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Important Considerations Before Buying a Strata Property in Western Australia

Investing in a strata property can be an exciting prospect, offering the benefits of shared amenities, maintenance services, and a sense of community. However, before committing to such a purchase in WA, it is essential to conduct thorough research and consider certain key factors. In this article, we will outline some crucial aspects to evaluate before buying a strata property, ensuring a well-informed decision that aligns with your needs and expectations.


Understand the Strata Scheme:

First and foremost, familiarise yourself with the concept of a strata scheme. A strata property consists of individual lots (apartments, units, townhouses) and common property (shared spaces, facilities, land). Each owner holds a title for their individual lot while sharing ownership of common areas. Understanding the legal framework, rights, and obligations within the strata scheme is vital. It is also important to understand the different types of strata in WA, the common areas and what you actually own in your strata can vary depending on this. For example, in a 32A strata, you own the internal space between the walls, ceiling and floor. Whereas in a 3AB strata, the external surfaces of the building are the boundaries.


Review the Strata Plan and By-laws:

Obtain a copy of the strata plan and carefully review it. The plan illustrates the layout of the development, individual lots, common property, and any exclusive-use areas. Additionally, examine the by-laws governing the strata scheme, which outline the rules and regulations for owners and residents. Pay attention to any restrictions or specific provisions that may impact your lifestyle or planned use of the property.


Scrutinise the Financial Health of the Strata Scheme:

Assessing the financial health of the strata scheme is crucial to avoid potential surprises or financial burdens. Request a copy of the strata’s financial statements, including the administrative and sinking funds. Analyse the financial statements to understand the scheme’s income, expenditure, and reserves. It is essential to ensure adequate funds are available for ongoing maintenance, repairs, and potential future projects. The current owner should have all these documents provided to them by their strata manager.


Seek Professional Advice:

Engaging professional advice is strongly recommended when considering a strata property purchase in WA. Consult a licensed strata manager or a conveyancer who specialises in strata properties. They can review the strata documents, explain complex terms, and provide guidance regarding potential risks or concerns.


Investigate Strata Management:

Evaluate the efficiency and competence of the strata management company responsible for maintaining and managing the property. A well-run strata management team ensures timely repairs, clear communication, and adherence to relevant regulations. Request information about previous maintenance and repair history to gauge the level of upkeep and the management’s responsiveness.


Check for Future Plans and Maintenance:

Inquire about any upcoming maintenance projects or future developments that may impact the property or incur additional costs. Are there any planned renovations, structural repairs, or upgrades? Understanding potential expenses and their timing will help you make an informed financial decision.


Attend Strata Meetings:

If possible, attend strata meetings or request meeting minutes to gain insight into the strata community’s dynamics, challenges, and priorities. Participating in these meetings provides an opportunity to voice concerns, contribute to decision-making, and assess the overall environment in which you’ll be living.


Buying a strata property in WA requires careful consideration of various factors to ensure a harmonious and financially viable investment. By understanding the strata scheme, reviewing the strata plan and by-laws, assessing the financial health, seeking professional advice, investigating strata management, checking for future plans and maintenance, and actively participating in strata meetings, you can make a well-informed decision that aligns with your lifestyle and financial goals. Remember, a thorough evaluation of these aspects will contribute to a positive strata living experience.


Written by: Pras Pusparajah, Strata Manager with SVN | Strata


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