Buying Strata Buildings Off the Plan

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If you are new to buying units in residential complexes or high-rise buildings you may not have come across strata management services before and may be wondering what they are. Strata management is a specialised area of property management looking after the day to day operation and management of a property that has units owned by multiple owners and includes common areas and facilities. The strata manager works with the owners and owners committee to control, manage and administer the property.

There are three types of strata management – residential management, commercial management and mixed use strata management (a building made up of both commercial and residential units). In any of these cases, units can be purchased off-the-plan or once built. 

Buying into a community strata management building off-the-plan can be a little more difficult than buying once built, and there are some steps you need to take prior to signing a contract. But while there are some difficulties there are also some benefits – you know that you will be moving into a unit you own, you can choose the unit you want straight away, and you can talk to the builder/ developer prior to buying. Property management in Sydney can easily be related to this and can be considered a being handled by a strata management.

Firstly, before talking to a real estate agent, you will need to talk to your bank to see if they will loan for the purchase of a unit off-the-plan, and any criteria you need to meet. From here you will have a good idea of whether you need to look at units that have already been built or if you can buy off-the-plan. Once you’ve had a chat to the bank, have a look around the area you want to buy in to see what is available. Talk to the agents or the developers selling the properties to find out estimated finish dates, anything that may push that date back and information regarding specific details and finishes to the units (fixtures, fittings, common and recreation areas).

Organise to inspect the units you are interested in, and make notes of what is available in the display units and whether the display unit represents accurately what the finished units will look like. Looking at the floor plan, decide if it is something you or tenants would be happy to live in.

Other areas you will need information on is the by-laws (which rules what you can and can’t do in your unit) and the strata management fees which are usually paid every 3-6 months (the fees, or levies, go towards paying an on-site manager if there is one, paying for the upkeep of common areas, and for major works in the building or complex).

Buying into a strata managed complex or building can be a great way to enter the property market either as a buyer or investor but it is wise to know all the facts first, otherwise you could be in for disappointment once your unit is built.