Last week we covered the physical properties of a section. This week we look into the ‘other stuff’! Primarily the practicalities and logistics of building and living there, but also a few other suggestions.
Section Size and Your Plans For It
It is useful to determine what you want to do with the land first, before you buy. This can help determine the size and location, and some of the must haves. What you want to do should be related with what you’re able to do. How much of your section will be garden and is it manageable with your lifestyle? What are your plans for any remaining land? Do you want or have animals? What land do they need?
How important is space to you? If downsizing, you may want a section where you cant be built out or a hillside section for that feeling of space and views?
What access do you have and what can get access to the site? For less acesssible sites you may have a driveway but if it is narrow and steep and a distance from the road, how are concrete trucks, delivery trucks, and any cranes necessary, going to get close enough to the building site? Using a wheelbarrow and carrying materials to site can eat up the labour hours big time, substantially increasing costs. Larger cranes may be available, but this can be costly! Don’t rule out a site immediately but get advice from your builder on access options and the likely costs involved.
It is not just hilly sites that have access issues. Any site, particularly low lying sites, can suffer from a high water table and wet ground. Trucks can get stuck and the land gets severely chewed up. Establishing a good driveway in drier months may address this issue.
Distance of Driveway & Services
The type of services and their location are an important consideration in terms of not only cost, but is the shortest and cheapest option the most practical one, and is it where you actually want it?
The distance of services from a building platform adds to final costs, e.g. is it a back section where services need to go down a long driveway? Where would the driveway be in relation to the building platform and in relation to where the services entry point is currently placed? Where would you like outdoor entertainment areas, and views, and how does the driveway work around this?
Rural sections or those on the city fringe may not have town water or septic services. Providing these to your house adds an estimated cost of between ten and twenty thousand.
If you are intending to work from home, what is the broadband like in the area?
Distance to Amenities
Schools or school bus routes. Never underestimate the time it takes ferrying children to and from their school and numerous out of school activities!! I speak from experience!!
Shops/facilities – how close do you want basic supplies? What happens if someone can’t drive? Are there other transport options close by? If you are elderly where is the nearest medical help?
Councils & Covenants – i.e. Rules
We mentioned the importance of acquiring LIM’s in our previous blog, but you can also ask your local council about the area and any future development plans i.e: new roads that might cut through your land, or mobile towers that are planned.
One thing to look out for is “covenants” on the land. The covenants state what you can and can’t do with the land. For example, you may only be allowed a one-story house, or all your vehicles must be stored in a garage and not have them “on display” outside, or you may only be allowed certain building materials for your house etc. They are usually there for a good reason but occasionally they can be simply a personal bug bear of the developer.
Sometimes you can get a dispensation clause as terms of buying the section but you need to have a good idea of the house you intend to build at this point (so prior to confirming the land purchase).
For example, if you are building in Hanmer there are pretty tight cladding covenants and many subdivisions require you to complete the build and landscaping before you can sell.
Legal Boundaries and Title
Is ‘Title’ available at the time of purchase? Sometimes sections are sold prior to this being given. This process can take months (even years) – are you prepared to wait? When it does come through, ensure that you understand the implications of any conditions (eg. Section 72) – and ensure that if you don’t like them you have a legal ‘out’.
If the section is in a new subdivision, sometimes sections are sold “off the plan” and final boundaries are not clear, and often contracts are written allowing the developer to make changes to the final site. Legal advice is always essential on any land or property purchase.
On a site where a building is to be demolished a site survey may be required to re- establish the boundaries.
Where access or driveways are shared it pays to know everyone’s responsibilities. It is not just mowing and weeding but gravel driveways require regular maintenance to remove potholes or grade. You cannot control your neighbours driving behaviour to minimise damage, and how easy is it to get them to contribute to maintaining shared areas? Talking to neighbours or others in the area may allay any concerns or prepare you for possible issues down the track.
In fact, just go and have a chat with the neighbours, you will often learn a lot. Do not believe all that the real estate agent says! Do your own research too!
If you are looking at buying a section to build your new home, and can see the benefits of getting a builder on board earlier rather than later, please give us a call on 03 3130103 to see if we can help you!