Buying of selling land or property

6th Jun 2019

Buying or selling land or property

Buy land, they're not making it anymore – Mark Twain

It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see – Henry David Thoreau

One of the most significant events in life is buying or selling land or other property.

A lot of your money is often tied up with such a transaction. Most of us could not afford a costly mistake made in the course of finalising the sale or purchase.

As a buyer or seller you want to be sure you are getting what you are paying for or selling what you believe you own.

You want to avoid claims or demands by the other party after the sale or purchase has been completed. You wish to confidently anticipate being able to sell the property sometime in the future (or confident that your children can sell) without any unforeseen impediments to the sale arising.

Did you know, for example, you were selling a block that was previously used as a fuel storage facility such as a petrol station? There may have been underground fuel tanks built on the land but unused for many years.

As a seller of land with a fuel storage history, you may have ongoing obligations (even after sale) to return the land to its pre fuel storage condition at your cost.

Buying land with access to water over a neighbour's property may mean your right to water could be terminated at any time by your neighbour or a subsequent purchaser from your neighbour.

The land may have been recently subdivided with unfenced boundaries. Existing fences may be inadequate. Carefully drawn conditions of contract may be necessary to ensure appropriate boundary and other fences are in place before taking possession of the property.

These and many other issues arising in the course of buying or selling land require thorough  investigation and careful drafting of conditions of the contract to protect you and, for most of us, our most important asset – the land being bought or sold.

Lawyers are trained and qualified to undertake the investigations and drafting and to deal with other complex related issues that may arise such as tax considerations, trusts and succession planning. 

Chris Leahy

General Counsel Liston Legal