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buying land



So you’re buying land for a new home….but what will it really cost you?


Buying land and building a home is the ultimate dream of many Australians. And rightly so: it’s an exciting and extremely satisfying experience. The challenge is that buying the perfect piece of land isn’t quite as straightforward as it might look. Even if, at first glance, the block you wish to purchase might appear to be made for your budget, there might be hidden costs associated with your land that you never anticipated…


Generally speaking, if a block of land is cheap, there’s a reason for it. Not always, but usually. There are occasions when we fall on our feet and land (excuse the pun!) ourselves a genuine bargain, but these windfalls are painfully few and far between! And that’s why it’s so important to take the time to learn about hidden or ‘spin-off’ costs that might turn your cheap block into an expensive one.


At Hensley Park Homes, we’re well acquainted with the indirect costs associated with purchasing land. With over 41 years of experience, we understand the game. And we’ve seen it time and again: blocks that appear at first glance to be value for money, aren’t always.


When purchasing a piece of land there’s a lot to consider. So, to make it a bit less daunting for you, we’ve made a list of 6 important things to look into before you sign the paperwork:


1. Site Connections


Does the block have access to:

  • Power
  • Town water
  • Gas

I guess in some respects, this might seem relatively obvious. Blocks without access to town water will need a septic system; if piped gas isn’t available, gas will have to be stored in tanks. However, there are situations where it can get messy: if your land has a dam or is close to a waterway, there may be restrictions on installing a septic system. The transformer on the power pole servicing the property may need to be upgraded to allow sufficient electricity. Take the time to research what services are available and do your sums – will service connections significantly boost your outlay?


2. Bushfire Attack Level


Bushfires are a genuine concern in Australia, and land is zoned accordingly. Areas of high fire risk are subject to strict government regulations. A nice block that is loaded with trees may seem a good buy but come with a BAL rating of 29. This will impact on the cost of the home itself and add extra expense in the form of necessary reports and static water supply required by the CFA.


3. Planning


Complications associated with obtaining planning permits may not be big in terms of dollars, but they can literally be ‘make or break’ when it comes to building your home. Yes, the block may be budget friendly, but things can get sticky when you start trying to get permits: rural zoning, block size, overlays and physical location all affect the ease of obtaining building permits. While it may not be impossible to get it through council, it will cost you money to get the necessary reports written, then time to get it all processed.


4. Vegetation


Clearing vegetation is a pricey business. Heavy forest, dense scrub and gorse will likely require the expertise and equipment of a specialist, and the numbers add up very quickly. What was cheap land can all of a sudden be very expensive when you add on perhaps $30,000 to get it all cleared… It pays to get quotes and be sure of the cost of clearing your block.


5. Soil Type


You need to know what’s under that beautiful green grass: is your soil rocky, waterlogged or unstable? If your block is in a heavily forested area, this will affect the moisture content of the soil. The type of soil can affect the structure of the home and add extra building costs.


6. Topography of the Land


In layman’s terms, topography simply means the ‘up and down’ of the land. Is your block flat or sloped? And in terms of added cost, it can really hurt the back pocket. Sloped sites may require extensive excavation works to achieve a flat space for the home. Your block may have a level area which seems suitable for the home, albeit quite a way from the roadway: be prepared to spend big dollars on a driveway to access your home.
Even a comparatively small fall of 1m across footprint of the home can cost you extra dollars – to comply with regulations, it becomes necessary to install a balustrade.


Let’s get one thing straight: we’re not trying to stop you buying land you’ve got your heart set on. We just want you to go into it with your eyes open, so to speak. When all’s said and done, it’s your land and your choice. And it’s not all doom and gloom either! Most problems encountered with sites can be overcome, we just want you to be aware of some of the extras you may incur in the process. As they say, forewarned is forearmed.


If you have questions or concerns regarding your proposed building site, contact the team at Hensley Park Homes on 1800 01 05 09 and arrange a free consultation with one of our experts. We are more than happy to discuss your site and help you through each and every stage of the home building process.

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