When considering purchasing land in Sydney, you will either be looking at ‘registered land’ or ‘unregistered land’
Essentially Registered Land means that (subject to approvals etc) you can build immediately. It is termed registered because the Land Titles Office (or LPI) has registered the plan of subdivision and the land has gone from ‘a paddock’ into all the individual blocks.
Buying unregistered land is the same as buying ‘off the plan’ whereby it is possible to get an idea as the shape of the land, services, slope etc. ‘off the plan’ only.
Without trying to simplify the development process to much there are a few different times where you can buy unregistered land in relation to the overall development process
Unregistered land – Pre DA
It is pretty unusual to find land for sale in Sydney whereby it is for sale pre-DA Approval. However we have sold it in instances where there is huge demand for the land and it is part of a larger subdivision. Your solicitor will often be extremely cautious on letting you sign a contract on pre-DA approved land for sale – however it has been done. The key benefit of buying in this situation is that settlement of the land will likley be in excess of 12 months. Key considerations are 1.) you would not want to pay more than 5% deposit 2.) You don’t want to be in a hurry 3.) You would not be wise to sign with a builder with such time uncertainty 4.) You would want the sunset date to be over 18 months
Unregistered Land – DA Approved/Prior to construction
This is often when land is put up for sale, once the DA has been approved and before construction starts. Due to strict OHS/site requirements – you may be unable to get access to the site once construction has started. However, the sales team have the benefit of getting you on site to at least get some idea of where your land is, and what it will look like. The land may be pegged, and we often get aerial photos with the plan superimposed on it so you can at least see where your block is in relation to existing site features. Whilst settlement (when you pay) will also be a time in the distant future (often 9-12 months) this is a great way to secure land if you want to save some additional money or whether you have a house to sell. Be aware though it risky to sign up with a builder too soon – but then again you may not want to miss out on their latest bonanza sale! In this instance we recommend to many of our developer clients to prepare ‘Lot Disclosure Plans’. These are plans that are a bit like an ‘x-ray’ of the block showing all its ‘vitals’ including measurements, location of services, any trees and proposed contour levels when completed. The huge benefit of this is that it allows your builder to at least show you whether your house will fit. As with the Pre-DA land, you would want to try and exchange on 5% or even a 10% deposit bond and keep an eye on the sunset date
Unregistered Land – During Construction
Most people may end up buying when the land is unregisted but under construction. Whilst the wait for the land is less, you may be physically unable (due to OHS) to get to see your block of land prior to having to sign up. The same other considerations still apply in terms of trying to exchange on a low deposit.