Oh the excitement of purchasing your very own apartment! You’ve got the deposit, your loan is approved and you’re ready to roll. But now what? Finding the perfect pad can be like finding the perfect partner – you don’t just want the foundation, you want longevity. You want a lifestyle. And the options… where do you start?
So what are the deciding factors? And have you considered them all?
1. Location & the Basics
Location is most definitely key, and is likely to be your first consideration when beginning the search for a place to call home. Think about the lifestyle and the persona you want to embody: do you relish in the vibrant energy and dynamic pace of the inner-city, or do you covet the peaceful tranquillity of coastal living? Are you single, in a couple or have a family? Do you desire lots of space, or are you content with a more cosy way of living? Do you need to work from home? Are you big on entertaining? Or are you a budding master chef?
If you’re thinking a city apartment is for you, then what neighbourhood do you want to be a part of? Do you see yourself living a fashionable lifestyle in the West End? Or maybe you’d prefer to be closer to the Swan River in the east? Perhaps the cultural diversity of Northbridge is more your style? I suggest you do what I call “walk the city” and really familiarise yourself with each neighbourhood and their respective vibe and benefits.
2. Accommodation Type
Once you’ve answered some of these initial questions you should have a better idea as to what you’re in the market for and can start to think about who you’ll be surrounded by. Love them or hate them, we all have neighbours, and investigating who they might be before making that purchase can be easily forgotten. Boutique apartment blocks house fewer residents and tend to be quieter, more intimate environments. On the other hand, you may prefer the anonymity of larger, resort-style complexes. If you’re not sure which option best suits your lifestyle, you should speak with your agent, who should be knowledgeable on the building demographics and accommodation styles available in your preferred location.
Let’s talk amenities. Boutique apartments generally have less common areas and fewer facilities such as gymnasiums and pools, but this can sometimes mean less maintenance costs and a quieter living experience. Higher density buildings on the other hand often provide an abundance of choices when it comes to in-house facilities which can be a very convenient and luxurious perk. Remember to think about your surrounding area too… What’s nearby and what’s important to you? Yoga, cafes, art galleries, outdoor recreation spots? It’s smart to decide which of these elements could be deal-breakers upfront, before you wear yourself out with inspections.
4. Design & Aesthetics
Another important consideration is the style, or the overall aesthetic of not only the apartment you purchase, but the building itself. You might fancy yourself as the artistic type; someone well-suited to a lofty, warehouse environment. Alternatively, you might be more at home with cosier spaces or crisp surfaces and all the mod-cons; features you’re more likely to find in newer developments.
5. Expansion Factor
Let’s not forget the expansion factor. Just because you might be single at the time of purchase, doesn’t mean you will be forever. Picking a pad that allows your life to expand with it could save you the headache of having to relocate, should your circumstances change. What about your furry friends (and I’m not referring to mates with well-groomed facial hair)? If you have a pet or plan to in the future, it’s important you find out what’s allowed as per the building’s strata by-laws.
6. Rental Potential
Last, but certainly not least, is rental potential. Consider your own needs first – whether the property will be a temporary or long-term home for you, and, if short term, what personal sacrifices would you be willing to make in order to see returns in the future? Think about the type of tenant you might like to attract – is it a FIFO, professional couple or a corporate executive? Deciding who you would market your property to could have a major influence on your initial investment decision.
If you’re buying an investment property, what’s the rental history of the apartment itself and throughout the building? How does this apartment compare to other options on the market? What are the strata fees and is there any major maintenance planned for the building?
Beginning to sound stressful? Well it can be, but it can also be a lot of fun! And given that you could be spending a significant portion of your hard-earned savings on a property, it’s absolutely worth taking the time initially to make a well-informed decision that meets your long term goals.