Why should you care about town planning

Buying a property will be one of the biggest financial decisions that a person will make in their lifetime, so you want to make sure you make the right decision.

Aside from picking the right area, in the good school catchment, with the pool that you always wanted, there are other factors that can significant impact upon your amenity and livelihood and possibly the future value of the property – and that is, town planning.

Imagine, you buy your dream home in a quiet street with a big backyard for the kids, then, 1 year later a development application is lodged for a 5 storey apartment building just next door that will completely overshadow your backyard and ruin any kind of privacy you had. Or, you had an extra $100k in equity to build out a new ensuite for your master bedroom but you find out that the house is pre-1947 and within a Character overlay so Council won’t let you do it.

These are the situations that we encounter as town planners on a daily basis.

Here’s a list of the top 5 things you should be cautious of when buying a property:

  1. Easements

    As much as an easement will be flagged by your conveyancer, they could have a huge impact on where you want to build a pool, or what you can/cannot do with a property. It might restrict the actual usable lot size from 450m2 down to 300m2 which could also help you negotiate a better price! Always check on easements and what impact they will have on the property.

  2. Flooding

    In Brisbane in particular, there is 14 different flood overlays that could affect a property, but every local council region has a ‘flood’ overlay. Even if a very low-risk event, you could have trouble getting insurances and possibly a home loan! On the other end of it, the flood overlay could be very high-risk and your garage and lower level could be flooded once a year which could have a huge impact on the liveability of the house.

  3. Character and Heritage

    Again, mostly in Brisbane, the majority of dwellings built pre-1947 are protected from demolition and major alteration. If the house looks old, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be a traditional ‘Queenslander’ style house, it is always worth checking with a town planner if it has any character or heritage overlays (e.g. Traditional Building Character, Pre-1911, Heritage). A character overlay isn’t always a full deal-breaker but it will certainly restrict you in terms of what future renovations you can do.

  4. Bushfire

    In recent times we’ve seen the true impact of a bushfire hazard on peoples lives and you’d be surprised at the built-up suburban areas that are affected by a bushfire hazard overlay. These overlays again could increase your insurances, but also put your property and family at risk.

  5. Services

    In a similar vein to #1 on this list, the location of pipes and cables running through/over/under a property could have a huge impact on what you can build, and where you can build. We commonly see that a sewer main will be running diagonally through the backyard of a property restricting the location of a new pool. You should always be aware of the location of any services when looking to purchase a property.

Confused as to how you might find out some of the above information? A combination of your broker, conveyancer and a town planner should be able to cover it all off.

When is the best time to make an enquiry? BEFORE you sign a contract!

Want to learn more? Follow up with one of the great town planners at Steffan Town Planning by emailing full details of your enquiry to contact@stpmail.com.au.