Home » Vacant Land
Purchasing Vacant land
Purchasing Vacant Land? The team at ALA Law can assist you to purchase vacant land.
What is Vacant Land?
Vacant land can either be undeveloped or is under development but does not have a building (residential or commercial) constructed on the land, and is not being used or occupied for any purpose. A piece of land can be owned by an individual, a company or corporation, or the State, Territory, or Commonwealth Government.
There are two primary ways that vacant land can be made available in NSW:
- Vacant land can be made available through the NSW Government in the form of either registered or unregistered land; or
- Vacant land can be made available by an existing land owner either by demolishing and clearing away a dwelling, or by subdividing the existing land where a portion can then be used for a different purpose.
Vacant land in NSW can either be registered or unregistered. Registered land is titled land and can be built on right away (pending approvals) and unregistered land is awaiting title from the NSW Government prior to any construction.
What is registered land?
Registered land is land that can be built on immediately.
This could be land that is owned but not occupied or used by the owner, land that has been subdivided by the current landowner (for example, from a farm or paddock to individual blocks for residential use) or land that has previously been developed by a builder or developer and is now for sale, potentially with the option of purchasing one of their homes as a package.
Registered land in NSW is also known as a titled lot. This means that the land has a Certificate of Title and a legal record of all previous owners. If your land is titled, you can begin building on it right away.
What should you know about purchasing vacant land in NSW?
The benefits of purchasing titled land in NSW are:
The advantages of purchasing registered land in NSW.
- You can take ownership of the land right away, there are no delays in registering the land.
- You can begin the approval process for construction on the land quickly, there are no development hurdles or clearing requirements. This means your construction will be underway sooner.
- Financing titled land is easier as there will already be a value assigned to the land so the bank knows what they are getting themselves into.
The disadvantages of purchasing titled land in NSW are:
With all choices, there are still disadvantages with purchasing registered land in NSW, include:
- The titled land may already have easements or restrictions in place that limit your construction options.
- The purchase price of the land may be higher than if it were unregistered or undeveloped.
- The land may be zoned for a specific use, contrary to how you intend to use the land.
What is unregistered land?
Unregistered land is land that has previously been kept out of circulation by the government and then released to individuals directly through Landcom, or to a developer as part of a master-planned community. There are three stages that unregistered land can be sold at:
- Unregistered land: pre development application process – this is land that is yet to be developed and engaging a builder is over 18 months away.
- Unregistered land: development approved but before construction – this is land that has been approved for development and construction is about to start. The land may be fenced, or pegged, marking out the size and there may be photos available for viewing as well as any proposed plans the developer has for the surrounding sites (including changes to the suburb, other construction or development and any future plans regarding recreational spaces).
- Unregistered land: development approved and construction has started – this is land that is currently under construction where the block may be being levelled or utilities are being connected.
Timeframes for land registration can vary based on weather, the work required, and the developer’s ability to undertake work. Keep in mind that the developer doesn’t have complete control over registration as there are a number of processes that involve third parties. No pre-construction approvals nor construction efforts can begin until the land registers.
The land will remain unregistered until a developer completes the required works involved to create individual ‘lots’ of land; these lots can be varying in size and will depend on the plans the developer has. Developers are required to ensure the appropriate utility and services connections are available to each lot of land and are required to ensure the road infrastructure has been built and registered accordingly.
Checklist for buying Vacant Land
- Consider whether the land is registered – if it is not registered, work out when it is due to register.
- Consider what zoning the land has – Councils control what can and cannot be built on a piece of land by determining what zone the land has been classified as.
- Consider what you intend to build on the land and how soon you can begin after registration – some Councils have timeframes in which you are required to either start, or complete, your construction.
- Consider whether your construction will be impacted by easements – some factors that may affect this are- is there water running where you intend to build the garage, is there an electrical box preventing you from laying your driveway.
- Consider whether the land is the right shape, size, location, and direction for you – if the block is long and narrow, you will need to build a long and narrow house; if the block is short, you may need to build a double storey house to maximise your space; if the land is zoned R2 you will not be able to operate commercial premises.