6 KEY CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE BUYING A BLOCK OF LAND

6 KEY CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE BUYING A BLOCK OF LAND

For some it’s not as simple as looking in the paper and picking a block out. There are far more factors to consider and below are some of the most important considerations to take into account before purchasing your next block of land.

Site Costs

Is the block of land you are considering on a sloping block. If so you have some decisionsyou have to make when it comes to the design of your home. If you are wanting to flatten out all or a portion of your new home you need to take into consideration the cost of a site cut. Moreover; how are the soil conditions for this site cut, speak to a professional and discuss the local soil conditions, a local builder will be able to help you out with your decision making. This may include: Rock, fill from easements, previous trees, septic tanks, swimming pools and the like which may previously been on your block. These will all play a part in the site cut and costs of your design.

Are there trees on your building envelope. If there are trees on your building envelope, can they be removed? do you have to go through town planning from the local council to obtain approval for the removal of these trees? Once they are removed bored concrete piers or screw piles may have to be installed to hold up your new home (consult a soil and structral engineer).

Site costs can vary quiet substaintially and play a big part in your overall budget. These can range from $5,000 – $60,000. So becareful when selecting your block and your builder. Make sure you ask all the right questions from the right professionals

Orientation

Because of the recent changes to the energy efficiency requirements orientation of your home is crucial. As a rule of thumb, the narrow ends of your home are best on the West and East with the wide sides facing north and south. Living areas should be facing north if possible.

Why do I say this? In recent discussions with our energy efficiency assessors the new 6 star energy ratings will be met by most builders by taking the following actions on their home designs;

  • Upgrading ceiling insulation to R4.0
  • Adding subfloor insulation to R2.0
  • Double glazing some if not all windows
  • Adding self closing exhaust fans

There might be other additional requirements but these will be fundamental for most homes. Utilities in the south and west and living spaces in the north and east.

A good designer will be Solar passive and take the solar gains and orientation into consideration when designing a new home

Location Location Location

Your location is extremely important not only for your own personal satisfaction but also for future considerations. This is also a must for townhouse and unit developments as young families are starting to consider these as an alternative to rising house prices. Consider the proximity of your block to the following;

Positives

  • Schools
  • Public transport
  • Location of work
  • Family and Friends
  • Parks and recreation facilities such as sports grounds
  • Potential views (Ocean or River?)
  • Shopping and Entertainment
  • Health care

Negatives

  • Noise (Airport, flight paths, industrial, train line)
  • Potential views (Factories, bad neighbours)
  • Crime rate
  • Hazards (large overhead power lines, landfill, swampland)
  • Local Government & Developer Guidelines or Conditions

There are also restrictions in a lot of areas of what can actually be built and other conditions may be imposed on you. Restrictions such as; building materials allowed, colour schemes, Energy Ratings, Developer schedules and guidelines above the BCA requirement.

We have recently helped clients design in multiple new development sites which had strict developers guidelines to obey.

 

Easements (No Building Zones)

When we sit down with our clients we first look for any easements which may restrict any design elements they may want to include in their new home or development.

Typically easements are there for sewer & stormwater lines, some of which are owned by the local council and others owned by the local water authority (i.e Yarra valley and Melbourne water) which means you will need to apply for the depth and offset information from both of these governing bodies. In some instances these easements may not be in use any longer, however, there are no-building easements which mean you’re not allowed to build over that line for any reason.

Also when building on or near an easement premission must be given in the form of a “Build of easement Authority” and guidelines in relation to foundations on the or near the easement must be adhered to (i.e 45 degree angle of repose)

 

 

Price

When looking for a block of land your budget must take into consideration for full package. This is: House and land.

As an example if you have a budget of $800,000, and the land costs you $300,000 then you will have $500,000 to spend on designing and obtain plans and permits, site costs of your block, and building your new home.

We also suggest having a contingency just in case you want to upgrade certain items in your house, or your site costs are blown out for unforseen circumstances (i.e rock, septic tanks, burial ground etc)

 

Design, Plans, and Permits

It is most important that you get your design correct right from the start. Things to take into consideration when buying a block are:

Overlays- Do i have any council overlays which may prohibit me from designing my dream home? Most overlays we can overcome with good designing principals and knowledge of the local Council regulations and guidelines.

Design- We have multiple sessions with our clients to make sure we come up with a design which suits their lifestyle and needs.

Townplanning drawings- Things to consider if you have to apply to council for a planning permit are the additional consultants which may be required to be engaged. These may include landscape architect, arbortrist etc

Working drawings, Engineering, Soil, energy and BAL reports – All these consultants will need to be engageed along the process to obtain a building permit

We are fully licensed draftspeople and builders, so we can help you from the design concept all the way through to the final build and handover.

What if our block is good with some but not all of the above?

It’s going to be difficult to find a block of land to buy that ticks all of the boxes above. Make sure you contact a professional in your area who can give you sound advice before making the purchase

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