Better buying guide—apartments
12 July 2016

There is little doubt that parts of Southeast Queensland (SEQld)—and especially Brisbane—are heading towards apartment oversupply. This oversupply is mostly in big buildings, with few points of difference.

Yet, there is an opportunity to buy well when it comes to apartments across SEQld during 2016. It really comes down to what you buy; how much you pay and how long you hold it.

The wish list below is exactly that. Not everything can be found in the one place. But it is our starting list when it comes to reviewing an apartment project or product.

We don’t believe in picking winning or losing suburbs when it comes to property. Our experience is that a buyer isn’t buying a suburb, but rather a property within it.

Foremost should be:
• The property itself.
• The price paid.
• The conditions of the deal.

Whilst location is important, it matters more about what property you buy. For example, the Gold Coast might have strong base indicators, but an investor could (often, in our experience) buy the wrong property; pay too much and not get the most out of a sales negotiation.

Buyers need to also buy a property that suits not only today’s local housing demographic segments, but those likely to occur in the area in the future. Very little property commentary adequately considers this.

So on that note, what to buy?

Given recent events, we think it is timely to revisit our rules when it comes to better apartment buying.

General parameters
• Buy smaller and/or staged developments.
• Limited chance of being built out.
• Good local amenity and attractive ground plane i.e. not on a major road.
• Signature architecture – something that stands out from the crowd.
• Low to medium building height; preferably no more than eight storeys.
• Few apartments per level, best if limited to eight.
• One lift per maximum of six apartments.
• Disabled designed (if you can find it).
• Single loaded or apartments that allow cross ventilation
  (corner or end apartments).
• ESD provisions to help reduce energy bills.
• Good sense of entry and foyer space.
• Adequate space for garbage bins, designed for easy council (city) removal.
• Low to medium body corporate fees –remember, these include
  building insurance.
• Must have owner-resident resale appeal, either for a young or older

Base product
• Clear zonal living – private versus living/public space.
• See ‘hero’ shot on, or soon after, entry.
• Two-bedroom with two bathrooms.
• One secure car parking space, better if two.
• Basement and bike storage.
• Equally sized bedrooms, physically separated from each other via bathrooms
  or distance.
• Equally appointed three-point ensuites (full ensuite bathroom).
• Galley kitchen with a view.
• Well defined space for internal dining and living functions.
• Separate or enclosed laundry with storage.
• Walk-in robe space in master bedroom (walk-in closet).
• Room for desk/study nook in bedrooms.
• Fully covered balcony that comfortably sits four to six people.

Important inclusions
• Plaster board ceilings with LED lighting.
• Sufficient lighting in kitchens and ensuites.
• Stone bench tops, quality appliances, fixtures and fittings.
• Air-conditioning to living and master bedroom.
• Ceiling fans to all major rooms/balconies.
• Carpet in bedrooms, timber/tiles rest.
• Secure building—key card swipe access.
• Broadband or NBN internet access.
• Pets allowed.

End note
Why two bedroom – two bathroom as a minimum? Because more tenants are sharing and well-designed two+ bedroom apartments mean more rent and a higher rental yield.

Also, a couple (as an owner-resident) can live in this type of apartment. It provides enough functional space and some room to escape each other.

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