Developed & off the plan – What to look for.
Recently Tony Johnson of Stratarama was asked to attend and speak at a Finance Society’s First Home Buyers Seminar to provide information for those looking to purchase for the first time in a Strata or Community Titled property here in South Australia.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a First home buyer or anyone looking to purchase into a Community or Strata titled property in SA, its important to understand what you are purchasing and be aware in advance of placing an offer, that you are not entering into the purchase of a Torrens Titled property. The purchase you may be making comes with a variety of other rights and responsibilities. Any property purchased that has an element of common property should be reviewed.
To begin, with no matter which title you are purchasing, make sure you properly review and consider the documents compiled by the Conveyancers (and selling Agents) called the Form 1. This document contains not only all the standard documents for any other property purchase but it also contains a select set of documents relating to either Strata or Community Title, depending on the property. These are the Section 41 (Strata) or Section 139 (Community) Titled Documents.
Importantly here you will find information relevant to maintenance, insurances, costs and possibly any neighbouring unit disputes. Don’t just read the cover sheets for these searches, because an understanding of the funds held, allocation of the funds held, maintenance being considered and in fact any additional costs that the group may be considering imposing on all unit Owners sit with-in the last two sets of minutes from the body Corporate meetings held of the group and the bylaws/ Articles or Resolutions sheets provided. These searches will often also contain any major reports such as Engineering issues.
Depending on whether the property is a strata or community will impact whether you are responsible for different maintenance items personally, or collectively. Whilst the Acts in place govern overall, there are specific rules that apply to individual property sites. This could include important details that may impact your interest in the property, for example; Am I allowed to keep a pet? Am I allowed to install solar panels?, Can I change the external colour of my unit? Am I allowed to erect a pergola? Can I park a second car on the common property?
If you are purchasing off the plan, you will still be able to view more than just the plans prepared by the Developer, you will also be able to review all the Community Bylaws and a budget of anticipated quarterly costs. These costs could include items such as grounds maintenance, common power, common water, and any sinking fund amounts being paid for future major expenses.
Remember, if there is something you are not sure about, contact the Strata Manager and ask. Far better to get a proper understanding of the property and what you can and cannot do, costs, etc
If you have any general questions, do not hesitate to contact us here at Stratarama for more tips on what you should be looking for.