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Before you decide whether you want to live in an apartment or a house do your research first. If your heart’s set on living within a particular area, find out more about the demographic that lives there – is it mostly young people living in apartments or is it more family oriented with plenty of houses? The type of property within demand is what you should consider – not the area – as it will grow better in value in the long run. Make sure you buy a home which suits the demographic of where you wish to live.

There are other things to consider with an apartment or a house as well. An apartment is one of many sharing space within a building that you will have to help finance to maintain. Make sure you read the strata report first which outlines the health of the building, major repairs past and present, special levies and the amount that’s in the sinking fund. Money from this fund goes toward maintenance and repairs and if there isn’t much in it, usually a special levy is required from all owners to help bump it back up. It may cost a couple of hundred to view the report but at least you’ll know what you’re taking on if you decide to go ahead with your purchase. Similarly if it’s a house you’re after, get a building and pest inspection done to ensure there are no structural or internal issues or any other hidden nasties lurking about before you purchase. These reports cost a bit but they can help you decide whether to pursue the sale or not.

Another difference between a house and an apartment is freedom to do what you want with it. A standalone house doesn’t share common space with anything else so if you don’t like the colour it’s painted on the outside you can change it. If you hate the pavers used for the driveway you can rip them up and put whatever you want down. An apartment is a different story. The walls, roof or even the floor may be considered common property, meaning there’s little flexibility to change things unless you get owner’s corporate - or body corporate - approval. You’re also limited with what you can change outside the apartment, like on your balcony for example. If you want to paint, change tiles or even install an air-conditioning unit outside you will usually need approval first. There are also other strata rules which may apply for your apartment complex, such as owning pets. Do your research first before committing.