Unit buying investor checklist

When buying a unit as an investment, a handy checklist can help you make sure you've ticked every box, from parking to strata costs to security.

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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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

$
years
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp. Rate (p.a.) Fees Monthly Payment

Nano Variable Home Loans P&IInvestment≥ 25% Deposit Refi Only

Nano Variable Home Loans
2.29%
2.29%
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
$578
Investors can refinance this no-fee variable rate loan. You will need a 25% deposit. Fast online approval.

Athena Variable Home Loan P&IInvestment≥ 40% Deposit

Athena Variable Home  Loan
2.39%
2.39%
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
$586
Investors with large 40% deposits or equity can get this low variable rate. A competitive option for investors looking to refinance.

UBank UHomeLoan Fixed P&IInvestment 1Y Fixed≥ 20% Deposit

UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
2.14%
2.54%
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
$567
Investors can enjoy flexible repayments and an easy application process with this pioneering online lender.

St.George Fixed Rate Home Loan with Advantage Package P&IInvestment 2Y Fixed≥ 20% Deposit

St.George Fixed Rate Home Loan with  Advantage Package
2.24%
3.89%
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $395 p.a.
$574
$3,000 refinance cashback.
Investors can lock in a competitive rate for two years with this package loan. You will need at least a 20% deposit. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get a $3,000 cashback (Apply by 30 November 2021. Terms and conditions apply). Refinancers Only.

Westpac Fixed Option Home Loan Premier Advantage Package P&IInvestment 2Y Fixed≥ 5% Deposit

Westpac Fixed Option Home Loan Premier Advantage Package
2.29%
3.97%
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $395 p.a.
$578
$3,000 refinance cashback
A competitive fixed rate loan for investors that allows you to make up to $30,000 in extra repayments. Principal and interest loans only. $3,000 cashback for eligible refinancers. Apply by 30 November 2021. Terms and conditions apply.

Bank of Melbourne Fixed Rate Home Loan with Advantage Package P&IInvestment 2Y Fixed≥ 20% Deposit

Bank of Melbourne Fixed Rate Home Loan with Advantage Package
2.24%
3.91%
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $395 p.a.
$574
$3,000 refinance cashback.
Lock in a low rate for two years with this competitive investment package loan. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get a $3,000 cashback (Apply by 30 November 2021. Terms and conditions apply). Refinancers Only.

loans.com.au Smart Booster Discount Investor Variable Home Loan P&IInvestment≥ 20% Deposit

loans.com.au Smart Booster Discount Investor Variable Home Loan
1.99%
2.71%
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
$555
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 sub-account for an additional 0.10% on your interest rate. Get your loan processed fast and settle within 30 days.

Nano Variable Home Loans IOInvestment≥ 25% Deposit Refi Only

Nano Variable Home Loans
2.59%
2.40%
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
$601
This variable investment loan has interest-only repayments and is for refinancers only. Fast online approval. Requires a 25% deposit.

Well Home Loans Balanced Fixed Home Loan P&IInvestment 3Y Fixed≥ 10% Deposit

Well Home Loans Balanced Fixed Home Loan
2.34%
2.36%
  • App: $250
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
$582
A competitive 3 year investor rate with principal and interest repayments. Optional offset account with a $10 monthly fee. Not available for construction purposes.

Athena Fixed Home Loan P&IInvestment 2Y Fixed≥ 40% Deposit

Athena Fixed Home Loan
2.64%
2.43%
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
$605
A 2-year fixed rate loan for investors with 40% deposits. $0 fees. Principal-and-interest repayments.

Australian Unity Wealth Builder Investor Package Variable Home Loan P&IInvestment≥ 30% Deposit

Australian Unity Wealth Builder Investor Package Variable Home Loan
2.49%
2.92%
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $399 p.a.
$594
Investors can get a competitive variable rate on this package loan. 100% offset account included. Requires a 30% deposit.

HSBC Home Value Loan P&IInvestment≥ 30% Deposit

HSBC Home Value Loan
2.44%
2.45%
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
$590
$3,288 refinance cashback offer
This variable rate loan is available for property investors with 30% deposits. This loan has very few fees. Eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get a $3,288 cashback. Terms and conditions apply.

Athena Fixed Home Loan IOInvestment 1Y Fixed≥ 40% Deposit

Athena Fixed Home Loan
2.69%
2.42%
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
$609
A 1-year fixed rate loan for investors with 40% deposits. $0 fees. Interest-only repayments.

UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate P&IInvestment≥ 20% Deposit

UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate
2.55%
2.55%
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
$598
Get a discounted, low-fee investor loan from a convenient online lender. 20% deposit required.

Suncorp Home Package Plus Fixed P&IInvestment 3Y Fixed≥ 20% Deposit

Suncorp Home Package Plus Fixed
2.28%
3.15%
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
$577
$3,000 refinance cash bonus
Borrowers with 20% deposits can lock in a low fixed rate loan for three years. Eligible new borrowers can get the annual package fee reimbursed for the life of the loan. $3,000 refinance cash bonus for eligible borrowers. Other terms, conditions and eligibility criteria apply.

Athena Fixed Home Loan P&IInvestment 1Y Fixed≥ 40% Deposit

Athena Fixed Home Loan
2.59%
2.41%
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
$601
A 1-year fixed rate loan for investors with 40% deposits. $0 fees.

UBank UHomeLoan Fixed IOInvestment 3Y Fixed≥ 20% Deposit

UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
2.24%
2.50%
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
$574
Pay no ongoing fees on this investment loan fixed for 3 years.

Well Home Loans Balanced Variable P&IInvestment≥ 20% Deposit

Well Home Loans Balanced Variable
2.32%
2.35%
  • App: $250
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
$580
If you're an investor with a 20% deposit saved you can get this low rate mortgage. Not available for construction.

Athena Fixed Home Loan P&IInvestment 3Y Fixed≥ 40% Deposit

Athena Fixed Home Loan
2.79%
2.49%
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
$617
A 3-year fixed rate loan for investors with 40% deposits. $0 fees.

UBank UHomeLoan Fixed P&IInvestment 5Y Fixed≥ 20% Deposit

UBank UHomeLoan Fixed
2.54%
2.57%
  • App: $0
  • Ongoing: $0 p.a.
$597
Lock in a 5 year fixed rate on your investment loan and pay no ongoing fees.
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