Top three legal tips for buying vacant land
Buying a vacant block of land to build your forever home on?
There are various things to consider when buying a vacant, already titled block of land.
Check for contamination
Vacant blocks of land, even in the middle of established suburbs, can contain hidden contamination, including asbestos, industrial materials and buried debris. Many suburban backyards used to have incinerators that burned rubbish. Soil and geological testing can uncover any hidden contamination that may adversely affect your building project budget and timeframe.
Carefully study the features of the land
The Council's planning scheme will determine what can be built on the land. So will any easements, covenants, Section 173 Agreements and contactual provisions inherited from land developers. In newer estates, some lots may have restrictions on how many storeys are permissible, or how much of the land can be built on. Some vacant blocks have significant easements on them that restrict construction. Study the plan of subdivision carefully and ensure you understand any special conditions in the contract that restrict the way lots can be used. There may also be design and building restrictions, to ensure you build a house that is in keeping with the look and feel of the neighbourhood. Even the size of the fences and letterbox may have strict requirements.
Can you afford to wait?
You obviously won't be able to live there for a while, but will you be able to afford to keep a vacant block of land until your new home is completed? Council rates, water infrastructure charges and land tax should all be factored in, as should delays with construction commencing and concluding. Fences, lawn mowing, pest control and security should also be considered, to avoid public safety issues with neighbours and the Council.
Remember to always obtain legal advice on a land contract BEFORE you sign it. If the land is already titled, we can assist.
Note: the above is general information and should not be considered as legal advice.
Photo by Anete Lusina