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Things to think about when purchasing land:

  • Can you afford the land and still build a home? Only you can establish your budget.

  • Which suburb or town do you want to live in?

  • What's the re-sale value in the area?

  • What are the local Council regulations and relevant building codes?

  • What kind of living environment do you want to create?

  • If you want to build, do you have any knowledge of home building or renovating, or have any friends with building experience that can give you tips and advice when you need it?

If you decide that buying land to build is right for you then the search criteria will become more specific. First you need to establish a rough idea of the size and shape of your new home.

There's no point in trying to build a split-level home on a flat block or a large square home on a small narrow block. When inspecting land you should have in mind one or more possible sites where your dream house can be built.

Other points to consider are:

  • Ensure the land allows for a house design to take advantage of views, solar orientation, indoor/outdoor entertainment areas, land slope, street access and future planting.

  • You will require inspections. Depending on the location, these could include a geotech survey, environmental impact and bushfire reports. The Vendor may supply some of these, saving you time and money as well as making it easier to establish any constraints specific to the site.

  • Check with all authorities such as the Roads Authority, Council, Water Board and Electricity Authority, that they have no plans for future developments such as road widening, expressways, sewer lines, transmission easements, etc. A preliminary check is advisable while looking for land. A formal check with a written response should always be included during the purchase or conveyancing phase.

  • Check the location of land for proximity to local and major shopping centres, train or bus transport, and schools.
  • Check that you are not under a direct flight path.

  • It may be a great place to live, but remember the travel time and distance to work. After all, you do this at least ten times a week.

  • Land situated near a reserve or park offers additional advantages for outside entertainment for children.

  • If the land directly adjoins a park you should be wary of house thieves. Be security conscious in your design and eliminate areas where a thief can easily enter undetected.

  • Enjoyable views are important to consider as these add value to the land and your new home. Most house designs have the bedrooms on the upper level. However a view that can only been seen from this level is not as valuable as one that can also be seen from the ground floor.

  • Slightly sloping land is preferable to steeply sloping as the land can be more easily utilised for building or outside entertainment.

  • Steeply sloping land will cost more for your footings and construction generally. However, this may be offset by a lower price or better views.

  • Flat land is excellent for building on and for outside entertainment areas, but it can present a problem with water retention and dampness during prolonged wet periods.
  • The orientation of your land is extremely important, especially if you intend to incorporate passive solar design features in your home. A north facing back yard is ideal as it allows sun into the family, kitchen, meals, rumpus and other rooms normally situated at the rear of the property.

  • Shading to the east and west of the property will reduce your cooling costs during summer.

  • Existing trees can enhance the finished appearance of the home and are useful for future landscaping. They can also be a problem if they are located where you want to build. Check that they can be removed and don't have a Heritage or Council order protecting them. The cost of removing trees can be expensive if they are large, close to a boundary, neighbouring trees or houses.

  • What are the Council's height and setback restrictions for building?

  • If the block doesn't have services connected, you will need to speak to the local water and energy companies about what services are available to the block.

  • If the services are connected, find out where they are on the block as this will give you an idea of where you can build and what will be required to connect the services to a new dwelling.

  • Visit the local Council to find out if there are any restrictions on the type of home your allowed to build, or if there are any plans in place by local authorities that could adversely effect your property.

  • If you hire a solicitor or professional conveyancer, they will handle most of the searches and inspections that need to be done. However you should try to stay 'in the know' so that things go the way you plan and avoid others making assumptions on your behalf.

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