Experienced property investors have a team of professionals they rely on to guide them through the purchase process. A trusted building and pest inspector, property valuer and property solicitor are just a few of the experts who should make up a part of your team.

Obtaining advice from an experienced property solicitor before you sign a contract is essential. One of the areas they will advise is regarding the searches which should be undertaken on the subject property. If there is something in particular which needs to be investigated in respect of the property, a special condition may need to be inserted in the contract to give you the right to terminate if the search reveals a problem. It is important to obtain this advice before you sign as not every adverse search result will give you the right to terminate.

Most law firms will do a series of standard searches such as:

  • title search
  • survey plan search
  • standard local council search (rates, resumptions, notices to undertake work)
  • Department of Transport search (for possible resumptions)
  • Land Tax search

Also in the case of a body corporate:

  • a Body Corporate Information Certificate (basic body corporate search)
  • Certificate of Classification search
  • Community Management Statement search (by-laws and exclusive use areas)
  • a body corporate records search

Depending on the property you are purchasing, it might be wise to obtain additional searches, for example:

  • a contaminated lands search if it is possible a toxic activity may have been conducted on the site
  • a Queensland Rail search if the property abuts, or is near, a railway line
  • a building approvals search

A solicitor will review the type of property and its location to help determine which searches are required. On one occasion it was identified that a ‘yet to be built’ house and land package was earmarked for resumption in the next five years to accommodate the widening of a freeway. Another search identified a body corporate sinking fund was in dire straights with major structural works required to sure up the building. The relevant searches saved these prospective purchasers a great deal of money, stress and anxiety by not moving forward with buying these properties.

The above are only a few examples of the additional searches possible. Independent advice from an experienced solicitor should always be sought BEFORE signing the contract.