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Body corporate costs for new apartments?

By brojac87 - 30 January 2015 6

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Hi, just wondering whether anyone could advise on what one might expect to pay in body corporate fees for a two bed, two bath, 80m living apartment off the plan in Canberra at the moment?

It is a small complex of around 30 apartments with no pool or gym, and one lift. The complex also combines town house living, with a set of three bed townhouses which combine costs for garden maintenance etc.

I have no experience with body corporate, but was shocked at the estimated cost per annum. Any insight into this would be most appreciated.

What’s Your opinion?


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6 Responses to
Body corporate costs for new apartments?
watto23 12:42 pm 01 Feb 15

tooltime said :

Use this calculator:

http://mybodycorpreport.com.au/how-to-calculate-body-corporate-levies/

It won’t stop you getting ripped off though, so tread cautiously. Importantly, are you an owner / occupier living there yourself or an investor? You’ll just have to decide for yourself if your happy to pay for services you mightn’t use frequently. Eg, cleaner, gardener, lift mechanic. Another way of thinking is if your gonna get stung on the body corporate side of the equation, maybe put these extra funds into a freestanding house somewhere. You get the added benefit of land price appreciation, no body corp…it’s a massive financial decision, so take your time & get it right.

Cheers

Although rates on a freestanding property will be also much higher. As I suggested just because Body Corporate fees exist doesn’t mean a place without them is cheaper. There is a lot of things you need to compare before deciding. I feel the OP has over simplified it because the initial fees looked high. But if they are that high it may also be related to location and services. So look for a complex without a lift, pool, gym etc and then compare again.

tooltime 6:45 pm 30 Jan 15

Use this calculator:

http://mybodycorpreport.com.au/how-to-calculate-body-corporate-levies/

It won’t stop you getting ripped off though, so tread cautiously. Importantly, are you an owner / occupier living there yourself or an investor? You’ll just have to decide for yourself if your happy to pay for services you mightn’t use frequently. Eg, cleaner, gardener, lift mechanic. Another way of thinking is if your gonna get stung on the body corporate side of the equation, maybe put these extra funds into a freestanding house somewhere. You get the added benefit of land price appreciation, no body corp…it’s a massive financial decision, so take your time & get it right.

Cheers

watto23 4:12 pm 30 Jan 15

Alexandra Craig said :

I’m firmly set on buying a house, not an apartment or town house, purely because of body corporate fees. If I’m going to buy something, I want it to be 100% mine to do whatever I want with.

So to calculate a common cost between house and townhouse/unit you need to include building insurance, rates and body corporate fees. You’ll soon see in many cases the body corporate fees are the least of your concerns.

There is a lot of misconception about body corporate fees and what they cover. Also there is scope for owners to change the body corporate fees after all they are set at the AGM. If you think something is unreasonable then you can change it. This is where a small complex is better because its easier to reach an agreement. I’m an owner in a complex, attend the AGMs and when needed we have committee meetings also. So I do have a say and “own” the complex to the point I am really not as restricted as you think a body corporate is.

My body corporate fees are ~$370 a quarter and there are 20 houses in the complex. It covers maintenance in general of all the common areas. Also covers building insurance, so you don’t need building insurance. You still need contents insurance. We also provide a skip twice a year to get rid of bulky waste. At a few hundred dollar a pop, it is a lot for one house to get a skip, but the body corporate pays for it and its covered in the rates. Of course if you don’t use it you miss out.
The actual fee we pay to the property management group is around $1500 pa from memory.
We also noted the 20+ yr old wooden fences were starting to need replacing. We put into the annual budget money to cover replacement fencing and basically the deal is if a person replaces their fence it has to be with colourbond and the body corporate covers half the cost.

Buying into a unit makes alot more sense for a first time buyer and saves money up front. Everyone of course wants a house instead!

The negatives in my mind relate to every place looking the same and less creative freedom, but we are pretty relaxed about everything and rarely knock back anything if it is reasonable and done properly, like pergolas and decks or even a carport. Body corporate does help ensure the value of your property doesn’t decline because your neighbours decide to create a mess.

so while you might think its inconvenient you need to look at the big picture add up your rates and building insurance vs rates and body corporate for a true picture.

bd84 2:32 pm 30 Jan 15

Generally the off the plan body corporate fees are a rough guestimate based on similar costs from other developments. My experience to date is that the builders usually underestimate the original body corporate costs, and it will go up in the first few years once actual costs are known.

There really isn’t a “usual” amount for body corporate fees, as pretty much every building will be different. Once you have things requiring maintenance such as lifts, swimming pools, gyms, automatic doors, building painting for renders, the cost will increase substantially as the units will need sufficient funds to meet these and any other extraordinary costs. Larger buildings will also usually have higher fees, as there will be more common areas and exteriors to be looked after, either in cleaning, painting and gardening. You will also have to pay through the body corporate for water rates of your neighbours wasting it all and for cleaning up for all the lazy scum who will just dump any unwanted household goods wherever they feel like it.

What I would recommend looking for when buying is to check as to whether their estimate of the body corp fees are reasonable – will they cover the cost of everything, rather than is it a nice cheap fee. A cheap fee could be that they’re underestimating and when it comes to fixing things down the track you will be paying 10 times the current amount to fund the work. I know of apartment buildings in the Gungahlin area where this has occurred. Paying more spread over a longer period is better than paying little now and a very large amount later on.

tim_c 12:07 pm 30 Jan 15

Once you’ve got a lift, the fees will go up significantly – they require regular maintenance. The fees will be more for more astute managers too because they’ll make sure they’re collecting enough along the way to pay for routine maintenance and replacement of plant and equipment. Cowboy managers will get away with a little, and then you’ll be facing real problems when the lift stops working, and instead of being planned maintenance, has to be repaired at emergency rates – try getting any tradie to your house after hours and you’ll know what I’m referring to. Obviously all of the costs will be split between dwellings, depending on the respective “unit entitlement”
Ask to have a look at the calculations behind the estimate and you’ll know what they’ve allowed and how the final figure is determined.

Alexandra Craig 10:57 am 30 Jan 15

I can’t comment as an expert but as someone who looks at the property market fairly regularly, body corporate fees are soooo inconsistent. I’m looking to buy, and I looked at a townhouse that literally had nothing except an underground carpark, a courtyard with low maintenance plants and a front security gate, and the body corporate fees were something like $8500 a year – ridiculous.

But for example, the Brighton complex in Kingston has a pool, gym, tennis court, underground carpark, and their body corporate fees are quite low I believe. I suspect this is because there’s about 5 billion apartments to split the cost.

I’m firmly set on buying a house, not an apartment or town house, purely because of body corporate fees. If I’m going to buy something, I want it to be 100% mine to do whatever I want with.

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