Before you buy a home, you should be aware of a range of issues that may affect that property and impose restrictions or obligations on you, if you buy it. This checklist aims to help you identify whether any of these issues will affect you. The questions are a starting point only and you may need to seek professional advice to answer some of them.
Moving to the inner city?
High density areas are attractive for their entertainment and service areas, but these activities create increased traffic as well as noise and odours from businesses and people. Familiarising yourself with the character of the area will give you a balanced understanding of what to expect.
Is the property subject to an owners corporation?
If the property is part of a subdivision with common property such as driveways or grounds, it may be subject to an owners corporation. You may be required to pay fees and follow rules that restrict what you can do on your property.
Are you moving to a growth area?
You should investigate whether you will be required to pay a growth areas infrastructure contribution.
Does this property experience flooding or bushfires?
Properties are sometimes subject to the risk of fire and flooding due to their location. You should properly investigate these risks and consider their implications for land management, buildings and insurance premiums.
Moving to the country?
If you are looking at property in a rural zone, consider:
Is there any earth resource activity such as mining in the are?
You may wish to find out more about exploration, mining and quarrying activity on or near the property and consider the issue of petroleum, geothermal and greenhouse gas sequestration permits, leases and licences, extractive industry authorisations and mineral licences.
Has previous land use affected the soil or groundwater?
You should consider whether past activities, including the use of adjacent land, may have caused contamination at the site and whether this may prevent you from doing certain things to or on the land in the future.
Do you know the exact boundary of the property?
You should compare the measurements shown on the title document with actual fences and buildings on the property, to make sure the boundaries match. If you have concerns about this, you can speak to your lawyer or commission a site survey to establish property boundaries.
Can you change how the property is used, or the buildings on it?
All land is subject to a planning approval and overseen by ACTPLA and the National Capital Authority. How the property is zoned and any overlays that may apply, will determine how the land can be used. This may restrict such things as whether you can build on vacant land or how you can alter or develop the land and its buildings over time.
ACTPLA and the National Capital Authority can give you advice about the planning requirements, as well as details of any other restrictions that may apply, such as design guidelines or bushfire safety design. There may also be restrictions – known as encumbrances – on the property’s title, which prevent you from developing the property.
Is the building safe to live in?