5 features to look for in an apartment

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The timing has never been better to invest in property, with low interest rates and a depressed real estate market presenting a rash of opportunities for savvy buyers. 

And if you’re in the market to buy a unit, there are certain features you should look for to ensure that you stretch your dollar ever further, says Cate Dundon from www.buyersadvocate.com.au

To begin with, you need to do your research on your chosen areas using reputable data providers such as Residex or RP Data. 

“Target areas that have experienced capital growth of 10%+ over the last 15 years, using comparable sales evidence,” Dundon says. 

“Also look for a rental return of 4%+, with a vacancy rate less than 2% in the area.” 

Once you’ve used this information to settle on a location, you can then look for specific features. Topping Dundon’s list are the following: 

1. Internal size (sqm): A one-bedroom apartment should be a minimum of 50 sqm, a two-bedroom apartment 75 sqm+ and a three bedder above 120 sqm. 

2. Scarcity factor: “Go for small boutique blocks of less than 12 units,” she advises. “You’re looking for scarcity value, so check whether the block has different floor plans for each property and a combination of one and two bedroom apartments.” 

3. Floor plan: It should be practical and useable; “Open plan is always good in a small apartment,” Dundon says. 

4. Owners corporation:  Aim for low fees and a building that has no lifts or other expensive services that you’ll be required to maintain. “Ensure there are no major maintenance costs forthcoming with the owners corporation, and if there is, build this into the purchase price,” she suggests. 

5.Extras: The icing on the cake is extra features such as off-street car parking, a nice aspect (north facing is a bonus) and a private balcony or outdoor area. “It’s also ideal if the property is close to shopping, schools, recreational activities, parks and cafes,” Dundon adds.

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