a bright star in your neighbourhood. But what about when you live in a flashy area, or are struggling to get traction during the sale process, even with what you think is kerb appeal maxed out to the limit?

Not everyone can find instant success with the standard moves for improving a home’s kerb appeal, so here we have compiled some more unorthodox methods that might get people talking about, coming to see and laying bids on your home for sale.

Water blast

Without spending too much money, hiring a water blaster is a great way to clean concrete areas of the front of your home. Sealing and hosing is well and good, but if you’ve been living there for quite a while, grime can build up a great deal.

A water blaster will brighten a grimy driveway significantly more than a regular hosing, by blasting away layers of grime. Just remember to check the safety manual before you turn it on . Then have a go, and watch your driveway gleam.

A paint refresh

If you want a quick fix to grab attention, a brand new paint job won’t go astray. But think outside the box with the colour you use, and maybe target only one area of the home. For example, the door, or wooden blinds, or even the post or frame for your letterbox. Something to grab the eye, but not enough to dominate the view of your home.

Sometimes the wandering eye of a home buyer just needs a little push in the right direction, and adding a tiny touch of bright red can do just that. From there, the eye can wander to the rest of your beautifully laid out property facade and – who knows? – maybe even all the way to a sale!

Colour Creations to Attract More Buyers

The garden is one place you can have fun with colour but rather than introduce lots of different colours into a small garden bed, try sticking to one shade, perhaps using varying tones. You can add instant colour with pots of whatever is in flower from the nursery.

Neat and Trim

Just like inside your house, your garden should be neat, tidy and clear of clutter. Weed your garden and keep the lawn trimmed when opening you home for inspection. Consider your plants – remove dead plants and replace with new specimens, but make sure they suit the conditions in your garden: you don’t want them to die before you sell.

Styling your Garden

You can give your garden a simple makeover before you sell by adding defining borders to your flower beds and adding a focal point. Timber borders are popular, or you can outline your beds with small shrubs or grasses. Add a few larger plants as focal points but keep them in proportion to the size of your garden.

Creating a Courtyard

Many houses today, particularly in the inner city, don’t have large gardens. Often there is only a small courtyard so it is important to maximise this space. The first step may be to create a focal point like a water feature, statue or urn. This should be placed at the furthest point from the entrance so your buyers vision is drawn a distance, giving a sense of space.

You can also give an illusion of space by paving the entire area with large pavers (500x500mm) to make the ground look wider and less busy. Don’t use any dark colours in your courtyard structures as these reduce the perception of space.

Trim and Slim the Trees

It’s a strenuous job, but those loose tree branches can be hazardous, especially with kids running around in the summer. Any low-hanging branches or parts that are blocking sunlight you want on your home should be cut back, but check with neighbours and local councils if they reach over a fence – you may need to get a permit!

Mulch Mulch Mulch

A great way to refresh plant beds and border your lawn with a bit of colour is to add some mulch. You can pick up many varieties at local garden stores and dispense it as you see fit! A nice shade to contrast with your green grass can make for a real eye-catcher for anyone who glimpses your lawn.

Add Interest to Your Doorway

If you have sufficient space, place a range of matching terracotta pots with plants against the wall near your entrance. For the average sized doorway use the pots up to a metre high. If your home is an older style, aged classic cone shaped pots with a rolled rim containing colourful flowers, like geraniums, will give a traditional welcome feeling. For more modern homes tall angular pots that taper downwards are very popular – add architectural plants like succulents for a dramatic effect.

Keep it Balanced

Try and keep everything symmetrical. If you are using pots and plants to add interest, put one either side of the entrance or you might like to hang two matching lanterns for a warm glow. The trick is to keep it simple and not clutter the space. This is an easy way to add character to your home without breaking the bank or distracting from other prominent features.

Step Inside and See the Light

Often hallways are narrow and dark. If your house suffer from this problem, try painting the walls white to lighten things up, or add a sky light. By adding more natural light it can increase the sense of space and comfort throughout your home. A broad runner will make a hallway seem wider.

Shabby Doors Need to be Spruced Up

Your front door is the first thing your buyers see, so if it needs a lick of paint get out the brushes! You might also consider a new handle or knocker – this is an inexpensive way to update your door.

Pave the Way to a Successful Sale

Guide buyers to your door with a paved pathway. Plain white pavers look terrific against a green lawn. If the steps to your front door look at a little shabby a great trick is to the tile the step rises, rather than ripping everything out and starting from scratch.

Maintain Your Privacy

In many areas, especially the inner city, security and privacy are selling points, so low to medium wall at the front of your house can appeal to buyers. Don’t forget to check with your local council to ensure all building regulations are met.