For years we’ve watched many of our favourite American TV characters enjoy apartment living. Ask yourself, would the gang on Friends have been as close, had they lived a couple of doors down the road from each other, in stand-alone houses? Would Penny from The Big Bang Theory have ever looked twice at Leonard, had he not lived in the apartment across the hall? All fair questions. We’re not suggesting you’ll meet your potential spouse living in an apartment block, but we are pointing out that it’s likely you’ll have a pretty good idea of who’s living around you.
Whilst some will enjoy the community feel this can offer, others will dislike it immensely.
Apartment living has only taken off in Melbourne in the past 20 years or so when a few bold developers took the initiative to test the waters to see if Melbournians were ready to deviate from the dream of a 3-bedroom home with a backyard in the suburbs. It would appear their risks paid off, as since this time, we’ve seen the trend of ‘sky living’ in inner city apartments extend to the suburbs, offering a pleasing alternative to more traditional options.
So, what’s drawn people to this, and what do you need to consider before deciding if it’s a good option for you?
Affordability and Location
If you’re keen to live inner-city, an apartment might be an appealing alternative. In most cases, it’ll be more affordable than other housing styles, and if you’re buying rather than renting, you can potentially get into the market quicker based on the initial deposit and monthly repayments.
Apartments were previously favoured by students and young professionals seeking close proximity to work places and tertiary institutions, however, now many apartments are being snapped up by those approaching retirement. This is becoming increasingly popular in the outer suburbs, where retirees are selling their family homes in favour of a sea or tree change or a home on wheels, but still want a suburban base to spend time with their children, grandchildren and friends.
Low Maintenance Living
The majority of apartments in Melbourne and surrounding suburbs come with a balcony or small courtyard requiring minimum maintenance which can be highly appealing to those with a busy lifestyle. The age of many of these buildings also means that some may be under builder’s warranty, and others are new enough that they shouldn’t need major alterations upon purchase.
Would you be more inclined to go to the gym if it was just an elevator ride away? How about the use of a pool you don’t have to maintain? Does entertaining in a garden you don’t have to mow or weed sound appealing? These are facilities/features that are commonly found in larger apartment buildings and some smaller boutique ones and while you don’t have to look after them, maintenance does come at a cost. You’ll have to pay Body Corporate or Owners Corporation fees, and these contribute to the maintenance of common areas.
There’s no getting around it: many apartments have less floorspace and smaller rooms than other accommodation options. And unlike a house with land, what you see is what you get; there’s no extending to make it bigger! If you have children or pets, this could be an issue, so consider carefully if you’ll be happy living in smaller quarters.
Some Body Corporate or Owners Corporations will involve titleholders in decisions; but then again, some won’t. If you want full control over your space, consider a stand-alone house; it’ll cause you less frustration! As for the fee’s, these can be in excess of $1,000 a year on top of any mortgage repayments, rates etc. so it’s something you need to plan for.
You’re going to be living in close proximity to others when you elect to live in an apartment building which can bring with it a degree of noise as people go about their daily business. If you have lovely, quiet neighbours up and down, and side to side, life is likely to be pleasant, however, if you are unlucky enough to have noisy neighbours they can make your life fairly unpleasant.
If you’re in the market to purchase or rent an apartment, but you’re not sure if you’re going to like it, consider living in a serviced apartment building for a few weeks. This should allow you to get an idea of whether it’s going to suit your needs, and whether it’s an option you’ll pursue.
Apartment living is not for everyone, but it’s certainly become a popular and affordable choice for many!
If you’re in the market to buy an apartment contact your nearest Noel Jones office today.