What Searches Should I Do If I'm Buying a House?

by Nicole Rockliff

Buying a house is obviously an expensive investment and therefore to properly protect your valuable asset, it is recommended that you, in the course of buying the house, make the following searches:

Building and Pest Inspections

It is recommended that you engage a qualified person to carry out a building and pest inspection of the property.

Generally, the cost of obtaining such reports is fairly insignificant in proportion to the importance of defects of problems with the house which you are looking to purchase. Such reports, if they do contain a number or significant defects, can often be used as a tool to renegotiate the purchase price with the Vendor.

Rockliffs Solicitors can provide you with a list of several building and pest inspectors our clients have used in the past for your consideration.

Survey Report

If there is no Survey Report attached to the Contract and the Vendor is not prepared to provide a Survey Report or make the Contract conditional upon the provision of the Survey Report, it is recommended that prior to exchange of Contracts, a purchaser engages a Surveyor to survey the property (an Identification Survey) and provide a report so that you as a buyer, are aware, inter alia, of any encroachments on or from the property.

Rockliffs Solicitors can provide you with a list of Surveyors our clients have used in the past for your consideration.

Search of the Council's Records

It is recommended that you search the Council's register and records prior to exchange of Contracts to confirm if any outstanding conditions of consent to a development in relation to the property remains outstanding. This is because a search may reveal unfulfilled conditions relating to the use of the land, which may be enforced, as the High Court has recently held, against successors in title (i.e. subsequent purchasers) to the registered proprietor who obtained the Council's conditional consent.

It is also recommended that a buyer makes enquiries of the Council as to whether there are any development applications with neighbouring properties that may affect your decision whether or not to purchase the property.

The search of the Council's records may also reveal whether Council has had ongoing issues with any of the neighbours to the property you are looking at buying; for example, for breaches of the Local Government Act including keeping the premises in an unhealthy condition or prosecutions for public nuisance.

For further information or assistance please contact Rockliffs on 02 9299 4912 or email us at lawyers@rockliffs.com.au



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