Unit buying checklist: 10 things investors must check | Finder

Unit buying investor checklist: everything investors need to know before buying a unit

There are multiple factors to take into consideration when buying a unit as an investment. Our checklist helps you keep track of them.

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If you're buying an apartment unit as an investment, there are more considerations to account for than just a decent price and a desirable location. A number of other important factors will end up determining whether or not your unit is a wise investment. The checklist below will help you on your property hunt.

Look at each of the items and assess potential properties based on the checklist. While there are numerous details to take into account when deciding on a unit, the list below will help you build a strong shortlist of contenders.

1. Uniqueness

You'll want the unit you purchase to stand apart from others in the area. Uniqueness may not be the main factor for finding tenants in a high-demand area, but it can become a drawcard when you decide to sell.

Finding distinctive characteristics can be difficult if your unit is one in a block of hundreds. However, adding bespoke features or design elements can help yours rise above its neighbours. You could also consider purchasing a unit in a smaller block.

2. Parking

Parking is a huge factor to consider when choosing a unit. This is particularly the case if the unit you're considering is some distance from public transport links.

Off-street parking is obviously a big draw for units, but readily available on-street parking can help make up for the lack of dedicated parking. If the building you're looking at does have off-street parking, you'll also want to consider whether there's available and adequate visitor parking.

3. Strata

Strata fees will have a huge impact on the cash flow from your investment property. Strata fees go toward maintenance and upkeep of the building. If they're too high, you could find the income you receive from rent diminishing quickly.

In addition to the fees, you'll want to pay attention to the strata rules. Strata rules will govern the alterations and additions you can make to your unit, as well as putting some restrictions on its use. Some strata rules can severely limit the flexibility you have as an owner, so make sure the rules for the building you're considering aren't too severe.

Apartments and green grass

4. Security

Security is an essential feature when living in close proximity to numbers of other people. Smaller blocks where people are likely to know their neighbours can get by without quite as many security features, but safety becomes more important in larger buildings. Look for security systems that make the building convenient for residents to access, but stop strangers from walking in.

5. Construction

The way a unit is constructed can make a big difference to your tenants' experience and satisfaction. Look for units with quality construction and decent fixtures, fittings and appliances.

You'll also want to choose a solidly-constructed building. Apartment living can come with its own privacy issues, but a well-constructed building that reduces noise from neighbours will be attractive to potential tenants.

6. Rental trends

When deciding where to buy, you'll want to look at the rental trends for suburbs, beginning with determining the median rent for the areas you're considering. Then you'll want to look at recent rentals for similar apartments to determine asking rents. You'll also need to research vacancy rates to gauge demand and get an idea for how easy or difficult it might be to find tenants.

7. Potential to add value

It's likely that you'll eventually sell your apartment with an eye toward making a capital gain. If this is the case, you'll want to look at units that have the potential to add value. Whether it's minor cosmetic improvements or major structural changes, find a unit that offers you the opportunity to boost your return on investment.

Check out all our home renovation guides here

8. Amenities

When you're considering the amenities to look for in an apartment purchase, make sure you stick to the amenities that actually provide a return. Features like swimming pools, gyms, tennis courts and the like will add to your strata fees while doing little to attract potential tenants or eventual buyers. Generally, tenants are more attracted to amenities like well-manicured outdoor areas, security features and lift access.

9. Size

The size of the unit you purchase will largely determine your target market for tenants. You can end up limiting your market by going either too small or too large. Two-bedroom units tend to have the broadest appeal because they open your market up to both families and flat shares as well as single professionals.

10. Location

Location will be one the primary factors determining your investment’s success. Not only will you want to look for in-demand suburbs, you'll want to look at the location of units within those areas. Potential tenants will be attracted to your apartment if it’s located in proximity to public transport links, green space, schools, shopping and cafes and restaurants.

You'll also want to pay attention to the unit's location in the building. Will it be likely to get sun? Does it face a main road? What level is it on? Typically, higher floors and north- or east-facing aspects away from main roads are most attractive to potential tenants.

Buying an investment property? Compare your loan options

Data updated regularly
$
years
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp. Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment
Athena Variable Home  Loan
2.54%
2.54%
$0
$0 p.a.
60%
$596.91
Investors with large 40% deposits or equity can get this low variable rate. A competitive option for investors looking to refinance.
UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate
2.74%
2.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$612.67
Get a discounted, low-fee investor loan from a convenient online lender. 20% deposit required.
Suncorp Home Package Plus Fixed
2.28%
3.15%
$0
$375 p.a.
80%
$576.78
Lock in a low fixed rate loan for three years and get the annual package fee waived in the first year. Available for borrowers with 10% deposits.
homeloans.com.au Low Rate Home Loan with Offset
2.39%
2.41%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$585.25
This investment loan keeps fees low, has a sharp interest rate and comes with a 100% offset account. This loan is not available for construction.
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan
2.38%
4.11%
$595
$0 p.a.
90%
$584.48
$2,000 refinance cashback
Competitive fixed rate for home buyers.Available with a 10% deposit.$2,000 cashback for eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more.
loans.com.au Smart Booster Discount Variable Home Loan
1.99%
2.71%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$554.81
If you have an owner occupier loan with loans.com.au you can also get this very low rate variable mortgage for your investment property. Principal and interest repayments. Add an offset account for an additional 0.10% on your interest rate.
Athena Variable Home  Loan
2.64%
2.59%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$604.76
A competitive investor variable rate that falls as you build equity.
Well Home Loans Balanced Fixed Home Loan
2.29%
2.29%
$250
$0 p.a.
90%
$577.55
A competitive 3 year investor rate with principal and interest repayments. Optional offset account with a $10 monthly fee. Not available for construction purposes.
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
2.14%
2.71%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$566.11
Investors can enjoy flexible repayments and an easy application process with this pioneering online lender.
Well Home Loans Balanced Variable
2.24%
2.27%
$250
$0 p.a.
80%
$573.72
If you're an investor with a 20% deposit saved you can get this low rate mortgage. Not available for construction.
Athena Variable Home  Loan
2.59%
2.56%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
$600.83
Athena's refinance offer for investors and owner occupiers.
IMB Fixed Rate Home Loan
2.49%
3.36%
$449
$6 monthly ($72 p.a.)
90%
$593.01
NSW and ACT customers only. A 3 years fixed rate investor which allows extra repayments to be made.
UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate
3.14%
3.01%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$644.87
Pay interest only repayments with this special offer for investors.
Well Home Loans Balanced Variable
2.87%
2.9%
$250
$0 p.a.
90%
$623.03
Competitive variable investor mortgage to fund your property portfolio. You can add a 100% offset account for just $10 a month.Not available for construction purposes.
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
2.29%
2.72%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$577.55
Investors can enjoy flexible repayments and an easy application process with this pioneering online lender.
UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
2.49%
2.67%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
$593.01
Lock in a 5 year fixed rate on your investment loan and pay no ongoing fees.
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