10 Important Factors to Consider Before Buying Land

Kitome - 10 Important Factors to Consider Before Buying Land

Owning your own block of land is the great Australian dream, but finding the perfect spot comes with many considerations. While navigating these waters may seem intimidating,having the guidance of a professional will give you peace of mind. We’ve partnered with several real estate agents to give you the best advice when buying a block of land.

Advice from real estate experts

Marnie Beauchamp – McGrath Estate Agents

My advice when looking to purchase a block of land is to look for something which has good building opportunity. If it is a sloping site you need to factor in additional excavation costs and foundation works and it would be best to choose a home design which suits a sloping block to reduce the foundation and excavation cost (i.e. split level, garage underneath etc.).

Also, it is wise to carry out a Geotechnical Investigation to determine the ground classification – if rock, the cost for a rock breaker to do the excavation is on an hourly rate and could result in huge amounts more before you even commence construction of your home. Alternatively, if the ground is too soft or there is a natural spring or ground water you will also be looking at additional costs for drill foundations down through this to stable ground.”

Brett Pilgrim – Ray White Adelaide Group

When looking at land, it is always good to get your builder to have a look, compare it to others for a square meter rate, start by assuming the block is flat and square, then subtract from there for things like slope, trees, irregular shapes etc. This will help you determine a fair market value.

Whether it’s to set down roots or build a home away from home, here are the 10 most important things to consider when buying a new block of land.

1. Zoning restrictions

Before you purchase the block, be sure to research zoning regulations for both your property and the surrounding area. Councils have strict rules regarding what a block of land can be used for (residential, commercial, industrial). If the block next door could potentially develop into a warehouse or 5 story apartment building it might not be the best option for your quiet retreat away from home. You’ll also want to make sure there’s no plans to build a highway or other infrastructure through your land or the nearby area.

2. Water source

Do you know how your property connects to water sources? What about restrictions on water use, or collecting your own rain water? Water is an essential utility, so it’s important to know your obligations and options.

For example, in NSW the BASIX initiative encourages new developments to take water saving measures with a target of reducing mains water usage by 40%. Many elect to use water tanks, however the proximity of your new home to creeks, rivers and dams can play a part in how attractive a block of land is as a potential home.

3. Know the climate

Yearly rainfall, temperature highs and lows, seasonal changes and even trends over the last 20 years are all factors to consider when looking to purchase land. The climate affects many aspects of your life, including:

  • How you insulate your home
  • The types of plants and vegetables you can grow
  • Potential for drought, frost and other extreme weather conditions
  • The type of kit home appropriate for you block of land
  • How much energy you might expect to use
  • Health conditions like asthma that are affected by temperature

While you might not be able to have it all, knowing the climate of the local area can help you make a more informed decision.

4. Safety from bushfires and flooding

Australia is a country of extremes. Depending on where your block of land is located, it could potentially be at risk to both fire and flooding. These very real dangers can be avoided by consulting resources like Geoscience Australia, which can help you determine flood zones as well as bushfires. State and local government councils will also have more information. Cross check occurrences over several years to get a clearer picture of how safe your new home will be from extreme acts of nature.

5. Soil quality and composition

Soil quality and composition impacts both how your build your new home and the potential for growing your own plants on your property.

When it comes to building, soil composition can impact:

  • Cost of building foundations
  • Amount of earthworks required
  • Stability and land retention

Contact a local and qualified engineer to have your soil tested before finalising your build plans.

6. Orientation

Orientation is one of the joys of designing your own home. By taking advantage of the ‘north facing aspect’, you can make use of available sunlight throughout the year while minimising the impact of direct sunlight and the ‘greenhouse effect’ to avoid overheating in the summer.

However, when buying land you’ll want to consider any existing easements, roads, driveways and the proximity of other structures both existing and potential (neighbouring land). For example, given a choice of two great views, make use of the one that isn’t going to look into a neighbour’s fence in a few years.

7. Trees and bushland

The position of existing trees can play a significant role in your decision to purchase a block of land. While our natural fauna is beautiful and can add shade to the backyard, it can also pose a risk in extreme weather.

Consider the impacts of falling branches or even whole trees on your home, particularly in storm affected areas. Removing trees is no easy task either. Fines for illegal removal of native trees can be excessive, so plan accordingly. Local councils can advise on tree removal and restriction.

8. Utility access

What companies can connect your gas, electrical and water? How much do they cost, and is there any competition?

Rates can differ depending on where your new home is located, so take the time to source information about the companies that can provide your utilities. Contact them by phone for quotes, and ask locals in the area about their satisfaction with local utilities.

9. Incline of your block

There’s a few things to consider if your block is located on a steep incline:

  • Additional costs of building the home
  • Effects of weather on soil
  • Water runoff from the road if your block is below
  • The design and orientation of the home

Steep properties has their benefits; like better views from more locations in the home, but this will all need to be considered carefully before finalising your purchase.

10. The type of home you want to build

Remember, your property should be in service to the house you want to build. Ultimately, you want a property to suit your lifestyle, and the home you want to build. Browse our range of exciting designs and talk to our design team about how we can help you with your dream home.

Still undecided what kind of home suits you? Take our house selector quiz to find the best home for you, or take a virtual walk-through of one of our homes.