Are you comparing apples with apples or oranges?

So you have viewed the very flashy website or visited the display suite and read the big glossy brochure. But does or will all this match up with what you have been told or have read. Certainly in many cases it most probably will but also the devil is in the detail.

When you are considering to buy something that you cannot see and touch it can be very hard sometimes to make an informed decision on what the home or apartment will be like. Here are a few tips and areas to place particular attention to when you are deciding to buy something off the plan (OTP).

“One mustn’t ask apple trees for oranges, France for sun, women for love, life for happiness.”
Gustave Flaubert

  1. Specifications and List Price

Every project will outline what the specifications are both in the brochure and more importantly within your contract to purchase this is what you are buying. Use this as a reference as to how one project compares to another. Then you can compare the prices to see which is the best “value” not the cheapest apartment. One may “appear” cheaper but when you look at what you are getting extra with another it ­may seem better “value”. Small things I have been seeing lately especially within new apartments is some developers are putting in condenser dryers (very appropriate for small spaces with little air flow) and are paying particular attention to storage solutions and finer details with shower recess and green sustainability features.

Also be aware if you are being quoted strata area or architectural area. The eventual real area of these two can be quite different (approx. around a 5% difference sometimes) so when you calculate the price as a per square meter figure this then can make quite a difference. Also remember to just compare the internal living space it helps to compare apples with apples. Then after this consider the balcony size and parking arrangements etc.


  1. Strata Fees

These are on the mind of most people when they are looking to buy into a strata development.  The strata fees are there to be managed so the common area or shared area of the building can be maintained to a high standard which is usually managed by a strata manager on behalf of the strata company (which is formed by all the lot owners). Levy rates can vary. So when you are asking this question of the agent or developer also ask for a copy of the proposed annual budget as this will show you what they plan to attribute the quarterly cost to. Such as pool maintenance, cleaning contractor, lift service fees and building insurance etc. So levies can vary and if a like building of a similar size to another but one has less facilities it is likely to have lower running cost as there are less items to be maintained. When you are looking at this take this in mind. Also if the levies appear extra low do take a closer look at this too as cheap levies are not always a positive selling point. You want the right balance between contribution of strata levies and also maintaining your building to a high standard so it is a pleasurable place to live.

3.Where is my car parked and how do I get to it?

This is an aspect that a lot of people do overlook. We all get excited about what our place will look like inside and imagine ourselves sitting by the pool or the view from our balcony. But do we take a look or try and imagine where our car will be parked and how easy or not it will be to park. This is very important when you are trying to compare apples with apples. As 9 times out of 10 you will be coming and going via your car (unless you have prudently bought in a transit-orientated development). So if you have to share a car bay with the commercial space or have to fight angry shoppers first before you get to your spot these aspects all should be considered before you pass off a project just on the price. Also are being more and more used these days too. So find out if these is the case in your project. Don’t be deterred by these as some are actually very good for security and keeping your car away from others dependant on the design.

When a developer does their due diligence or engages a valuer or real estate agent. The prices they all come up with take in quite a number of factors. So what I am saying is when you are our shopping for your next home don’t just look at this one bedroom is X and another is X++ and then pass it off. Dig a bit deeper and see what  extras you get you may be well surprised or yes that the first one is better value.

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