1. Get your hands on the ‘Certificate of Title’

At the top of the list is obtaining a Certificate of Title from the selling agent prior to purchasing any property. The Certificate of Title (often simply referred to as the ‘title’) is a piece of paper that lists the present owner, any existing mortgages, and any easements on the property or restrictive covenants on the property.  Easements or restrictive covenants can greatly impact how the land can be used and could affect your future enjoyment of the land. REIWA has created a great guide here to help you understand these restrictions.

2. The zoning of the vacant land

Local city councils allocate zoning on every property, from residential to commercial. You’ll see figures like R30 or R40 – this refers to the ‘zoning’. Zoning tells you what you can build on the block of land, how you need to build it,  and future uses for the block (i.e. subdivision potential). If you’re looking at a low-lying or bushland block, it is crucial to check the bushfire or flood zone of the property. Higher risk areas can affect your ability to obtain finance for a build as well as increase construction costs.

3. Site conditions

‘Site conditions’ is a term used to describe the features of the land such as soil type, existing trees or rocks, water table, and soil distribution. The site conditions will affect construction so you really want to thoroughly investigate any limitations of the site prior to entering a sales contract. To test the site conditions a soil test can be done. Alternatively, another great way to see how suitable a new block is to build on is to talk to a builder before you purchase to see if you’re up for any hefty additional costs.

4. Infrastructure

Depending on the land you purchase, the site costs can differ drastically. Depending on what type of land infill or Greenfield, if it is infill this is certainly something to check prior to buying, what these costs will add to the siteworks. With Greenfield sites generally the builder will take care of the utilities and the owner will just need to set up the services. Things to ask and check are is the block connected to must-have utility services like power, gas, internet, water and sewage? It is important to know this to better understand the cost. If not, find out the costs of having them installed and factor these into your budget and decision to purchase the land.

5. Does your dream home comply?

Local city councils often have regulations around how houses and properties must look from the street front. This is often a mix of aesthetics and liability requirements. Seek out the local council’s ‘Built Form’ policy for local compliance requirements. This will highlight acceptable building materials, front elevation styles, the distance of structures from the road, green space and sustainability, and more. If you were hoping for a contemporary coastal home but your local council requires a federation style, you might need to look elsewhere!

6. Pick the best orientation

As a rule when land buying, a northern orientation block of land in Perth will ensure your home receives natural light and warmth during winter, while being shielded from excessive heat in the hotter months of the year. Harnessing natural energy to heat and cool your home means you’ll rely less on artificial heating and cooling. Not only does this save you money but it’s much better for the planet. However, while a north-facing home is the most ‘desirable’, clever architects and builders can plan designs that optimise any orientation, just something to be mindful of before you purchase land.

7. Location, location, location

We all know that location matters! The location can include the community, neighborhood, local amenities and environment. It is important to consider how close is the block of land to amenities like schools, shops, public transport, parks, arterial roads, and medical facilities? What you use regularly and important to be close to. It is also a bonus if you upgrade later down the track and rent your home out, having easy access to a myriad of amenities will help you achieve a higher rental return. When you are making a land purchase looking up the area statistics can also help to further understand the area. Deciding on the area is a personal choice about what is important to you, your community should support your lifestyle.

8. Future plans near your perfect block

Find out which local city council oversees the block you’re interested in and enquire about future developments or proposals in the area. Imagine if a 6-storey apartment block was approved just down the road and suddenly you have 30 new neighbours? Be sure to also enquire about any approved direct neighbouring building proposals or nearby developments as they may affect your new home plans – and your lifestyle.

9. Boundaries

Check to make sure the boundaries of the lot and land dimensions on the physical ground matches what is written in the land’s official documents when you buy land. A licensed surveyor can provide you with evidence through a ‘survey report’. Imagine spending time and money on beautiful landscaping only having to rip it out because your neighbour discovers they actually own an extra metre into your own block? Oops!

10. Is the land heritage listed?

Although unlikely in newer suburbs and land developments, if you’re looking in older suburbs be sure to check the land you wish to purchase is not heritage listed. This could create a multitude of problems when you go to build! You can check any address for a heritage listing on the WA Government website here 

Conclusion

So there it is! Our top 10 tips you absolutely must know before buying land. If you’re still a little nervous about selecting the right block of land, one of our knowledgeable New Home Consultants can help you with your research. Why not drop us a line on 6555 7548 or fill out the form below we’ll guide you through the process and can help with all your questions, we will aim to get back to you quickly.

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