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.

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

Rates last updated May 21st, 2018
$
Loan purpose
Offset account
Loan type
Your filter criteria do not match any product
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment Short Description
3.99%
3.99%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Refinance to this loan and you could get $1,000 in your USaver account (offer conditions apply). Get a discounted, low-fee investor loan from a convenient online lender. 20% deposit required.
3.99%
5.17%
$600
$0 p.a.
90%
Competitive rates for fixed for 3 years with redraw facility.
3.88%
3.88%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
You'll need at least a 30% deposit to get this low investor rate. 100% online application process.
3.89%
3.89%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
Investors with a 30% deposit can get this low rate property investment loan.
4.09%
4.79%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Buy your investment property and set your repayments for the first year. Available with a 10% deposit. Available in QLD, NSW and ACT only.
4.15%
4.76%
$600
$0 p.a.
90%
A competitive rate with no ongoing fee and borrow up to 90% LVR.
4.14%
4.14%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Investors pay no application or ongoing fees on this loan from an innovative online lender.
3.99%
4.62%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
Investors can enjoy flexible repayments and an easy application process with this pioneering online lender.
4.24%
4.60%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Fix your investment repayments for 1 year. You can get this loan with a 10% deposit. Available in QLD, NSW and ACT only.
4.50%
4.82%
$600
$0 p.a.
90%
A variable interest-only loan to fund your investment. Get this loan with a 10% deposit.
4.09%
5.28%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Lock in a competitive investment rate and combine your loan with a credit card and transaction account for extra savings. Package fee applies.
3.99%
4.93%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
A low deposit investment loan with a discounted, competitive rate from one of the big 4 banks.
4.19%
5.49%
$600
$8 monthly ($96 p.a.)
90%
Lock in your investment repayments for 3 years with one of the big 4 banks. Available with a 5% deposit.
3.99%
4.02%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Investors can enjoy flexible repayment options and pay no application or ongoing fees.
4.65%
4.69%
$600
$8 monthly ($96 p.a.)
90%
You can get this variable investment product with a 10% deposit. The loan has limited fees.
4.55%
5.39%
$499
$0 p.a.
95%
Fix your investment mortgage repayments for 3 years. Available for investors with just a 5% deposit.
4.29%
5.39%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
Enjoy advantage package discounts on financial products on this investor mortgage. $1,500 cashback offered to refinancers. Conditions apply.
4.79%
5.44%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Pay off your investment knowing your exact repayments for the first 4 years. Get this loan with a 10% deposit.
4.29%
4.31%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A variable rate loan for investment. Suitable for customers borrowing $1 million or more to buy a property.
5.59%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Make interest-only repayments and unlock equity in your home. Combine your mortgage, credit card and transaction account for discounts.
5.79%
5.93%
$600
$8 monthly ($96 p.a.)
95%
Purchase an investment property with a variable rate mortgage from one of the big 4 banks. No settlement fee.
4.09%
5.46%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Get 5-15% discounts on insurance products with this package investment loan from CommBank. Available with a 10% deposit.
4.19%
5.47%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
Fund your investment with a low deposit package loan from ANZ. Bundle your loan with credit card and bank account for discounts.
4.54%
4.85%
$0
$299 p.a.
80%
Borrow $1 million or more and maximise your investment strategy with this interest-only mortgage.
4.89%
5.50%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
A low deposit package investment loan. Fix your rate and plan your repayments for years in advance.
4.39%
4.23%
$0
$198 p.a.
70%
Fund your property investment with this fixed rate mortgage which includes a 100% offset account. 30% deposit required.
4.24%
4.55%
$0
$299 p.a.
80%
A loan for investors borrowing $1 million or more. The product includes a 100% offset account.

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NAB Choice Package Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier P&I) First Home Buyer Special

Start your home buying journey with 2 years of fixed repayments and a reasonable rate from a big 4 bank. Available with a 10% deposit.

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