Your Land: A Buyers Guide

Buying land, location, and services are important considerations for your lifestyle and resale value. The temptation to compromise should be weighed against future needs, such as schools, shopping centers, parks, medical services, public transport. If these services are not presently available, find out if there are plans drawn up and how long it will take. Other important considerations are the time it will take to travel to and from work and the road infrastructure.

The cost of removing trees is likely to be expensive and council permission is usually required. Also, consider whether any rocks need to be removed. Remember that steep sites tend to increase building costs. The stability of the soil may also need to be checked. The local council may require geo-technical reports and extensive engineering drawings before granting permission to build. If there are any creeks, dams or watercourses on or near the site, you may need to check any restrictions about building. Check if the site is prone to flooding as you may face difficulties obtaining finance and insurance. You should consider the aspect and any views from the block. Will the views be built out or blocked out by vegetation or development in the future? Use the site’s natural features for maximum energy efficiency. For example, if possible, have the main living areas facing north for maximum exposure to the sun.

Check you have access to the site for concrete trucks and construction equipment, including bulldozers and bobcats if the excavation is taking place. If the site is in a new or outlying area, a road may need to be constructed first. You should find out who is responsible for its cost and maintenance.

Before you purchase, have the actual boundaries of the land measured. A registered surveyor should check and peg these. Also check with the local council about the building boundaries and zoning for the property. Check if there are any easements for services (eg. sewerage, drainage or electricity) on the land. Any covenants that will limit your choice of building material or size of the house should also be identified.

If you have a sizeable piece of land is it always a good idea to check with the local council if you allowed to subdivide the property for dual occupancy. A check of any building covenants or restrictions on the title should also be undertaken.  Understand the costs, the price of the deposit, normally there are separate contracts involved that have detailed financial payments and time lines stated.