High Owners Corporation fees can sometimes surprise first-time homeowners especially those new to Strata schemes. While these payments are unavoidable, there are some ways in which you can make sure your money is well spent and even reduce the amount you pay yearly.
First of all, you need to understand that Owners Corporation fees are your share of what it costs to manage your building’s common areas. This includes expenses such as lift maintenance, cleaning, electricity, etc. Additional facilities and services such as pools, gyms, bbq areas or building managers will increase the costs. Be sure you are well informed of your building’s expenses before signing your contract and review Owners Corporation meetings minutes to see if any extra payments or raises are being discussed, since they might be applied after you buy. This will allow you to properly plan your budget and avoid surprises.
Once you are a homeowner, these are some steps you can take to reduce your fees:
Attend your Owners Corporation Annual General Meeting
Every Owner’s Corporation is required to hold an Annual General Meeting and no one benefits more from them than owners. This is your chance to be heard and take control of your building’s finances. It is where the annual budget is reviewed and approved, and the best way to propose changes, review third-party contracts and make cuts if you feel some expenses are not necessary. If you don’t go to meetings you are essentially paying for other people’s decisions, so make sure to make time for them!
Invest in energy-efficient initiatives
With electricity and gas prices increasing every year, an investment in more efficient systems might actually reduce your building’s expenses in the long run. Installing energy saver lights, movement sensors in hallways or systems that capture rain water are just some ways in which you can reduce water usage, improve waste management and increase energy efficiency in your building. Specialist companies can help you evaluate your building’s systems and suggest the best upgrades for every situation – ask your Owners Corporation manager to arrange a quote.
Make sure your Owners Corporation maintains a healthy maintenance fund
Your Owners Corporation’s maintenance fund is the money set aside for programmed maintenance, such as painting the building or replacing carpets in halls, and emergency repairs. It is an efficient way to budget for future problems and expenses, as the cost is spread over the years instead of requiring owners to pay a one-off substantial extra fee. By making sure your Owners Corporation is maintaining the maintenance fund at a healthy level you are protecting the value of your unit and the investments you have made.