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Five factors to consider when buying the perfect block to build your home

Written by Ben Saravia,  
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It really is the classic Australian dream - to buy the quarter-acre block on which to build the perfect home. You kinda have a picture in your mind about what you’d love to build, so now all you need to do is find the perfect block right? You’ve searched online and found some great options, and some that seem too good to be true.  Ten acres of prime waterfront for 200K? “That could leave another 200K to build and we’d still be under budget” you think - not so fast. In this two-part article, we look at the most important factors to consider when buying land to ensure your dream home finds its dream location.

Title and Planning Permissions


It almost goes without saying, but be sure to check exactly what the land title affords you to do with the land.  Most blocks of around 500 -1000 square metres in a residential zone will allow you to build a family home as part of the title. All planning is subject to application and approval.

Soil Test


All land that you intend to build upon requires soil testing. A soil test is looking for the chemical and structural composition of the soil and will determine the type of structure and foundations that are most appropriate for that type of soil.  Core samples are taken according to where you want to build, as soil composition can vary greatly even within a block. Many blocks of land will already have soil tests conducted on them, but this should not stop you doing your own to be doubly certain.

Connectivity


Does your intended block already have access to electricity? When you search for land, it will often say whether the block has access to electricity, water and phone lines. Unless you are planning to live completely off-grid, then you will want land already connected, or else be prepared to budget for this to be built in, which can be very costly.

Water


It goes without saying, you can’t live without water. Consider carefully how you will ensure that you have reliable and consistent access to clean water. Is there access to a main water supply or will you need to consider other options? Some areas require you to drill a bore hole in order to access water. Some high rainfall areas can rely on capturing and storing rainwater in tanks but if there is low rainfall, you may have to have water delivered. All these methods incur costs and may or may not be an option depending on where the land is located. It pays to check with a licensed builder as to your options, and consult with your local council as to what the current water regulations are.


Sewerage  


Does your land have access to sewage lines or will you need to build your own sewage treatment utility? Many ‘lifestyle’ rural and out of town plots will require septic tanks or some type of sanitation system plus septic tanks.

Those are the first five practical things to get clarity on before you even consider making an offer on any piece of land. The only way to ensure you buy the right land for your home is to be informed. At this stage, it would be a good idea to engage a licensed building inspector to view and conduct assessments and pre-purchase inspections on the land. It may cost you something now, but it could save you big time in the future.

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