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Finding the perfect Sydney Apartment - July 2019

By Rich Harvey, CEO & Founder, propertybuyer.com.au

All apartments are not created equally in Sydney, as anyone who has ever lived in one will be able to tell you.

Some look wonderful but are ovens in summer, have no storage space or sound like you’re in the middle of a nightclub on a Saturday evening when the street noise blasts through the walls. Others are in parts of a suburb where you need to walk 500 miles before you discover a decent cup of coffee.

Finding the perfect apartment can be a struggle, because there are just so many of them in this city. Knowing how to buy right is confusing and time-consuming, and some of the tell-tale signs of an awful apartment are tricky to spot.

Here’s my guide on what to look for when selecting a great apartment purchase.


Focus on good fundamentals

What makes the perfect apartment so perfect? I believe it’s a combination of the elements – internal, external and adjacent.

The internal is the actual inside of the apartment. A lot of this can be tweaked and change to suit your style and preferences. A daggy old kitchen can be replaced with a modern one that contains all of the bells and whistles. But, if the square-meter space of the kitchen is pokey, you could be stuck for choices. Same goes with the bathroom. Also, some floor plans are difficult to alter, so if a potential purchase’s bedrooms are tiny and have no space for built-in robes, it might be best to avoid it.

A good internal is one with decent-sized bedrooms, existing storage (or the potential to add it), a good-sized kitchen and a living area that doesn’t feel cramped. Also, prioritise natural light and airflow so it doesn’t feel like you’re living in a dark, damp box.

When I talk about the external, one of the big factors to consider is the apartment’s outlook. What’s the apartment’s vista? Is it a nice park, a pretty streetscape or some sort of sought-after natural element, like the Harbour? Or, is it a carpark, service station or someone else’s living room in the building next door?

Apartment living means making some concessions, such as not having a big backyard and high fence. But you shouldn’t throw away things like a pleasant outlook or privacy for the sake of a cost saving. That’s not a perfect apartment – it’s a substandard one.

Also, make sure the outlook you’re buying will be there for a while. What’s between you and that view? A tired, old building or vacant block that a developer could one day put a tower on? A government-owned reserve that could be used to extend a busy road into a major one? Do your homework to know what you’re getting.

Another part of the external is whether there’s a bit of outdoor space, which is always desired. A patio, balcony or courtyard, or a shared space at the very least, should be at the top of your list. An apartment with no external element is a risky buy. Not only will it be less enjoyable for you, but it could hurt your long-term growth. People want to feel connected to the outdoors.

Now, let’s consider the adjacent.

Noise is an important consideration. People love the appeal of apartment-living because the good ones are centrally located and surrounded by convenient transport options, lifestyle amenities and a sense of community. But with all of that can come a pretty noisy environment at times. A perfect apartment is close enough to the action without being smack bang in the rowdy middle of it.

For the basics, look for double-glazed windows or soundproofing if an apartment is on or close to a main road. Or, better still, seek out apartments at the back of the block or up high.

Parking is a premium in many parts of Sydney. For some clients, they don’t mind if an apartment doesn’t come with a car space – that’s if it’s in a suburb well served by lots of transport options or plenty of off-street parking. It’s risky though when it comes to re-sale.

Also, check for bike lanes and even the availability of car share services in the neighbourhood. That could be an OK compromise.


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Think of the little things

Like people, the perfect apartment can sometimes hide a few character flaws that can be difficult to live with. So, poke around.

Open cupboards to see how deep they are. In older properties, cabinets weren’t nearly as deep as they are now, so all of that storage you think you have could be half of what it would be in a newer pad.

Turn on the taps in the shower to check out the water pressure. Even in some new builds, the size and scale of a complex means that by the time the water gets to you in the morning, it’s more of a gentle drip than a firm stream. That will get old really fast.

If you’re looking in spring, consider that the apartment might not be so cool and comfortable in the middle of summer. Poorly designed apartments act like ovens in hotter months. And similarly, a lot are like eskies in winter. You’ll spend a fortune on heating and cooling.

Visit at various times of the day. What’s the atmosphere in the morning rush, during the day, after work and in the evening? What about on weekends?

Check the security too. How sound is the building? How do visitors get to you? How do you keep unwanted people out?


A huge part of perfect is….

Location, location, location.

There are plenty of apartments across Sydney, and some of them might have all of the features that make them perfect – to a degree. But an apartment in a bad suburb means you could live in a palace and still not feel at home.

You want an apartment that’s near transport, so you can easily get around. This includes public transport as well as good road connections. You want an apartment that has good amenities – parks, shops, cafes and local businesses.

Where’s the closest supermarket? How far will you have to travel to get your groceries each week? Is there a good convenience store for the times you’ve run out of milk? What about a good local butcher and grocer? These are all worthy considerations too.

But most of all, you want an area that is desirable, has good future prospects in terms of gentrification, population and demographic changes, and infrastructure improvements. You want a suburb that is well-located to the CBD and other major hubs.

And, for capital growth, buy in an area that doesn’t have too many new apartment developments as that may lead to over-supply in the future.

Do your homework to see what’s happening in your area of choice now – and what’s likely to happen in the future. Better yet, call on an expert buyers’ agent. Our wealth of experience allows us to quickly pick the gem apartment options, saving you time, money and long-term heartache.



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