With the advances in technology, we’ve surpassed the need to go on site and look for infrastructure or check the surrounding land uses for precedent. In Queensland, there is now an amazing amount of free online tools that you can utilise to make an informed decision before purchasing a property or potential development site.
Firstly, you are going to need to identify your property and its Local Council region. Queensland Globe is a new and FREE online tool provided by the Queensland Government and allows you to search a property and see general information such as Lot and Plan numbers, location of easements, elevation and various other layers
Local Government property portals can be a great source of FREE property information. For example, a Sunshine Coast Development Information Site Report. Most Local Council’s will have a Planning and Development Online that allows you to search a property and see its development application history, town planning zoning, overlays and lot attributes (e.g. size, lot number…etc.). These free tools can be great to get quick general information about a property and can also give you more detailed information about things like Flooding or Character.
If your Local Council does not own the services and infrastructure in your area, Dial Before You Dig is a great (and FREE) tool to compile all of the information you need in a few quick steps. Dial Before You Dig is a national referral service designed to assist in preventing damage and disruption to Australia’s vast infrastructure networks which provide essential services we use every day. By doing this, you can also make sure that infrastructure is ideally located for your future extension or development. For example, that the sewer is running down the front of the property…etc.
In addition to your Local Government planning portals, most state governments will have a FREE state-wide portal that will address state concerns relating to your subject site. For example, the Queensland Development Assessment Mapping System (DAMS) and the State Planning Policy Interactive Mapping System allows you to investigate any state interests in your property. For example, a future state road, regionally protected vegetation, flooding, bushfire hazard…etc. These searches are important to ensure your property is not affected by a higher order planning restriction.
If your site is affected by state-wide vegetation mapping, you can do an even more detailed property report via the Department of Natural Resources and Mines here. The FREE search will give you a site-specific vegetation property report relevant to your particular site.
The Department of Defence has a register of all Unexploded Ordnance (UXO), a free search will identify if your site has any sort of military ammunition or explosive ordnance which has failed to function as intended. It includes sea mines or shells used by the Navy, mortar bombs, mines, artillery shells or hand grenades used by the Army; bombs, rockets or missiles used by the Air Force; and many other types of ammunition and explosives including training munitions. You can do a free search via their website here.
Now that you’ve done your free searches, you’re convinced an allotment is worth more investigation and you’re happy to put some money down, the following reports are essential in forming a more informed opinion of a site.
PropertEASE generates simple reports detailing the development potential of any given site in a couple of pages. Taking the complexity out of Council town planning schemes the PropertEASE website organizes a custom built database and interactive mapping system to provide simple yes or no answers. PropertEASE also highlights all planning layers from the Local Government area and explains exactly what they mean and how they can impact upon your property. It also tells you the full development potential in addition to restrictions such as height, site cover, lot size, density…etc. A single PE report is only $47 which is nothing in the general scheme of a development.
CoreLogic RP Data or Pricefinder reports will give you more information about the sales history, approximate value, listing history, landowners and other general information about the property and surrounding suburb. A property report from CoreLogic or Pricefinder can set you back between $20-100 but can be very useful in reviewing the value of the property in the context of the surrounding suburb.
Now that you’re really getting serious about the site, I would highly recommend getting the opinion of a professional consultant planner. General advice over the phone is usually FREE but a more comprehensive due diligence could cost anywhere between $200 to $2000+ dependant upon the proposal and site-specific issues.