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5 Questions to ask Council about buying land in NSW - Property Unravelled

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Are you buying land in NSW and about to build your dream home?  This can be one of the most rewarding experiences you are every about to embark on.

However before you put in that offer it is important that you do your research on that block of land.

It was 2014 and my husband and I dreamed of living on the canals on the Mid North Coast.   The only properties that were in our price range required a full renovation which we could not afford. Finally we found the block of our dreams which we decided we would build 2 townhouses on it and subdivide. Before we put in a offer we got a building designer to draft some concept plans for us and also checked with builders and council on the type of dwelling we could build.

Here’s a quick checklist of questions we’ve put together for you to ask Council before you sign the dotted line.

1. Zoning – buying land in NSW

Council zone your land generally into four categories.  These are residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural.  Obviously if you are building residential you will want to confirm that the land falls into this category.   There may also be sub categories for the zoning of the land and this will advise what the number and types of buildings you can build.

Check out Housing NSW website for further tips on buying land.

2. Are there any Development Application in place.

You can also ask Council if there are any Development Applications in place on the block of land.  If there are you can also ask for copies of the approvals and the approved plan.  If you are buying land in NSW then the Planning Portal  is another great resource.  You can  do your own searches to find out if their are any development restraints on this website.

3. Water/Electrical/Sewer Services

When we built our home our water service needed to be extended and a under road bore was required to dig under the road.  This added a few thousands dollars onto our budget but again it was something we missed out and added to our budget.  You can ask Council if there is any requirement to extend your water, electrical or sewer services. Some areas have their own separate Water or Sewer Authority and they should be able to assist as well.

 4. Find out if there are any issues with vegetation, endangered species or flooding in the area.

My brother recently brought an investment property and wanted to build a granny flat at the back of it.  He needed to remove 3 trees from the land and check for endangered species.  This obviously added to the budget and can cost $1000’s.  Flooding is an issue in low lying areas so you can check with Council if your land is a flood zone.  The GEO website can tell you previous areas that have flooded.

5. Are there any restrictions on property title

I would recommend working with a building designer or architect in regards to any restrictions on the land.  We paid $500 to get a concept plan drawn up to make sure that we could fit our dream home on the block.  Council can advise you on restrictions such as fencing, double story and boundaries.

Your Council is a wealth of information and before doing anything the best tip I can offer is to go and see your local duty planner.


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