Doing your research can be the difference between living the dream or a walking into a nightmare. Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers, to help you navigate the process.

Q. What other estates has the developer been involved in?

A little research can give you an insight into other projects the developer has worked on. If they have worked on developments in the local area they will have an understanding of what buyers are really looking for.

Q. Does the new suburb have everything you need?

Consider your lifestyle and the needs of your family. Are there local schools? Will you be close to transport connections for commuting to and from work? Is there a local sporting club or gym you can join? Do you want to be right in the mix of a café culture and shopping convenience? Parklands and picnic spots?

Q. What are the plans for the future?

Your local real estate agent is a great source of knowledge about the local area, how it is developing and the direction it’s taking.

Local council can provide clarification if the area is in a bushfire or flood zone or if there are major infrastructure plans.
TIP – there is a difference between proposed works and approved works. Details are likely to change during the approval process or may not even go ahead.

Q. Are there local employment opportunities?

Imagine having your home, work, education and entertainment or a variety of activities and options close by, it would make your everyday commute much easier and leave more time for family life. Land developments are becoming more conscious of this need to better balance work and home life, so are catering more to this as best they can with the amount of space allocated to them.

Q. What will it look like?

Some house and land packages have a few different home designs to choose from. If they don’t perfectly suit your family or your site, ask if you’re able to make changes and seek independent advice on the internal layout, colour scheme and finishes.

Often a design team will put together a proposed scheme for internal and external finishes. Presenting colours, tiles, kitchen finishes and bathroom fittings to give you a sense of what you can expect in your new home.

Q. What are your views and aspects?

Looking out onto a pretty park area, bushland or water way are great but will you be able to maximise the views?

Aspect relates to the orientation of your home and the block itself. Get familiar with easterly and westerly points in particular, so you know where the sun rises and sets. Northerly aspects are more desirable giving more natural light, depending on any obstructions, of course.

Q. What features should I look out for? OR Q. Can the choice of land restrict building?

There may be characteristics of your site to consider that affect the construction plans and process. It’s worth noting that a sloping site can add to the cost of excavation, landscaping and building of retaining walls. If it’s a corner position, the cost of fencing and landscaping might be higher but side access for caravans, boats and trailers is a bonus. Privacy may also be a consideration.

Q. How do I know if I’m getting a good deal?

A local real estate agent can help you compare recent sales of similar properties in the area.

Always seek independent legal advice when signing a contract. A legal representative can help you decipher the terms and conditions and give you an idea of the information you should clarify before signing.

They can also advise on any controls that affect your property – like easements or covenants that may restrict your building plans.

TIP – new developments are usually offered for sale in stages, with pricing sometimes escalating as stages are released.

As a buyer, the responsibility is on you to do your own research, so you can be sure your new home is everything you’ve dreamed of. Reach out to a local real estate agent to find out about the area and help you with the details of the buying process.