Buying a home is a large investment – it needs to be done right. Burley Attwood Law can assist you in many ways.

See your Lawyer First

See your lawyer before you sign the sale and purchase agreement. Once the agreement has been signed there is little a lawyer can do to protect you from unexpected problems with the property or the agreement.

Check the Price

Before entering into negotiations you should get independent information about prices fetched for similar properties. This can be done either by obtaining a valuation for the property or obtaining recent sales figures for similar properties (this can be obtained over the internet).

Check the Important Things

Check title, council requirements and restrictions, building quality, engineering issues, your ability to get finance.

  • Checking title to the property should be done by your lawyer. Ownership of land does not give absolute rights to it. With fee simple (freehold) title rights are chipped away by easements, rights of way, height restrictions and building restrictions. This is even more the case if you are buying an apartment. It is more accurate to think of an apartment as a bundle of rights and obligations rather than the purchase of land and a building. Unless you have the title searched you will not know what restrictions apply to the property you want to buy.
  • Checking council requirements can be done by viewing the council file for the property. There is a small charge for this. Alternatively and usually the better option is to buy a land information memorandum (a LIM report) from the council. These contain more information relevant to a property than just the property file.
  • Checking the building quality is important both for new and old homes. Quality, design and maintenance problems that may not be obvious to you can arise in homes of any age. For a relatively small cost a building inspector will methodically check the buildings.
  • Consider any engineering issues. Usually it will be obvious if enquiries will need to be made. Properties on steep land should be investigated for stability. Less obvious is land containing uncompacted fill. This information will often but not always be contained on the council files.
  • When seeking finance make sure that you clearly understand what the bank or financier is offering you. Check what conditions are imposed on the offer of finance to avoid surprises.
  • There will be circumstances where the checks suggested above will not identify a potential problem. This may occur where there has been unauthorised building work for which no building consent has been obtained. Look for buildings or building alterations that do not show on the council file. The same applies to retaining walls or areas of fill. These things should be looked for and if you have any suspicions make further enquiries.


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