You can download and print additional copies of the Due diligence checklist (Word, 58KB).
Before you buy a home or vacant residential land, you should be aware of a range of issues that may affect that property and impose restrictions or obligations on you, if you buy it. This checklist aims to help you identify whether any of these issues will affect you. The questions are a starting point only and you may need to seek professional advice to answer some of them. For more information about professional advice, view Seek expert advice on property.
All sellers or estate agents must make this checklist available to potential buyers of homes or residential property.
Sellers or estate agents must:
- ensure copies of the due diligence checklist are available to potential buyers at any open for inspection
- include a link to this webpage (consumer.vic.gov.au/duediligencechecklist) or include a copy on any website maintained by the estate agent or the seller (if no estate agent is acting for the seller).
This page contains additional links to organisations and web pages that can help you learn more.
High density areas are attractive for their entertainment and service areas, but these activities create increased traffic as well as noise and odours from businesses and people. Familiarising yourself with the character of the area will give you a balanced understanding of what to expect.
For more information, visit the Commercial and industrial noise - Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and the Odour - EPA.
Buying into an owners corporation
If the property is part of a subdivision with common property such as driveways or grounds, it may be subject to an owners corporation. You may be required to pay fees and follow rules that restrict what you can do on your property, such as a ban on pet ownership.
For more information, view Owners corporations and read the Statement of advice and information for prospective purchasers and lot owners (Word, 53KB).
You should investigate whether you will be required to pay a growth areas infrastructure contribution.
For more information, visit Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution - Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).
To find out if a property is within the Melbourne Strategic Assessment area, which has special requirements for biodiversity conservation, use the Obligations in the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy Area tool on Native Vegetation Information Management - DELWP.
Flood and fire risk
Properties are sometimes subject to the risk of fire and flooding due to their location. You should properly investigate these risks and consider their implications for land management, buildings and insurance premiums.
For information about fire risk, visit:
For general information about flood risk, visit the Australian Flood Risk Information Portal - Geoscience Australia.
To find out who is responsible for floodplain management in your area, visit Catchment management framework - DELWP.
Catchment management authority websites:
If you are looking at property in a rural zone, consider:
- Is the surrounding land use compatible with your lifestyle expectations? Farming can create noise or odour that may be at odds with your expectations of a rural lifestyle. For information about what impacts you should expect and how to manage them, visit New landholders - Agriculture Victoria.
- Are you considering removing native vegetation? There are regulations which affect your ability to do so on private property. The limitations on clearing and processes for legal clearing are set out on Native vegetation - DELWP.
- Do you understand your obligations to manage weeds and pest animals? Visit Noxious weed and pest management - Agriculture Victoria.
- Can you build new dwellings? Contact the local council for more information.
- Does the property adjoin crown land, have a water frontage, contain a disused government road, or are there any crown licences associated with the land? For more information, visit Forestry & land use - DELWP.
Earth resource activity, such as mining
You may wish to find out more about exploration, mining and quarrying activity on or near the property and consider the issue of petroleum, geothermal and greenhouse gas sequestration permits, leases and licences, extractive industry authorisations and mineral licences.
For more information, visit the:
Soil and groundwater contamination
You should consider whether past activities, including the use of adjacent land, may have caused contamination at the site and whether this may prevent you from doing certain things to or on the land in the future.
For information on sites that have been audited for contamination, visit Contaminated site management - EPA.
For guidance on how to identify if land is potentially contaminated, see the Potentially Contaminated Land General Practice Note June 2005 on the Planning Practice Notes - DELWP.
You should compare the measurements shown on the title document with actual fences and buildings on the property, to make sure the boundaries match. If you have concerns about this, you can speak to your lawyer or conveyancer, or commission a site survey to establish property boundaries.
For more information, visit the Property and land titles - DELWP.
Planning controls affecting how the property is used, or the buildings on it
All land is subject to a planning scheme, run by the local council. How the property is zoned and any overlays that may apply, will determine how the land can be used. This may restrict such things as whether you can build on vacant land or how you can alter or develop the land and its buildings over time.
The local council can give you advice about the planning scheme, as well as details of any other restrictions that may apply, such as design guidelines or bushfire safety design. There may also be restrictions - known as encumbrances - on the property's title, which prevent you from developing the property. You can find out about encumbrances by looking at the section 32 statement.
Proposed or granted planning permits
The local council can advise you if there are any proposed or issued planning permits for any properties close by. Significant developments in your area may change the local 'character' (predominant style of the area) and may increase noise or traffic near the property.
The local council can give you advice about planning schemes, as well as details of proposed or current planning permits. For more information, visit the Planning Schemes Online - DELWP.
A cultural heritage management plan or cultural heritage permit may be required prior to works being undertaken on the property. For help to determine whether a cultural heritage management plan is required for a proposed activity, visit the Planning and development of land - Aboriginal Victoria.
Building laws are in place to ensure building safety. Professional building inspections can help you assess the property for electrical safety, possible illegal building work, adequate pool or spa fencing and the presence of asbestos, termites or other potential hazards.
For more information, visit the Consumers - Victorian Building Authority (VBA) and Energy Safe Victoria.
Owners of a pool or spa must:
- register it with the local council
- have the pool safety barrier inspected every four years
- lodge a certificate with the council, confirming compliance of the pool or spa barrier.
For more information, visit the Swimming pools - VBA.
There are laws and regulations about how buildings and retaining walls are constructed, which you may wish to investigate to ensure any completed or proposed building work is approved. The local council may be able to give you information about any building permits issued for recent building works done to the property, and what you must do to plan new work. You can also commission a private building surveyor's assessment.
For more information about building regulation, view Building and renovating.
Aboriginal cultural heritage and building plans
For help to determine whether a cultural heritage management plan is required for a proposed activity, visit Planning and development of land - Aboriginal Victoria.
Insurance cover for recent building or renovation works
Ask the vendor if there is any owner-builder insurance or builder's warranty to cover defects in the work done to the property.
You can find out more about insurance coverage on the Owner builders - VBA and Domestic building insurance - VBA.
Connections for water, sewerage, electricity, gas, telephone and internet
Unconnected services may not be available, or may incur a fee to connect. You may also need to choose from a range of suppliers for these services. This may be particularly important in rural areas where some services are not available.
For help choosing an energy retailer, visit Victorian Energy Compare.
For information on possible impacts of easements, visit Caveats, covenants and easements - DELWP.
For information on the National Broadband Network (NBN) visit the NBN Co.
The contract of sale and section 32 statement contain important information about the property, so you should request to see these and read them thoroughly. Many people engage a lawyer or conveyancer to help them understand the contracts and ensure the sale goes through correctly. If you intend to hire a professional, you should consider speaking to them before you commit to the sale. There are also important rules about the way private sales and auctions are conducted. These may include a cooling-off period and specific rights associated with 'off the plan' sales. The important thing to remember is that, as the buyer, you have rights.
For more information, view Buying property.
Professional associations and bodies that may be helpful: