With space at a premium more and more in our big cities, apartment-style living has never been more viable.

When checking out your options, many of the considerations are the same as for buying a house, but buying an apartment also comes with its own set of specific questions you’ll want answers to.

Here is some food for thought to help you buy right.

Is there sufficient parking and storage?

Depending on your travel requirements, you should look for at least one parking space. Be aware that parking may not be included in the price of purchase and there could be insufficient spaces for the number of residents. Pricing for parking will vary depending on how quickly you need to access your car and whether you need an allocated or covered spot.

In the reduced living spaces of most apartments, smart storage is key. The more built-in cupboards, cabinets and wardrobes the better. This will allow you to maximise the space you do have without creating a cluttered environment.

Many apartments also offer storage units located within the complex, but as with parking, these can be costly and are snapped up very quickly when available.

Is the location right for me?

Buying in the right location is particularly important for apartment dwellers.  With less space than most homes, having easy access to the amenities you need is critical.

Around the CBD or other busy districts, it’s preferable to have shops and cafes within walking distance. This avoids multiple short distance commutes that inevitably take far longer than they should. If you like to lead an active lifestyle, find out how close the nearest parks or gyms are.

What are the shared expenses?

It’s easy to be attracted to an apartment by the allure of its modern, shared facilities, such as a pool or gym, but buyers should seriously consider how much they’ll actually use the service. The more shared facilities there are, the higher the apartment levies will be.

If you aren’t frequently using these services, or have identified cheaper alternatives nearby, the apartment may not offer you great value for money.

Are there planned developments nearby?

To be confident of a good return on investment if you decide to sell, it’s important to check for any consents given to development in the area. Without doing your homework, your priceless view of the harbour or skyline could be blocked out by a neighbouring skyscraper.

Be sure not only to inquire about your street, but also in the general area, as tall buildings can block views kilometres away.

Who else lives there? What is the vacancy rate?

What is the ratio of owner-occupiers to renters? A higher proportion of owners usually indicates that the building is well managed and offers a community that people would want to live in long-term. A higher proportion of renters could be indicative of a younger (potentially party-going) demographic.

If you are looking to buy the apartment as an investment property, high vacancy rates are a bad sign. A fully occupied building portrays the building as a desirable place to live and will create more demand should you decide to sell. If this information is not readily available to you, you can always ask the residents how many units are empty on their floor.

Who manages the building?

If you are serious about buying, you’ll want to know your investment is in safe hands. Check the building has contracted reputable professionals for the upkeep and day to day running of the property. For peace of mind, ask some of the existing residents about their experiences with the building manager, secretary and chairperson.

Are there any hidden ownership costs?

Request a copy of the body corporate minutes dating back as far as possible, and have a lawyer check for any outstanding legal issues or capital works in the pipeline, which could be an early warning sign of trouble ahead. By doing this you’ll gain more insight into concerns that’ve been raised by residents in the past and better inform your decision.

Done all of your checks and found a great place to live?

Congratulations, you’re well on your way to beginning an exciting new chapter in your life.  If you need help financing your new home, the friendly team at Nectar can help you with no-obligation advice and seek you out the sweetest home loan.

To speak to an expert Nectar broker, Get in touch today!