Searching for your first off the plan apartment? It’s an exciting time, and when you find something you like that’s within your budget, you can maximise your enjoyment if you know the right questions to ask. Once you've done your due diligence and checked out the developer’s reputation, here are three key questions to ask. Not surprisingly, they are all about money…
Whether you’re looking at renders or visiting a brand-new showroom, you need to know which features come as standard in your prospective home and which are optional upgrades.
You have a set budget, and if those subway tiles in the kitchen splashback or marble stone benchtops actually come as a costly upgrade, you’ll only end up disappointed. Shop around for developments with developer incentives, as these often include free upgrades or extra money to spend on optional fittings and fixtures.
Owners Corporation (OC) fees
These fees cover maintenance costs, lighting and electricity bills, and pay for cleaning services for all communal areas. If you live in a small off the plan development with only a few on-site amenities or none at all, your OC fees will be lower. This might sound attractive if you’re unlikely to use things like a gym or swimming pool but if you these facilities sound exciting to you, you’ll want to search around for developments with the right kind of amenity to suit your lifestyle.
Movie buff? A rooftop cinema sounds up your alley. Some developments even feature virtual golf simulators, concierge services and dog wash/car wash services. Think long and hard about the pros and cons. If staying home will save you money in the long-run, you can justify the higher OC fees. However, it’s important to be realistic. Will you actually use the gym or hire the dining hall? Or do you prefer to spend your evenings exploring the nearby dining scene? Find out what the fees are, and decide if you’ll get your money’s worth.
Ask your developer if they’ve included sustainability measures in the project. Solar panels and solar hot water systems can dramatically reduce electricity bills, while double-glazing on windows and sliding glass doors are great for both noise reduction and insulation. Other sustainable design elements to ask about include energy efficient appliances within the home, recycled water systems and whether the lights are LED or not. All of these measures will help reduce your ongoing energy bills over the long term.
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