6 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Your First Apartment

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Buying a property is very exciting! It’s even more exciting when it’s your first property.

If you are looking to buy an apartment, as opposed to a family home, there are several additional considerations to be aware of.

These 6 questions to ask will ensure you know the ins and outs of your new apartment before you commit to it.

1. What are the associated Owners Corporation costs?

Owning an apartment often comes with a few extra expenses you may not have anticipated. One of these costs is with the Owners Corporation.

The Owner’s Corporation is the governing body for the building your apartment is in. This governing body decides building rules and makes decisions on building repairs and upgrades.

Of course, there are fees associated with the operations of the Owners Corporation and you need to find out what they are before you buy.

On average, Owners Corporation fees are about $200 per month, but of course, they can vary.

Make sure you know, understand, and budget for this cost ahead of time.

Also, when analysing the building’s Owners Corporation, you want to make sure you understand the type of work they do. Try to get a copy of the body’s previous meeting minutes. This will give you insight on any issues the building may have and how the Owners Corporation handles them.

2. What’s the parking situation?

In big cities where apartment buildings are more common, parking spaces are hard to come by.  This is also true for the dedicated parking spaces with apartment buildings.

Often, apartment complexes don’t have enough parking space for all of the tenants. As a result, parking spaces might cost more, or could be available only on a first come first serve basis.

With that, you could be left with nowhere to park in your new apartment.

To avoid that potential disaster, make sure you thoroughly understand the parking situation before you buy. If the real estate agent is selling parking spaces at a premium, try to negotiate one in your housing contract, if you can afford it.

If not, make sure that you are able to work out a reliable parking solution for your vehicle.

3. Are there any plans for construction/growth in your new area?

It’s important to know how the community in which you want to buy is developing. Additional apartment buildings or high rises could mean that you lose a city view that you paid extra for.

New construction in your area could also mean extended delays and prolonged road closures.

Consider any potential developments in your decision to buy.

But keep in mind that new growth and construction is not necessarily a bad thing. New construction could bring new amenities within walking distance. It could also increase and strengthen the sense of community in the area.

4. What are the vacancy rates?

When buying an apartment, it’s important to weigh the vacancy rates against the age of the apartment building. If the building is brand new, then it might be reasonable if it has higher rates of vacancy. If the apartment is more established, then it should bring you a bit of pause if the vacancy rates are high.

Why aren’t more people moving into the building?

And while the low vacancy might be helpful in decreasing your odds of noisy neighbours, it will also likely decrease your property value and lessen your chances of finding a renter if you decide to do so in the future.

5. How close is it to public transportation and other amenities?

As previously discussed, being in an apartment could mean fewer parking options. With that, you might not want to move your car around very often and risk losing your coveted spot.

This is where public transportation options are very helpful. Having close access to public transportation means you can still get to where you need to go without having to move your car if parking reliability is shaky.

Also, close public transportation usually means there are other amenities nearby.

If you are buying an apartment, odds are that you like the city life and being in the mix of things. So, you want to make sure you can take full advantage of that by buying an apartment in a walkable area with lots of retail, restaurant, and leisure opportunities.

Even better if your place is close to schools and employment facilities!

6. What are the building rules?

In investigating the Owners Corporation, you should also make sure that you understand the housing rules that come with your building.

  •      What types of pets can you own?
  •      What is the noise ordinance?
  •      Is home-sharing allowed?
  •      Do you have the option to lease out your space?

Knowing the rules and culture of your building is important. It can be the difference between finding a place where you really fit in, or buying into a building where you are completely miserable.

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