What to look for when buying land for your dream home

By Nila Sweeney

Searching for a premium parcel of land, without the premium price tag? If you're looking for a block of land to build your dream home, read on for tips to help you seek out the best value!

Buying land to build your next property can be a frustrating experience, especially if you’re not sure what you’re looking for.

Simon Cross, managing director of real estate development and investment company Gemtree Property, says suburb and location are key.

“Make sure the land is located in close proximity to public transport, schools and a shopping precinct,” he says. “Also, choose a suburb close to or within an area that the government is spending money on infrastructure. This will ensure property price growth in the future.”

Once you’ve locked down the suburb location, the first thing to check off your land buying list is the incline of the land.

“You need to check that the land you’re buying is flat,” he advises. “That way, you’ll avoid additional site costs including retaining walls.”

Next, make sure your land and surrounding blocks are affected by encumbrances that require your neighbours to landscape and take care of their property. This ensures that they don’t drag down the value of your property, by letting their own home go to the dogs!

You should also avoid:

  • Bush fire zones. “Construction costs are higher in bush fire zones and include special treatments to windows and additional sprinkler systems,” he says.
  • Developments with limited open spaces and lots of small allotments.
  • Land that is situated too close to an intersection or an industrial estate.

In order to get the best value, Cross suggests you look intohouse and land packages. 

“With house and land packages, the builders will have already calculated the costs involved in building on the land, so there shouldn’t be any surprises,” he says.

“Also, buy in the first stage of a land development, as each stage is subsequently dearer in large land sub-divisions.”

And finally, before you sign on the dotted line, do one final thing: compare your purchase price with similar recent land sales in your area, to make sure it stacks up.