8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Strata Manager

Our insider tips to the questions you should be asking your prospective Strata Manager.

Good or bad, most people judge an entire strata agency on the working relationship they have with their strata manager.

We have prepared this short list of questions that you should be asking prior to making a decision to appoint a new Strata Agent.

How many buildings does your proposed new Strata Manager already look after

Your entire strata experience depends on this simple question. Most agents manage large portfolios, to the point where they can spend most of their time putting out spot fires rather than giving you the proactive service that you are looking for.

What’s included in the monthly management fee

Most agencies charge a monthly management fee which covers agreed services. Works performed outside of the agreed services are charged as an additional fee. You can negotiate with an agency to have fixed price disbursements to give you a clearer understanding of how much your scheme will be paying per year.

Qualifications

The Strata Manager that will be managing your building should at least hold a Certificate 4 in Strata Title Management. Ideally this would have been gained through a Tafe course. It is possible to get a Certificate 4 in Strata Management by paying to do a 2 week course. It is also a good idea to ask how long they have been with the agency.

Experience

When approaching a potential new agent, it’s a fair question to ask how much experience the strata manager has that will actually be managing your building and in case things do go wrong, how much experience they have in attending mediation and tribunal hearings.

Reporting

How often are financial reports generated and are they delivered just the treasurer to the entire committee? Ideally this will be available on a monthly basis.

Service Level Agreements

Strata management is customer service. Your new agent should be able to provide you with time frames of when your requests will be actioned, emails replied to and telephone calls returned.

Your money, your input

It’s your building and you don’t necessarily want the Strata Manager to do everything, so it’s important to clarify how much input will you have in approving creditor payments and what level of input will the committee have when the agent is preparing the proposed budget.

Agreement terms

When appointing a new agent, most will try to lock you in for the maximum period of 3 years. If the services doesn’t meet your expectations you are locked in for the term of the agreement, unless your scheme decides to pay out the remaining term of the agreement. It is a better option to sign a one year agreement and see how things go.

Make Home Improvement on Budget a Reality

Home is the place where the heart is. One of the best ways to improve quality of our life is to spruce up the home we live in. Although home improvements can cost unlimited amounts, it does not always require a fortune to improve the interiors of your home. You can carry out amazing changes in your apartment on budget.

Identify Misses

First of, when you are on budget it is important to identify the areas which require replacement or improvement in your home. For, the prime purpose of home improvement is to ensure no pending repairs post the renovation. This would help you plan the direction of the entire home repair project. Depending on the nature of projects you can decide upon the budget, duration and other factors for home improvement.

Gear up for change

Now you can gear up for the change you need. You should research online and visit home décor shops to get ideas for the purpose. You can save a lot of money by DIY on your previous, used or antique furniture, fittings and cabinets. It is important to check out price differences offered by second-hand shops, antique shops and online lists.

Knowing the expenses helps you get ready for the expenditure too. You can also check out your credit limit available. Home improvements can be one of the smart ways to enhance the valuation of your home. You can also check out if you are eligible for homeowner loans. Leveraging home equity you can draw substantial funding without any hassles.

Some handy home renovation hacks on budget

Kitchen

Kitchen is one place where whole family meets multiple times in a day. A change in the look of kitchen space can transform the feel of your entire home. You can consider changing the colour or cabinet doors for this. Do not forget to visit thrift stores or reuse centers to find the surprisingly cheap deals. Go for contrasting colour and you would revolutionise the appearance of your home. Also pay attention to kitchen lighting. If you need to replace any of the electronic or kitchen gadgets, opt for energy-efficient replacements. It would save you energy bills and keep your home updated.

Living Room

A renovation cannot be complete without bringing change in the living room. For low-cost home improvement, consider redoing the furniture placement. A simple shift of couch from right to left can bring more than expected alteration to your home view. In case you have a centre wall, consider using a bright and unique colour for that wall. Then deck it up with picture art, wall art or an embellished stole gifted by your grandma. The bright walls can steal the attention from other little flaws around.

