Researching Your Next Purchase

In the absence of good legislation protecting consumer interest in NSW, here are some suggestions for helping you not buy a unit in a dud building, particularly if you are buying off the plan.

  • Find out the name of the developer and where possible the builder and architect (look for a name on the bottom of the layout drawings provided in sales brochures).

  • Look up the developers and builders brag sheet on their website and find at least two other buildings of a similar scale to the one you are checking out. Find out when these were completed. Don't buy into a building where they don't have at least two previous buildings on a similar scale completed at least five years ago.

  • Do a background check on those two buildings. Google the address, search on real estate sales sites for a unit for sale in that block.

  • Carry out a document search on that unit as if you were buying it. By paying a small fee you can either access the Strata Managers files for that building or buy a report by an independent consultant. Sales agent for that building should provide details.

  • Look through the history to see if major defect reports have been provided and also history of builder / developer-builders honouring repair commitments. You will soon get a sense of good or bad behaviour.

  • In checking through the reports watch for unresolved defects related to waterproofing and fire compliance issues. These are usually the expensive defects to be wary of.

  • Use the information from the search and any direct contact you can make with a Strata Committee member of the two previous buildings to guide your decision.

  • Remember there is a risk of buying a dud unit just like you can buy a dud car. Spend as much time in checking the track record of your unit as your would when purchasing a car.

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