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Buying land – The Home Owner Building Guide

Buying land – The Home Owner Building Guide

This video focuses on the steps to buying a block of land.  Find out what you need to consider when choosing the location and the type of block and what to be aware of before paying the deposit. Part 2 of 13. 

Video script and extra information:

Where you build will influence your ability to meet your current and future needs. The first step is to select a preferred location type – for example, urban, suburban, or rural areas – and then examine your choices in those categories. In choosing a specific site, you should also consider your preferred lifestyle.

Important lifestyle considerations include:

proximity to work, schools, universities, exercise facilities, shops, health care and entertainment
proximity to public transport – this may eliminate the need for a car or a second car
balancing initial and ongoing costs – cheaper land in the city outskirts may mean higher transport costs
the type and size of home required – the number of bedrooms and space for outdoor activities 

After choosing a location, it is time to consider the block of land you would like to purchase. Once again there are a number of factors that you should consider including: 

Check with the local council and obtain a copy of the registered plan for the site for possible building restrictions. Check council planning for zoning, easements and setback restrictions. A copy of the registered plan for the site can be obtained from either the Queensland Government Department of Natural Resources and Mines or one of their approved online distributors.
Availability and cost of power, phone, internet, water supply, wastewater treatment, garbage disposal, etc. This can seriously impact budget and lifestyle
Consider the effects of breezes, shade, shadows and the possible need to install solar energy panels
The size, orientation and slope of site significantly influence design possibilities – such as  size and aspect – and building costs
Cutting blocks of land to make them level can incur significant costs, such as the need for retaining walls. Furthermore, sloping sites are difficult and expensive to build on to accommodate anyone with limited mobility. You should consider not only your current needs but also your possible future needs. 
Geology and topography of the site – is there a threat or possibility of landslide or soil slip?
Site classification – this can significantly influence footing requirements and costs.
The potential risks of ground movement and subsidence need to be considered if building on reactive clay sites. For further information, refer to the chapter in this video series about the Building Process 
Potential natural hazards – investigate the risk of events such as bushfires, flooding, and cyclones, etc. These risks will influence house design, building costs and ongoing costs such as maintenance and insurance.
Investigate and assess site drainage patterns and maintenance requirements. Steeper sites generate more stormwater runoff. Check that the site is not affected by stormwater entering from neighbouring properties from gardens or downpipes, for example
Habitat regulation – are there tree or animal preservation rules in place?
Previous use and potential hazards – for example, possible mine subsidence and contaminated sites – your solicitor can advise you of searches that can identify these hazards or contact the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection for more information.
Views – land with views is often more costly and more challenging to build on.

Before entering into a contract to purchase land or paying a deposit on the land, we recommend that you, as a minimum precaution, incorporate conditions in the contract making it subject to:

finance from your preferred lending institution, and
a site classification satisfactory to the purchaser.

We also recommend you seek legal advice about the land purchase contract before signing it. Your solicitor may recommend other conditions and/or amendments to the contract.