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Deciding on finishings and fixtures in an off the plan apartment design is an important step, as the products you choose will determine how your property ages. The choice of finishings and fixtures may also attract different types of tenants as some tenants may be prepared to pay more for higher quality touches, but the upkeep and maintenance needs to be considered, as they do depreciate with time.

Decisions to make include floor coverings, window dressings, wall tiles, paint colour, taps, door handles, light switches, light shades, kitchen appliances, sinks and more. “Just like a good wine, you want your property to age well,” says Matusik Property Insights director Michael Matusik. “The trend for finishes is simple: modern, spacious designs that can stand the test of time, but are also welcoming, comfortable and feel like home,” Matusik says.

Matusik says when choosing floor covers, the trend is for longevity. “Carpets are generally darker and limited to bedrooms. The most durable living area floor is a tiled one; gloss or matte. “For depreciation purposes, carpet, timber floorboards and tiles are each deemed to have an effective life. Carpet with 10 years, timber floorboards with 15 years and tiles with 40 years. “A $2000 outlay on floor coverings, for example, would result in the following depreciation benefits in the first year: carpet $400, timber floorboards $267 and tiles $50. “Armed with this sort of knowledge, an investor might find it financially viable to upgrade a level of finish from say, low to medium or medium to high,” Matusik says.

Matusik says when it comes to kitchen appliances; quality and function are the way to go and it’s the little details that tick the box these days. “Think of a fridge dispensing ice and water, a bigger oven, a wider cooktop, or a built-in coffee machine. Negotiate just one ‘wow’ factor into your kitchen and tenants will love you,” Matusik says.

Matusik says another quality trend is soft-close drawers and that energy efficient light fittings should be considered. “Beware of glossy leaflets with annotations along the lines of ‘artist impression’ and ‘subject to change or availability’.” “Ask too, whether the construction will merely meet Australian standards. These standards are, in the main, inadequate for the realities of modern urban living and in particular, for those residing in large apartment complexes. You are better off paying for higher than the prescribed building standard,” Matusik says.

The choice of fittings and fixtures could also affect your property’s resale, according to Property Searchers managing partner Scott McGeever. “Consider the type and quality of construction and the level of fittings and fixtures that are used in the complex, as well as the interior of the property itself. “If they are cheap and nasty, they tend to not age well and look tatty after a short time period and that will affect re-sale. “Finished quality of fixtures and fittings can also vary to what they looked like on the sample board. What might appear good quality in a display might have been poorly executed/installed when being built,” McGeever says.

When choosing fittings, fixtures and finishings, opt for quality and function and also longevity. Top of the range appliances may be OK for owner-occupiers but will not always pay off for investors and depreciation benefits. Off the plan buyers should also be sure to have a schedule of inclusions of all fittings and fixtures, on the sale contract.

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