If you need a new couch, consider using the old frame and get it covered up in a contemporary style. This would bring the modern look with least expense.

Bed Rooms

Changing bed room furniture could be expensive. You can consider changing the bedding, rug, curtains, cushions and every other add-on in your room. If your side tables are old-fashioned, you can consider using attractive wall paper on the front of drawers. It would not only bring a new look but would also cease the boredom owing to old furniture.

Another quick hack could be using darker colour for ceiling. Change in the colour of ceiling would bring a novel look in your personal space. We watch more of the ceilings in the bed rooms after all!

Lavatory

Do not overlook leakages and chipped paint as they are common in the bathroom area. Change faucets if there is any fault. Try to organise if you have too many objects in your bathroom.

Besides, simply changing the mug, bucket and rug can beautify your lavatory. You can introduce an attractive canvas cover for the new feel.

Front and Patio space

For small apartments, an additional sitting space can add enough value to the property. You can consider de-cluttering the backyard and incorporating chair for 2 people at least. You can add a beautiful cushion to an organiser and create a seat. This add-on would not cost more than £20 and enliven the dull space in your home.

Needless to say, do not leave the broken nuts and bolts on window panels or side entries. A new colour for outer walls is a must even if you have decided to keep the inner walls untouched.

In case your room walls are already neat, pick one wall in each section and use your creativity to bring the desired look.

Dilapidation Building Surveys and Their Value

Construction activity can sometimes leave tell-tale effects on adjacent properties that are situated too close to the site. Many reasons contribute to the effects of construction, including poor structural strength and ageing of the existing building. However, contractors and owners of proposed new constructions need to guard themselves from frivolous, false claims of damage to buildings. Dilapidation building surveys help owners and contractors to be armed with evidence from independent agencies that will protect them from exaggerated claims. Here is what needs to be known about dilapidation building surveys and the benefits of opting for one.

Pre-construction inspections

A pre-construction inspection would entail an in-depth analysis of the existing properties, including pictorial proof and thermal imaging of structures. This helps in the preparation of a comprehensive report that documents the structure and the presence of cracks, the extent and intensity of structural weakness etc. This dilapidation survey records proof of existing weakness which can be compared with the post construction conditions. This way, you would be able to determine and assess any damage if occurred because of constructional activity.

Post construction inspections

Similar to the pre-construction inspection, the post construction inspections record the status of the buildings and help in drawing up an extensive comparison to help disprove claims of damage, if any. With the use of latest equipment, including thermal imaging, the exact status of a building and the condition of timber and structures are profiled. This helps in scientifically disproving the claims of damage. At times, damage may have occurred to a certain extent, but the claims may end up being exaggerated in an attempt to receive higher compensation.

Constructional activity and effects on structures in vicinity

Constructional activity includes a large amount of vibration, excavation, soil dewatering and demolition. Depending on the structural condition of buildings in the vicinity and the distance between buildings, it is possible that effects may be felt to a certain extent. Dilapidation surveys not only document and protect owners from unfair demands, it also helps engineers to plan construction better by taking suitable alternative measures to prevent damage to adjacent structures. Architecture and constructional concepts have advanced to levels where it is now possible to greatly mitigate the effects of construction activity on buildings in the vicinity by adopting alternative techniques.

Professional expertise and advanced equipment

Typically, the surveys are conducted by teams of experienced professionals who rely on advanced equipment for collection of data regarding the structural strength or weakness of buildings. Structures may be compromised by termite nests, and timber may actually look good on the outside, while remaining more or less hollow on the inside. The use of the latest equipment, combined with years of experience help inspectors to compile reports that help to document the actual condition of buildings.

It is important to choose teams that are covered by professional indemnity and public liability insurance so as to protect the interests of homeowners seeking such services. The choice of such service providers needs to ideally be influenced by factors such as integrity, professionalism and certification.