3 Important Things to Research When Buying A Property

Most homeowners are looking to purchase the property of their dreams and not something that could turn into a nightmare. This is why research is so important when it comes to purchasing such a huge investment.

In this article, we discuss 3 key areas to research before buying a property. In addition to doing a thorough research, taking the time to speak with planning consultants in Melbourne can save buyers a lot of time and money as well.

  1. Check out the certificate of title

One of the most important areas to research is the certificate of title or register search. This is the official record of land ownership, and it covers all the interests and rights that affect the land on which the property stands. The certificate of title is issued to the person entitled to it due to being either the landowner or, if there is a mortgage over the property, the registered proprietors mortgagee.

It contains information on any restrictions that may apply to the property as well as covenants and easements that can impact on what the buyer is allowed to do in the way of future developments, or who they have to allow access over their land. If they are looking to develop the original building, for example, adding a second or third storey, or a granny flat to accommodate the growing needs of a family, then checking out the restrictions is key.

Planning consultants in Melbourne can help review and explain the restrictions on the certificate of title, as well as discuss any future plans prior to buying the property. This will save the buyer a lot of wasted time and money if current restrictions preclude what the buyer wants to do. Covenants can restrict building development to allow only one dwelling on the land, they can also dictate use of certain building materials or minimise the size of any building, so it is important to find all this out before purchasing. Easements can also be in place which gives vested interest to other individual i.e. allowing utility companies right of way across the land to access drainage or sewage pipes.

  • Research planning controls

Developers, residents, local councils and conservationists all have differing interests and values when it comes to developing land. In each state and territory, there are planning controls and policies that determine how land can be used. Depending on where the property is situated, there can be some very particular planning controls and restrictions. For example, the Yarra River Action plan sets out a blueprint for the community of Melbourne to guard the river from inappropriate development. Each local council will have a Town Planning Department where advice can be sought on planning controls for a site that a possible buyer is considering. There is also a government mapping website that can been viewed online as well.

The vendor also has to provide a prospective buyer with a legal document known as a Section 32 in Victoria. This crucial piece of documentation will give information that is not immediately apparent upon first viewing the dwelling and land. The last thing a buyer wants is to move into their home and then find out that pets are not allowed in their new apartment, or they cannot paint the home with their choice of colour.

The Section 32 should also give details of whether the property is in a bushfire zone, if building permits have been obtained in the last 7 years as well as zoning information. The details of the title are included which is very important. The buyer needs this to check the measurements of the property within the title against what it is the buyer actually thinks they are buying. It will also list easements and covenants, along with any monies owing on the property. If any of this information is incorrect, this will allow the purchaser to withdraw from the sale. Some of this can be difficult for the layperson to fully understand, so it is important to go through this with your local planning consultants in Melbourne.

  • Check out proposed developments

There can be nothing worse than buying a new home in a quiet suburb or next to open green spaces only to wake up one morning to the sound of construction traffic as a new bypass is being built running alongside the property. Be sure to check out any proposed developments or planning applications that have been approved but work has not yet started. This is where a planning consultant proves invaluable as they have built up an extensive professional network with local councils and excellent local knowledge about what is being planned for land use.

They can help by checking the land that abuts the property being considered for purchase as well as land directly across the road. Buyers can also contact the relevant local council to ask about pending or approved applications or can check the council website and look at online planning registers. Sometimes, for the layperson this takes time, and when looking to buy a property, time can be in short supply. Having a planning consultant review this on their behalf, and then identifying any of the pitfalls or problems or barriers that as the owner they will face, gives the buyer the opportunity to walk away from the sale before they make a big mistake.

If the buyer is looking to submit a planning application, a planning consultant can assist in creating the detailed planning report and applications that give the buyer the best chance of getting approval for new plans.

Buying a property can be a very stressful time. For buyers who want to get it right the first time, do the research and speak to the planning experts before signing on the dotted line.