What should I do before signing a contract?

You should get professional advice about the complexities involved in buying property. If you are interested in buying a strata unit, it is essential you look at the records of the owners corporation and know as much as you can about the maintenance of the building. Particularly, you should consider how much it may cost and whether there are signs that money may need to be spent soon. Sometimes your solicitor will arrange this for you, but not always. There are companies that specialise in inspecting the books and they know what to look for. You can inspect the records yourself (upon payment of the necessary fees) and the owners corporation must make these records available:

    1. the strata roll (shows: who owns each unit, mortgagees and others who have an interest in lots, general information about the strata scheme, the name of the managing agent, insurance details, the by-laws and the unit entitlements for the scheme and each lot)
    2. general records, such as notices served about disputes or required by legislation, orders, minutes of meetings, accounting records, financial statements, correspondence received and sent, notices of meetings, details of proxies, voting papers
    3. plans, specifications, certificates, diagrams and other documents if supplied by the original builder at the first annual general meeting
    4. the certificate of title for the common property
    5. the last financial statements
    6. current insurance policies and the receipt for the last premium paid other records held by the owners corporation, and records or books of account kept by a strata managing agent.

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