Things to consider when buying a block of land
So you’ve painstakingly researched and selected your builder and have struck up the beginning of a great working relationship. No doubt you’re keen to get started as soon as possible.
You’ve probably started drafting a floor plan and ‘mood-boarding’ with magazine clippings of great interior styles, selecting the appliances, the fittings, colour palette, and all the luxury extras you’ll cram inside….
But hold on a minute – pump the brakes! Before going any further, where will you build this magnificent new home? It’s rarely as simple as it sounds.
Here are just a few of the things to factor in when selecting the perfect piece of land for your dream home.
Location, location, location
When it comes to owning any piece of real estate, nothing is more crucial or important than where it is. Is the area already established with the essentials close-by?
If it’s a newer area, what new developments are planned? For example; supermarkets, shopping centres, doctors, schools, sporting facilities? Where’s the nearest hospital? How accessible is it to main roads or the nearest city? Aim to buy the best block you can afford in your chosen area.
An increasingly important factor is a property’s school catchment zone. A premium price is put on homes that fall within the catchment of schools considered prestigious.
The more parents wanting to enrol their kids there, the higher the premium placed on properties in its catchment area. Even if you don’t have school-aged children, you should still consider school zoning relevant to you.
Why? If homes in a highly-sought school zone fetch premium prices, you, as an owner will also benefit from a premium sale price, rent or bank valuation if you ever want or need to sell, borrow against or draw on some capital.
Council zoning & building restrictions
Council zones and restrictions exist to protect everyone’s interests. When you buy land in a quiet residential street, council restrictions ensure you won’t wake up next to a high-rise building, abattoir or a speedway race track.
The council also determines how high you can build, how much of the block you can build on, and even how far back your home must sit.
This maintains street appeal and protects every home’s value. Similarly, if you buy land in a new estate, the developer may have their own restrictions and requirements in addition to the councils, protecting the look, quality and livability – thus, inspiring people to live there and maintaining the land value.
Easements & building envelope
Most blocks will have some sort of easement on it (an area you cannot build over), so you shouldn’t automatically run away if you find one on a block you’re looking at buying. What’s important is where the easement is and how much it will affect your plans.
If it’s along the rear or side boundaries, it probably won’t bear too much impact on your plans. However, if it’s running diagonally through a standard residential block, it may render the land totally useless.
Having a spectacular view is a wonderful bonus. But spectacular views usually come with the sort of block terrain that requires high additional site and earthworks fees to prepare and flatten areas of it for the house to sit on.
Choose a block that’s as flat and level as possible. If it’s not an option, just ensure to factor in additional earthworks expenses into the budget.