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.
Buying into 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, such as a ban on pet ownership.
You should investigate whether you will be required to pay a growth area’s infrastructure contribution.
Planning controls affecting how the property is used, or the buildings on it
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. You can find out about encumbrances by looking at the section 32 statement.
Proposed or granted planning permits
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.
A cultural heritage management plan or cultural heritage permit may be required prior to works being undertaken on the property.
Building laws are in place to ensure building safety. Professional building inspections can help you assess the property for electrical safety, possible illegal building work, adequate pool or spa fencing and the presence of asbestos, termites or other potential hazards.
There are laws and regulations about how buildings and retaining walls are constructed, which you may wish to investigate to ensure any completed or proposed building work is approved. The local council may be able to give you information about any building permits issued for recent building works done to the property, and what you must do to plan new work. You can also commission a private building surveyor’s assessment.
Insurance cover for recent building or renovation works
Ask the vendor if there is any owner-builder insurance or builder’s warranty to cover defects in the work done to the property.
Connections for water, sewerage, electricity, gas, telephone and internet
Unconnected services may not be available, or may incur a fee to connect. You may also need to choose from a range of suppliers for these services. This may be particularly important in rural areas where some services are not available.
The contract of sale and section 32 statement contain important information about the property, so you should request to see these and read them thoroughly. Many people engage a lawyer or conveyancer to help them understand the contracts and ensure the sale goes through correctly. If you intend to hire a professional, you should consider speaking to them before you commit to the sale. There are also important rules about the way private sales and auctions are conducted. These may include a cooling-off period and specific rights associated with ‘off the plan’ sales. The important thing to remember is that, as the buyer, you have rights.
Please visit for the full version http://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/duediligencechecklist
Consumer Affairs Victoria, April 2015