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For her investors Wilcox usually targets
the one-bedroom unit with more than 50
square metres of space internally, which
she notes can be hard to find.
“Or a good sized two-bedroom, one-
bathroom unit,” she says.
“Both of these options can be purchased
within the comfort level of most investors,
in the $360,000 to low $400,000 range.”
She prefers her investor to buy in a
smaller boutique complex with no more
than 12 units.
“In most cases it will be a walk-up
complex with low body corporate fees, and
the complex will be brick and could be 15
to 27 years of age,” she says.
Wilcox illustrates an example of an ideal
two-bedroom, one-bathroom Paddington
unit investment with the “must-have”
lockable single garage and balcony.
It sold late last year for $385,000. The unit
is tastefully renovated internally, in original
condition externally, and includes one
lockable garage space.
It also happens to be just a couple of
blocks from Paddington’s popular Latrobe
Terrace for shopping and eating, and
Rosalie’s popular Nash Street.
The rental income for a unit like this
would range from $395 to $420 per week,
She suggests that looking at the floor
plan of the unit will also help determine the
unit’s worth and future potential, because
a great floor plan adds value.
Even better is finding a tired unit with a
great floor plan that just needs some TLC
by way of a makeover, Wilcox notes.
“Many unit blocks in Paddington are still
relatively unchanged externally,” she says.
“In an area like Paddington, the rental
demand is always strong, so rental returns
will continue to steadily increase over time,
which then results in growth.”
And when it comes to no-go zone, Wilcox
suggests investors avoid “low-lying areas
and the low side of the street if possible”.
“I would also avoid busy roads and watch
for cut-through streets.”
Hamilton is classed as one of Brisbane’s
most prestigious suburbs. And it’s the
place to look for established units for many
reasons, according to Solano.
“Hamilton is positioned between the
Brisbane CBD and the airport, and also
has three transport options of bus, ferry on
the Brisbane River, and is within walking
distance of Ascot and Doomben train
stations,” he explains.
“Hamilton also offers the lifestyle of cafés
and restaurants along Racecourse Road
and Portside. It’s also a location of future
development and infrastructure spending,
which will only enhance the features of
According to Solano, the Brisbane Racing
Club has big plans to redevelop the Eagle
Farm and Doomben racecourse precinct
to include mixed residential, commercial
and retail areas, while still retaining
The Kingsford Smith Road upgrade will
also improve the area, Solano adds.
“It will better support cars, buses,
walking and riding pathways.”
Then there’s Northshore Hamilton, the
ever-expanding urban renewal project
including residential units, dining and
shopping by the river.
Solano believes the new infrastructure,
amenity and residential units will positively
impact the area as a whole, but careful
property selection is very important to
ensure its long-term performance is strong.
His selection checklist includes buying
in a location within close proximity to
Racecourse Road and public transport.
So where to avoid in Hamilton? Solano
suggests investors avoid the busy roads
such as Nudgee Road and Kingsford
“Because these roads will only get busier
as time goes on,” he says.
“I believe the new units will be at a
different price point so although they’re
all within the ‘unit’ category of real estate,
I think established units will be the more
“They’ll also be lower in ongoing costs
considering the newer units will have
higher body corporate fees due to their
additional amenities such as pools, gyms
In Hamilton, you can find entry-level
established units priced around the
$300,000s to the low $400,000s, with rental
yields ranging from 4.5 per cent to five per
cent, Solano notes.
Normally there are four to eight units in
a three-level 1970s or 1980s brick walk-up
complex. A garage is usually downstairs.
The units are often comprised of two
bedrooms with built-in wardrobes, and
one bathroom. The bathroom usually
consists of a shower over a bath and vanity
unit. There’s often a linen cupboard in
Solano adds the internal walls are often
brick so maintenance is very low, but
removing walls within the unit is often
difficult, although still possible.
Value-adding opportunities can be found
everywhere in these units, Solano says.
“From a makeover of the kitchen, the
bathroom, new floor coverings, window
furnishings, paint, and wall removal,
to creating open-plan living. But over-
capitalising is a risk so study the market
and plan accordingly, or get a property
consultant on board.”
And external works of these Hamilton
unit blocks are often difficult, given there
are often multiple owners, Solano adds.
“But with the age of these unit blocks,
1. Look at the floor plan not just from an
investor, but an owner-occupier and a ten-
2. Ask the agent plenty of questions
including: the sale history of the unit as
well as the complex, the rental history of
units in the complex, and what works the
owner and body corporate have previously
done on the unit and complex.
3. Walk around the complex with
your eyes open to look for movement/
cracking/rising damp. It’s not that
you wouldn’t buy the unit if you found
something, but it’s to gauge the risk of the
complex and also what the unit’s value is
worth when taking into consideration all
aspects of the unit and complex.
4. Check for flooding and overland flow.
Most people think that it doesn’t matter
because the units are off the ground, but
you don’t want your garage flooding if you
could’ve avoided this just from simply
asking the selling agent.
5. As part of the due diligence,
investigate how much money is in the
building’s sinking fund. Check if any
repairs and a makeover are already
scheduled or planned, it could be a bonus
if they are. Though it could also mean
you need to be prepared for some extra
expenses. If you can buy now knowing
there’s enough money in the sinking
fund for the building’s external side to be
freshened up in the coming years, then it’s
6. Because these prestigious suburbs
tend to be inner city, you also need to
remember that you’ll have traffic noise in
most areas. However choosing the unit at
the rear of the block and not the front of
the complex can make a huge difference.
Source: Buyers’ agent Liz Wilcox of Hot Property Specialists
6 research tips for buying units in
Brisbane’s prestigious suburbs
THE STATES // QLD
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