So where does your strata fees go?
Buying an apartment can be an affordable path to home ownership, especially in capital ...
Buying an apartment can be an affordable path to home ownership, especially in capital cities.
And for others such as downsizers, the elderly, or residents not wanting the constant upkeep of a garden, they may prefer to buy a unit, townhouse or duplex for convenience.
But this style of living often means a more communal approach with shared responsibilities running a body corporate and paying ongoing strata fees.
These associated costs ensure the buildings, grounds and garden - if there is one - are all properly maintained. In some cases, such as a duplex or a townhouse development with just two or three residences, the owners may just organise to meet and maintain their properties together.
Therefore, before buying, it’s vital you read what is involved as part of your community title arrangement. Find out the fees that are involved and if you do go ahead and become a home owner, actively take part in the strata or body corporate meetings so you can help decide how the pooled levy funds are best allocated.
Levy funds could be used to update safety railings on balconies, apply non-slip surfacing on stairwells or install new smoke alarms - no-one would argue with the importance of these features.
Alternatively, there may be a major one-off levy to ensure the building stays safe and structurally sound. For example, it might be a much-needed concrete cancer treatment, new wiring, replacement piping for plumbing or new roof tiles.
It could also be money spent on fresh paint, new carpet for the foyer, resurfacing shared driveways or maintenance costs for a lift, swimming pool, gym or other shared facilities enjoyed by the residents.
And of course, there are the ongoing annual and non-negotiable expenses such as insurance cover for the whole building.
Well maintained buildings and surrounds don’t just happen and your hard earned money should be spent wisely. So take control, go to the meetings, be part of the body corporate and have your say.
Not only will you be financially invested in your home, you’ll also then be emotionally invested and know your neighbours better too.