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Thread: Pros and Cons of Strata

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Default Pros and Cons of Strata

    We are looking to buy in hopefully the next 6 - 12 months. In the meantime we are going to open houses in our approximate price range as a bit of research/background for when we can say yes/no.

    There are a few that have come up that are Strata, I had written it off originally but my friend said I should reconsider as most houses in our range are "renovators delights" whereas the strata's aren't too bad.

    So please tell me, what are the pros and cons to buying into a strata? Do you like strata living? Is it more cost effective than buying a free standing house?

    Thanks for your time

  2. #2

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    Sep 2008
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    Default Re: Pros and Cons of Strata

    Mmm there are cons (I have a thread in Platinum about various neighbors issues, but it very much depends on the property), but certainly round here is more cost effective - you can add about 200,000 for your own parcel of land.

    Check out the strata fees for each place as they vary widely depending on the amount of common ground/facilities that need maintaining. Ours are about 1100 a year. There also can be quite different set ups and rules, the external fabric of our flat is covered by the body Corp, so our insurance is less for example, but a townhouse development might have different set up. Expenses can come up which you have to pay if not enough money in the body corporate coffers and is decided by committee as to whether to go ahead or not, so you can face expenses at inconvenient times (again depends on the strata, townhouses and places with small number of properties likely to incur less expenses).

    I would go strata again despite the issues have had but only townhouse and preferably no shared wall or only shared with a garage and small number on block with minimal communal area.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Pros and Cons of Strata

    Really depends on the other residents. But you can get good or bad neighbours everywhere.

    I've only rented in a strata context, but for the most part have had good experiences. I have been lucky not to live near smokers, which would have bothered me a lot. I personally would be more swayed by the actual properties themselves and whether I wanted to live there.

    Are there any torrens title options?

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Pros and Cons of Strata

    It depends on the neighbours, as others have said. I've heard enough nightmares from friends family and colleagues that I would ever go for it, if there were any other options.

    Even if the neighbours are stellar today, they could move tomorrow.

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Pros and Cons of Strata

    It also depends on the area and what you want e.g. is it to be a home long term or an investment? If you ever want to rent it out strata tend to be low upkeep but the rents don't differ that much.

    Here if I could afford own land I would get it no matter what the state of the property, because the land value is increasing more than properties, the difference is so great because you can knock down and rebuild , and often developers are buying up land as well as people with long term rebuild plans which pushes up prices. However living in a 'renovaters delight' is not everyones cup of tea.

    The number of owner ocuppiers in a strata is something to look at. The more renters you have the greater the turnover of your neighbors and also if are all renters then often the owners pay no attention and can be hard to get stuff past the strata commitee. They can have odd rules (colors allowed for front doors and garages, what you can and can't do on balconies etc).

    I certainly wouldn't rule out strata because they are all so different, and would judge each on individual merits and what your overall plans are. We looked for almost a year and saw 89 properties (across three groups, flats, villa units, townhouses) before deciding. Even with our dramas the option we took will work out for the best for us long term investment wise and that was always our strategy.

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Pros and Cons of Strata

    It depends on the zoning and type of strata and what you get for your fees. for example is it all residential zoning or a mix of commercial and residential. A mix can be an issue depending on the type of commercial in terms of utility bill distribution and things like noise, cleaning etc. Look closely at how things like water are read and distributed among properties. You don't want to be paying an even set amount of the water bill in a mixed residential/commercial or even all resi for example, you want individual meter readings ideally.

    Also look at strata agm/egm minutes and building reports for clues re outstanding or problematic issues in the building- need for repairs, tenant disagreements or issues, finance issues etc.

    And check out responsibilities and zoning for common areas of a strata.

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Pros and Cons of Strata

    Wysiwyg - I have read about your issues and it did put me off a little to be honest lol. That said the townhouse I looked at over the weekend was fabulous. Much bigger than anything free standing in the same price bracket, has the same amount of land being the end block, and one shared wall running through the lounge, kitchen/dining and main bedroom. It was terribly quiet in the area, though that's not to say people just weren't home when we went looking either. The strata fees have just gone up on the complex to cover maintenance that they have just run, and they have decided to keep them running at this current fee as they didn't have enough for the maintenance originally.

    For a 3 bedroom, one bathroom, nothing overtly fancy, in a complex of 14 townhouses the rates and strata came to $3,000 per year.

    I'm looking at something for us to live in for the next 10-20+ years lol. I hate moving!

    Surprised - There are torrens options, but for the same price I am looking at significantly smaller, with a lot more to be done to bring them up to scratch generally. The one I saw above is ready to move into, no work to be done.

    My big issue with 'renovators delight' is that I have no one to help me do the work, and a lot of them are filled with asbestos too. :/

  8. #8

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    Default Re: Pros and Cons of Strata

    I do think townhouses are slightly different to flats though - and also the age of the properties - newer ones tend to have better soundproofing. I don't know if anyone on here can comment on living in a townhouse strata complex - we lived here for 4 years with no significant issues at all - is only the last couple that have had their challenges, but it is a flat - on a block of 24 - with only 4 owner occupied. Higher strata fees (to me that sounds on the higher side - depending on the amount of communal space) can be a good thing as puts off investors some what so can give a higher percentage of owner occupiers, I suspect townhouse complexes have higher owner occupier rates than flats anyway. I would go speak to some people in some of the other townhouses if possible (we get people knock and ask us just when looking to rent) for some opinions.



    The strata committee meetings should give an indication of what is going on somewhat (e.g. in ours you can see in the one from last October about the various issues going on).

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