How to minimise maintenance & repair costs of apartment living

The cost of maintaining an apartment and common areas can be high if your building maintenance requirements are not properly assessed, but with careful planning and preventative measures, your ongoing costs can be considerably reduced.

Find out who is responsible for what

Don’t spend your time or money working on common areas of your building, such as hallways, gardens, pools and the gym, without first finding out who is responsible for the upkeep of those areas.

Typically, the committee will be responsible for maintaining all common areas in your property, as you’re already contributing towards the cost of their upkeep through your fees or levies. So you’d be throwing time and money away by spending your own cash to fix issues in those areas or making any improvements yourself.

Instead, if there is something in your building that you feel could be improved, or if you see something that needs to be repaired or cleaned, let your strata manager know so they can organise the necessary quotes and approvals.

Learn what to look for

For the things within your apartment that you’re responsible for, such as your appliances, flooring and electrics, schedule regular checks and keep an eye out for any signs of wear and tear. If you address any issues early on, rather than waiting until something breaks down, it will save you money in the long run.

Things such as plumbing and electrics should be left to qualified technicians, but there’s no reason you can’t do the more basic jobs yourself, such as giving a room a fresh coat of paint or landscaping in your courtyard. Again, this will save you money, and by keeping your property in an excellent state of repair, you will also ensure that it holds its value if you ever decide to sell.

One thing that puts potential buyers off buying an apartment more than anything is the idea that they will have to do a lot of work in the place before it is liveable, so it pays to keep on top of things when it comes to maintenance and repairs.

Research new builds

When purchasing off the plan or in a newly completed development, be mindful that new build apartment blocks may have defects that can be costly to fix. Research conducted by the UNSW City Futures Research Centre back in 2012 found that 85% of apartments built in NSW since 2000 have defects.

These results are indicative of the new apartment market across the country, and it’s usually the owners who end up footing the bill to rectify the issues, which can add huge costs to your purchase and leave you in negative equity, so research the developer and building you’re intending to buy in and speak to the committee to find out if there are any major issues with the building before committing to buy.

These three measures are the best ways to minimise maintenance and repair costs of your apartment in the long term. For more information on apartment living check out these need to knows before buying off the plan, challenges of apartment renos and 8 rules of apartment living to be aware of.

This story was written by the PICA Group and first appeared on Homely on 13 December 2017.