- Land

Why the certificate of title is key

Once you have decided on a block of land that is suitable for your new home it is important to obtain a copy of the title to determine whether there are any issues which may affect your decision to purchase.

The most important item is to confirm that the block you are looking at is the same as the block described in the contract to buy. This can be done by comparing the CT and Folio number on the land title with the CT and Folio number on the purchase contract.

Once you have confirmed that the contract you are signing is actually for the block you intend to purchase you must also confirm that the person who is selling the land is actually the registered owner of the land on the certificate of title.

In the case of a property developer this may not actually be held in his/her own names in which case your conveyancer will investigate to confirm that the seller holds the appropriate authority.

The next item to note on the title is whether there are any restrictions on the title that are likely to affect where you can build your house or other amenities. Items on the title may include such things as rights of way, encumbrances or common or community property. You may also ask the seller of the land or the real estate agent to show you the boundaries of the block and if there is any doubt, a licensed surveyor may be required to clarify the boundaries.

There may also be restrictions on the title that have the effect of dictating the materials you use, the style and colour of the exterior of your house and/or the timeframe for building. These controls are more likely where the land is in a new development and the development is trying to maintain a common theme in area.

If you are unsure of any of the items in the Certificate of Title you should engage a qualified Development Consultant or Conveyancer to ensure there are no nasty surprises after you have settled on the land.

Selecting a block of land

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When selecting a block of land that will meet your requirements you have three main options.

You might choose a block of land on your own, engage a Builder Broker to help you select a block of land after discussing your design requirements, or select a house and land package through a builder.

Many find it difficult to select a block of land on their own as they aren't familiar with council requirements or how the site conditions may affect the construction of the house.

A common way of selecting a block to alleviate these concerns is through purchasing a house and land package since most of the preliminary work and investigation has already been done for you.

However if you cannot find a suitable house and land package that meets your needs the most flexible option would be to ask a Builder Broker to assist you in finding a suitable block of land which meets your requirements.

Considering site conditions

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Site conditions can affect the price of building and the layout or design of the house that will be possible to build.


Site conditions will have an impact on the cost of building as it affects the amount of preparation required to lay the footings for the house.

Site conditions include the type of soil, how the soil is distributed across the block, how high is the water table and whether any trees or rocks are contained within the soil.

Some of these factors can be assessed before you build however it may be a good idea to employ an expert who can assist you to determine whether the block you are thinking of buying will involve a lot of site works.

Contract terms when buying land

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When making an offer to buy land you will need to consider the total amount you are offering to pay for the land and whether you will be making any deposit toward the land.


You will also have to nominate a settlement date and state how you will pay for the land. Where applicable you may also require the insertion of any special conditions associated with the sale.

There is no limit to the conditions that may be placed on a contract however the vendor is not obligated to accept these conditions. Examples of general conditions include which party is required to pay any rates, taxes or fees levied, what happens if either party does not go through with the contract and what happens if settlement is delayed.

You can protect your interests by crossing out any terms that do not suit you or adding any suitable terms and then ensuring that all parties initial any changes to confirm that an agreement has been reached.

It is recommended that legal advice should be sought when dealing with legal contracts this may be from a solicitor or conveyancer.

Choosing the right site

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When choosing a block, consider the location to ensure that it incorporates your budget and has the appropriate proximity to schools, shops, transport, and other facilities.

You should also ensure that the block has access to services, such as electricity, water, gas, sewer and telephone and ensure that you have included the cost and time it would take to connect to these utilities.

Another item to consider is climatic conditions such as where the sun rises and sets and how the block will cope with storm water runoff.

Before making the final decision to purchase a block it is important that you understand the council requirements with regard to building your new home.

You may approach the council for further information however bear in mind without drawing up plans and lodging them with council they are unlikely to give you a firm decision.

It may also be prudent to investigate any plans that the council or other government authorities may have for the area to ensure that it doesnt impact on your future plans.

By engaging the services of an experienced Development Consultant you can ensure that you are fully informed prior to signing the contract.