APARTMENT SIZE MATTERS.
HOW TO CHECK YOU'RE GETTING THE MOST SPACE AND VALUE.
You've no doubt heard people talking about the need to "compare apples with apples".
It's good advice when you're buying fresh fruit.
But it's even more important to apply this common sense approach when deciding which apartment really delivers the best value-for-money, especially if you're buying an apartment to live in (rather than hold as an investment).
Here are fourteen simple questions which will lead you to the answers, and ideal apartment, you need.
1. DO THE CLAIMED APARTMENT SIZES REFER TO THE 'ARCHITECTURAL LIVING AREA' OR 'INTERNAL STRATA AREA' ?
There's a meaningful difference.
The "Architectural Living Area" is arrived at by including all the areas which relate to your apartment (terrace/balcony, store room and some other areas you don't own and may never use). This method of measuring can be very misleading as the real area you need to know (and base your valuation on) is the "Internal Strata Area".
The Internal Strata Area is determined by the area that you'll own and have to live in according to a set method of measurement. This is the only area that you can truly use to check the size of comparable apartments.
At The Crest Burswood, for example, there are apartments offering up to 16 percent more Internal Strata Area when compared to competing apartments which appears to be of 'comparable size' which easily related to around $150,000 worth of extra value.
2. HOW HIGH ARE THE CEILINGS?
The first thing that you'll notice when you enter your new apartment in the Crest will be the uniquely high ceiling spaces. Generally we aim to achieve 2.7m (equal to 31 course) in the living areas and 2.4m in the areas which contain the services above such as Bathrooms and Kitchens.
3. ARE THE SPECIFICATIONS (SPECS) SHOWN, 'HIGH' OR 'PROJECT'?
Developers and/or their selling agents often show their 'High Spec' option in all the promotional material.
The 'High Spec' option includes everything that makes the apartment look as appealing and luxurious as is possible.
But it does NOT reflect what you receive in the 'from' price shown in the advertising and price lists.
So, be sure you ask for the 'Project Spec' so you can see precisely what you'll get for your money.
Fortunately, with Norup+Wilson, you can always 'lift' the spec to include some of the 'High' (Display) specs, once you've decided which of these you really want or need, particular if you're going to live in the apartment yourself.
4. IS THE LOCATION REALLY GOOD?
Determining the value of an apartment building's location is relatively simple.
Just ask yourself:
- Is it close to the CBD? (values tend to drop the further away from the city centre the location is).
- Is it close to public transport? (proximity to train and bus services is absolutely critical).
- Is it close to any other premium attraction such as a river, parkland or major entertainment/recreation facilities?
- Is it close to shopping facilities?
- Is it close to major arterial roads?
- Is it close to the major airport?
- Is the land on which it sits elevated? (the higher the land on which it sits, the better).
- Is it close to even more expensive apartments? (like all those in The Peninsula at Burswood).
- Is it within the catchment area for some good schools?
5. ARE THE ARCHITECTURAL DRAWINGS AND FLOOR PLANS TO SCALE?
If the marketing plans that you've been shown are not to scale or dimensioned, it's even more important that you check the area of the actual space you're being offered.
Don't be fooled by just looking at the proportions of the furniture in the area as sometimes these are scaled by 80% to make the apartment look bigger than what it actually is.
For example, all the master beds in The Crest are shown as true sized Queen Beds so that you know that it'll fit.
6. HOW MUCH VISITOR PARKING IS OFFERED?
Many apartment developments don't offer many spare visitors bays, which is a problem for any residents/owners who have any friends or relatives to visit.
Some large complexes have as few as seven visitor bays whereas multi-level communities like The Crest Burswood have a whopping fifty parking spaces for visitors.
7. HOW BIG IS THE BALCONY?
In Perth, outdoor living space is very important.
Many balconies (under 10sqm) are far too small to entertain on comfortably.
At The Crest Burswood the average balcony size is 26sqm so there's plenty of room in which to relax and take in the typically spectacular view.
8. WHAT APPLIANCES ARE INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
You'll find that many apartments don't have the same appliances included, for example, a built-in microwave or dishwasher which could easily equate to around $1,500 in value.
Other developments occasionally use lower specified versions of some well-known brands. Whilst most purchasers may initially be happy that they're getting Miele or Bosch, they should ensure that they're not getting a downgraded version which don't offer the same functionality.
9. WHAT'S THE QUALITY OF THE AIR CONDITIONING?
Many apartments feature wall-mounted split-system air conditioners in the bedrooms and living area.
The Crest Burswood apartments have fully ducted, zone-controlled air conditioning. In addition, the condensers are located on each level away from the balconies meaning that the units are still running as efficiently as possible whilst allowing you full access of your balcony.
10. HOW MANY ELECTRICAL POWER POINTS ARE THERE IN THE APARTMENT?
Think about it?
How many lights, appliances, sound equipment elements, televisions and so forth will you have in your apartment?
The simple, honest answer is "a lot more than you think."
Norup + Wilson developments generally have around double the number of power points when compared to other developments.
If, however, you want to add an additional one somewhere just ask as it's pretty easy to do before the unit is built.
11. WHAT'S THE LEVEL OF NATURAL LIGHT AND VENTILATION LIKE IN THE APARTMENT?
If you don't have lots of natural light, you'll need to light your apartment artificially and at considerable expense (electricity prices aren't going down).
And if you don't have good, natural ventilation (enabled by clever contemporary design) you'll need to spend a lot more on electricity to heat and cool your living spaces.
Take a look at The Crest Burswood, for example, and you'll see just how much bigger and brighter natural light can make an apartment feel.
And also note just how efficient its apartments' natural ventilation system works.
Light and air-flow are very important and easily overlooked.
So make a point of examining both closely.
12. IS THERE A SELF-GENERATING SINKING FUND?
Most developments focus on getting the apartments ready to sell before and immediately after they're built.
And there's no provision for the fact that, like all things, buildings need ongoing maintenance and eventually, repair.
Unlike most of its competitors, The Crest Burswood's ongoing Reserve fund is partly funded though income generating mechanisms.
13. WILL YOU BE CHARGED TO USE THE FACILITIES WITHIN YOUR OWN DEVELOPMENT?
It seems unthinkable but many feature-packed apartment complexes actually charge you when you utilize these facilities.
Before you buy, check that, like The Crest Burswood, all the facilities within the complex are available free of charge to the resident/owner, because after all - you've already paid for them and you pay to also maintain them…
14. THE BOTTOM LINE - WHAT ARE THE ONGOING STRATA FEE COSTS?
It's easy to ignore the quarterly strata levies when you're buying but they're actually more important than every other unavoidable, regular outgoing. Have a close look at the ongoing Administration Levies for the Crest and you'll note that they are based on a three year cycle meaning that you're not going to be hit with a massive increase in the levies after the first year.
Strata fees are important as:
If you're an investor, the strata fee comes out of your income.
If you're a resident, they come out of your disposable income.
Either way, you want them as low as is possible.
DISCOVER THE APARTMENTS WHICH HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS TO THESE FOURTEEN, BIG QUESTIONS.
Take a closer look at The Crest Burswood. You'll very soon appreciate that there's no other multi-level community offering more space, luxury and value, for less.