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Before you buy a home or vacant residential land, 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.
All sellers or estate agents should have this checklist available to potential buyers of homes or residential property. You should also check the your interest in accordance to the State or Territory.
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.
For more information, visit the Commercial and industrial noise page on the Environment Protection Authority website
If the property is part of a subdivision with common property such as driveways or grounds, it may be subject to an owner’s corporation. You may be required to pay fees and follow rules that restrict what you can do on your property, such as a ban on pet ownership.
For more information, view our Owners corporations section
You should investigate whether you will be required to pay a growth areas infrastructure contribution.
For more information, visit the Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution page on the Department of Environment
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.
For information about fire risk, visit:
For general information about flood risk, visit the Australian Flood Risk Information Portal on the Geoscience Australia website.
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 conveyancer, or commission a site survey to establish property boundaries.
All land is subject to a planning scheme, run by the local council. 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.
The local council can give you advice about the planning scheme, 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.
The local council can advise you if there are any proposed or issued planning permits for any properties close by. Significant developments in your area may change the local ‘character’ (predominant style of the area) and may increase noise or traffic near the property.
The local council can give you advice about planning schemes, as well as details of proposed or current planning permits. For more information, visit the Department of Environment.
A cultural heritage management plan or cultural heritage permit may be required prior to works being undertaken on the property.