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Buying and Selling Property


Buying or selling property is probably the most important transaction that you will ever make. Your life savings, standard of living and dreams are tied together in this home. This is why you need experienced property lawyers who know what to look out for and how to best navigate your purchase or sale.


At Bentleys, we are dedicated to ensuring that when you buy or sell property, the transaction is as effortless and efficient as possible.


Our property law services include:

  • A complete property conveyancing service in relation to the purchase and sale of all residential, commercial and industrial property including Torrens, Strata and Company Title properties
  • Buying and selling of vacant land and development blocks
  • Assistance with financing, including reverse mortgages
  • Buying and selling of retirement village accommodation
  • Advice and support in relation to joint venture agreements and more


Contact our Property Law team today for a FREE 20 minutes consultation to receive fast and knowledgeable advice in relation to all aspects of buying and selling property.


What you need to know before buying a residential property


Before buying a home, you should know a variety of issues that may affect that property and its potential restrictions or obligations on you.

The Due Diligence checklist from the Consumer Affairs Victoria (see helps you see if any of these issues will affect you. These questions are merely a starting point and you should seek legal advice for more information. 


Inner-city or rural?


The inner city shines for their entertainment, multiculturalism, and endless choice of eateries, but these cause increased traffic, noise and even mess from businesses and people. Allow yourself to understand and appreciate the culture, nature, strengths and flaws of the area before making this decision. 


If you are looking at property in a rural area, consider:

  • Is the surrounding land use complimentary with your lifestyle? Farming can create noise or odour that may interfere with your lifestyle.
  • Are you considering removing native vegetation? Even on your private property, there are regulations in relation to removing native vegetation.


If you are moving to a growth area, you should conduct research if you need to pay a growth area's infrastructure contribution.


Is the property subject to an owners corporation?


An owners corporation (previously known as body corporate) manages the common property of a commercial, residential or industrial property. You are probably a member of an owners corporation if you own a unit, apartment or flat.

There are certain rules you must follow if you are part of an owners corporation, such as paying fees and having certain restrictions.


Flood and bushfire risks

Some properties are at risk of experiencing bushfires or flooding due to where they are situated. A prudent buyer should look into these risks and consider what this means for land management, buildings and insurance premiums.


Building new dwelling


When a land is part of one of these residential zones: Residential Growth Zone, General Residential Zone, Neighbourhood Residential Zone, Mixed Use Zone or Township Zone, there are rules and regulations that apply to the following:

  • building a second dwelling if there is already at least one existing dwelling on a lot;
  • building two or more dwellings on a lot;
  • extending a dwelling if there is already two or more dwellings on a lot;
  • building or extending a dwelling on a common property;
  • building or extending a residential building.


Earth resource activities (e.g. mining)

Exploration, mining and quarrying activities on or near your property could cause issues such as   requiring petroleum, geothermal or greenhouse gas sequestration permits, leases and licences,  extractive industry authorisations and mineral licences.


Soil and groundwater contamination - Has the soil or groundwater been affected by the previous use of the land? 


Past activities, including the use of adjacent land, may have caused contamination at the site which may impose limitations on you from doing certain activities, such as constructing on or extending a dwelling on the land, in the future.


Knowing the land boundaries of the property  

The land boundaries of a property is shown on the title document. You should compare the measurements on the title document with the actual fences and building of the property to ensure that the boundaries are aligned.

If you have questions or want clarity on the land boundaries, you should contact our property lawyers at Bentleys to confirm your property’s boundaries.


Planning controls - Changing how the property or building is used


Each land follows a planning scheme run by the local council. The way a property is zoned and whether there are any overlays will establish how the land can be used. This restricts what you can or cannot build on a vacant plot of land, or whether you can make any changes to the land or building over time.


Your local council is a good place to start to give you preliminary advice on the planning scheme.


There may also be other restrictions on the property, known as encumbrances, which prevent you from making changes to the property. The property’s encumbrances are shown on the Section 32 statement.


If you have any questions about reading and understanding a Section 32 statement or simply questions about whether you can alter a property, contact Bentleys to speak to one of our experienced property lawyers.


Changes to properties around yo


Your local council may advise you if there are any proposed or issued planning permits for nearby properties. Any significant developments in your area could radically shift the nature and character of your local area, such as increasing noise or traffic near your property.


Planning permits - Using the building or property in a certain wa


If you want to make any changes to a building or property, you need to find out whether you need a planning or building permit, or both.

A planning permit is needed to develop or use the land in a certain way. A planning permit may be needed for a new home, extension, renovation or an extra dwelling on your land.

Before obtaining a building permit, you would need to be issued a planning permit by your local council.

A planning permit application to be submitted to your local council would need to include various things, such as:

  • The proposed design;
  • A planning report;
  • Shadow diagrams;
  • Any other relevant document.


Building permits - Altering the building or property a certain wa


The Building Act 1993 and Building Regulations 2018 state that all building work requires a building work, unless an exemption applies.


A building permit is a written approval by a building surveyor that your proposed building follows the rules and regulations. It gives you permission to undertake the proposed building work.


There are some building works which may not require a building permit, such as:

  • Minor alterations or demolitions;
  • Certain garden sheds with a floor area of <10m2;
  • Repair work for maintenance purposes.

Applying for a building permit may be done through a solicitor. To apply for a permit, the following is required:

  • Submit at least 3 copies of drawings, specifications and allotment plans along with the filled in application form;
  • Pay the building permit levy;
  • Provide any other prescribed information.


If you are planning to make any changes to your property or to its use, you should contact our experienced property lawyers at Bentleys today for a FREE 20 minute consultation.


Building or renovation works covered by insurance


You should ask the vendor if there is any owner-builder insurance or builder’s warranty to cover defects in any building or renovations done to property. 


Safety - Is the building safe to live in? 


Inspecting a property and further visit before you buy is essential in the decision-making process. Before you sign a contract of sale, you should consider hiring a professional building inspector or surveyor to give a full professional building inspection report. This report would help to determine the property for electrical safety, possible illegal building work, any presence of asbestos, termites, or any other potential hazards.


Planning Disputes


Even the best made property plans and developments don’t always go the way they are expected, or conversely, you may find yourself affected by a neighboring property issue.

Property development and general property planning can be complex and confusing in nature. At Bentleys, we provide advice to both developers looking to acquire local authority approval, as well as parties who may be adversely affected by a proposed development.


We can assist you with a range of planning disputes matters including:

  • Planning Permits Rezoning Application advice regarding council land acquisition and compensation;
  • Objections to planning applications;
  • Assistance with development applications, including applications for material changes of use;
  • Appeals to the Planning and Environmental Court;
  • Contaminated land and environmental management;
  • Objections and appeals against development.


To get started, give us a call today for a FREE 20 minutes consultation on your planning dispute matter, and one of our lawyers will be ready to assist you.


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