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What you need to know about covenants, easements and connected services when buying land

What you need to know about covenants, easements and connected services when buying land

Once you’ve chosen the general location of your land, you need to look at more site-specific matters. In particular, you should check to see whether the land is affected by covenants or easements and whether it is fully serviced.

What is a covenant?

A covenant is a condition that imposes duties or restrictions on the use of that land, regardless of the owner. Covenants can define building heights, fencing types, or even the materials from which the dwelling is constructed. Many estates have general covenants that apply universally to Residential 1 planning zones; however, there are a number of estates that have significant covenants or restrictions. Make sure you know which ones they are to avoid any nasty surprises when you go to build.

What is an easement?

An easement is a part of your land that someone else may require access to in the future. They could be local authorities such as the council or suppliers of electricity, water and sewerage services. While the need to access the easement may be rare, the portion of land in question must be kept clear unless you obtain a ‘build over permit’. With today’s technology, such as the ability to put cameras up pipes, the fear of easements is diminished somewhat, but is still something you need to be aware of. An easement often runs along a property boundary, allowing your home to be positioned to avoid it. Chat to a land specialist if you are unsure about how an easement could affect you.

connected services

Connected services include electricity, water, sewerage and telephone, and will ideally already be connected on the land you are purchasing. Most residential estates are fully serviced and ready to go. However, in a rural or rural-residential area this may not be the case, and you will be required to pay for connection of these essential services out of your own pocket. If you need to do this, make sure you get quotes from several civil contractors before purchasing the land. Ensure that you ask about service connections early on so you can account for the costs in your budgeting.

Buying a block of land based on inaccurate advice can see you blowing a lot more than just your budget.  Don’t trust your future to a sales pitch.  Learn what you need to know to avoid the biggest mistakes made by becoming a member of Home Build In a Box.

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