Investing in an Apartment: What to Look for

What features make a great apartment that renters will love and will make you money when you sell?

Unique appeal

Look for a feature that sets your apartment aside from others, whether it is larger floor size, a view, hallway entrance or hardwood floors that could be polished up.

Older-style low-rise apartments are often considered a good choice by investors because this means there are fewer units the same as yours and greater opportunity to add value via renovation.

New apartments also have their advantages as they can attract higher rent and depreciation benefits. If you can't decide between old or new, study the rental yields and capital growth history of other apartments on the block (request figures from the agent or use online property research reports).

Small blocks

Blocks with fewer apartments compare favourably to a lot of units in a large block because each owner owns more of the land - which is important when you consider that land value accounts for a significant part of the capital growth prospects of a property.

Good location

Have a look at what's around the area - is there public transport in walking distance? Shops nearby or a cafe culture?
Avoid apartments that are next to busy roads, train lines or petrol stations. A good location will not only bring higher rent but also stronger capital gains.

In-demand amenities

A car space broadens tenant appeal and gives you a valuable marketing point when it comes time to sell. Other attractive amenities include an outdoor area and a private laundry.

Look at the area's demographics to help you profile your target tenants - then think about what amenities they would most like.

Security features

Apartment complexes that provide security doors and intercom systems are a better choice than those where anyone can walk into the building off the street.

Pleasant aspect

Living areas that face north or north-west bring in the sunlight and have greater tenant appeal, as does a pleasant outlook (i.e., not looking on to a brick wall). It might be worth paying a little extra for a good aspect.

Low body corporate fees

Check out the body corporate fees. A building with lifts or other bells and whistles that have to be maintained will bump up the body corporate fees and eat into your rental returns.

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