Buying a home in Sydney is a significant investment and usually something most people will only do a few times during their lifetime. A lot needs to happen between the initial viewing and settlement day, it can be overwhelming for home buyers. To help smooth the process we’ve put together a guide that outlines the important searches that every home buyer needs to be aware of prior to settlement.
While many of the searches we list here will be conducted by your conveyancer or solicitor it’s a good idea to understand what is being done and the information available to you. It’s advisable to confirm with your legal representative that these searches will be performed. If any of the searches listed here aren’t included in the standard price, you can request they be done.
As part of the legal process your conveyancer or solicitor will perform a title search in order to ascertain the correct address of the property, the owner of the property and a listing of any encumbrances over the property.
Registered Plan Search
A registered plan search will display the property boundaries.
Land Tax Search
To ensure you don’t inherit any unpaid land tax from the previous owner a land tax search should be performed.
To ensure that the seller has the legal right to sell the property a bankruptcy search is performed. If the vendor is bankrupt they will need approval from the Official Receiver in Bankruptcy prior to the sale.
Contaminated Land Search
This search will check if the property is on the government’s contaminated land register. It will highlight if the property you are buying has been used as a dump or it contains hazardous substances.
Council Development Search, Main Roads Search
A council development search will list the approval of any new developments that are approved to be built next to or near the property. If a high rise apartment building has been approved, you may not find the property so appealing.
The main roads search will indicate if any motorways, railways or similar are planned in the coming years. These roadworks could generate a great deal of noise.
Local Authority Search, Water Search
A local authority search will inform you of any outstanding rates or water bills due for the property. You will have to pay these if you purchase the property and they remain unpaid.
Council Zoning Search – Town Planning
If you are planning renovations on the property it’s a good idea to check local council zoning laws to ensure you will be able to make the alterations you wish.
Body Corporate Records
For a strata property such as a townhouse, unit, or apartment, it’s always best to get a copy of all relevant reports and meeting minutes, for example:
- AGM Minutes (last few years records will be helpful)
- Financial records and sinking fund
- Previous repairs and any outstanding.
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