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8 investigations to conduct when buying a house in Queensland

Buying property in Queensland differs from some Australian states as almost all property investigations should be done by you rather than the seller. Property investigations include searches or inspections of the property you are looking to purchase. 

Searches are informational certificates with details about the property's features, regular costs (e.g. rates and water costs) and details of matters you should be aware about in the property. Through these certificates, you will know whether the property is worth buying. 

Inspections on the other hand are where a tradesman or professional does a physical inspection of the property and provides a report on the condition of the property. Most common inspections on property include building, pest, electrical and plumbing inspections. 

Reviewed and verified by our solicitors, this article will provide some essential certificates to order when you buy a house in Queensland aside from the apparent Title Search and Registered Plan Search as well as some inspections you may want to consider.

1. Flood Search

Flood searches provide historical details of whether the property you are purchasing has flooded in the past. This can be a good search to identify if the property will be a flood risk, if you need flood cover on your insurance and if you may need to consider changes to the building to prevent flood waters entering the home. 

2. Vegetation Management Map Search

This search will tell you whether the government has requirements in relation to the vegetation on or near the property. Requirements that can be revealed from this search include whether you need to have a vegetation setback area, whether you are restricted in the type of vegetation that may be grown in the area and whether you are not allowed to remove certain vegetation from the property. This information can be very important to your use and enjoyment of the property so the earlier you find out if there are vegetation restrictions on the property the more understanding you will have of how this impacts your purchase. 

3. Building Records Search

This certificate has information about whether improvements on the land are council approved, including whether the dwelling or any renovations are approved. It also has notices from the council about the building structure restrictions that must be strictly followed and can affect your intended property utilisation. If any part of the dwelling is not council approved the council can require this to be rectified anytime in the future so it is important to find this information out before settlement to prevent surprise costs later. 

4. Main Roads Search

This search will reveal if the Government has any plans to build a new road or rail network through or near the property you are purchasing. As the Government has rights to resume property they need to maintain and build new infrastructure, this search is very important to making sure you will be able to hold onto the property long term. 

5. Building and Pest Inspection

While this inspection is one of the most standard conducted on many property purchases in Queensland, it is also one of the most important. This inspection will tell you whether there are any problems with the building, particularly structural problems, that you need to be aware of before you purchase. Also, it will reveal if there are live termites in the property that could end up causing a lot of damage to the property. With this inspection we always recommend you ask the inspector to check the smoke alarms and electrical safety switches to make sure they are installed and compliant as you may have rights under the contract where this is not the case. 

6. Drug testing

Purchasers are more and more taking advantage of drug testing inspections as residual drug contamination in the building can have lasting effects on the health of future residents. While you will need a special condition to have rights to conduct this inspection, it can help you to understand what costs you may need to incur to prevent any long term health effects if drug contamination is found. 

7. Electrical and plumbing inspection

Electrical and plumbing inspections look specifically at the electrical connections of the property and the plumbing of the property to see if there are any potential issues you should be aware of. These investigations can be very useful in finding hidden problems with the property that may not be revealed in a normal building inspection. 

8. Survey

Having a licenced surveyor survey the property will help you to confirm that the boundaries of the property and encumbrances that affect the property match what is on the registered plans. Over time it is not uncommon for boundaries to change which can result in the land of the property you are purchasing increasing or decreasing in value. A survey will help you to determine if there is anything to worry about and, if there is, even allow you to negotiate a reduction of the purchase price before settlement. 

A Word From Us

Searches and inspections are essential to ensure you make the right decision to buy a house. Doing this on your own can be quite difficult which is why law firms like LEAD Conveyancing offer help to people at an affordable price. Get a free consultation online to learn more about our conveyancing services and their costs.

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Judith Williams
23 Nov 2023
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