buying a property
  • March 29, 2021
  • Effective Building
  • 0

Buying a property will be one of the most exhausting yet life-changing decisions with several factors to consider. Whether you’re a first home buyer or looking to have a wise investment for your portfolio, make sure you did your research first.

In this post, I’ll show you the 9 ways you should do before buying a property. From using the six maps to finding a perfect location to finding the right connections before moving in, we’ve got your back!

1. Use Six Maps

SIX Maps (Spatial Information Exchange) is where you can view the Spatial Services’ interactive images and mapping of NSW, with a range of spatial and property data. This information is essential before buying a property.

This app is free to view and users can see the entire NSW imagery and base map data which includes NSW address and property administrative boundaries: Strata Plan, (SP), Deposited Plan (DP), Local Government Areas (LGA), and Lot.

2. Check NSW Planning Portal’s Spatial Viewer

If you’d like to search for planning information before buying a property, you can do this via NSW Planning Portal’s Spatial Viewer. The Spatial Viewer is an enhanced digital mapping service that provides easy-to-use, detailed maps for every address and lot in NSW.

You’ll simply select the “search online” button. Enter the address, lot, or local government area you’d like to investigate. You can also generate a property report here, which will be downloaded as a PDF file on your computer.

3. Explore Google Earth

Before buying a property, use Google Earth to make sure it will work for your needs. Many areas in Sydney have building codes and setbacks. Before investing in a huge mistake, always look at your property. This tool can save you thousands of dollars before you invest in buying land for building on. 

You can also use Zillow maps along with this tool. When you zoom in to a certain level, it shows you the property lines for each property. If you keep this open in one window, you can use it as a reference when you’re looking at the land on Google Earth.  You could even duplicate the property lines on G.E from Zillow. The key tip is to use them together.

4. Dial Before You Dig

Dial Before You Dig or DBYD is a free national referral service aimed to help customers prevent damage and disrupt Australia’s vast infrastructure networks which provide essential services we use every day. Their vision is to reduce damage to their members’ infrastructure assets and resulting loss and harm to the community. Safety is the major aspect of any excavation project and Dial Before You Dig is always a first point of contact before buying a property.

5. Title Search from a Contract of Sale

Knowing who owns the property you want to buy is only the initial step. First, the current owner might be unaware of an old claim against the property’s title. Second, the debts of any of the previous owners can come back to haunt you because they follow the property.

If you were to skip the title search, things like homeowner’s association fees and bills and unpaid property taxes might become your responsibility. This is why lenders need both title searches and title insurance as part of the mortgage underwriting process.

6. Check the Sewer Diagram

It may not be a common thing to do, but checking the property’s sewer diagram before you buy could save you money in the long run. Having a document with noted drains and wastewater pipes installation is important. Moreover, it will also allow you to see behind that shiny reno and get clues to what has been done to the property and if they’re up to the standards.

7. Ask the Section 149 Certificate

Section 149 Certificate is also known as the zoning certificates. These are legal documents issued by the NSW Council under the provisions of the  EPAA (Environmental Planning and Assessment) 1979. These contain information about a property that may be used and restrictions on development that may apply.

Section 149 (2)

This certificate contains information such as permissible and prohibited land uses, zoning of the land, controls for development or hazards, and details of exempt and complying development. These also include matters such as contaminated land and flooding, bush fire, coastal protection, and heritage. These are all included in Schedule 4 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment regulation 2000.

Section 149 (5)

This certificate provides both the information available in section 149 (2) and additional matters such as burials on private land, dwelling permissibility, and information on the applicability of the Council’s Management of Contaminated Land Policy if possible.

8. Search Property  Information in CoreLogic

Corelogic is the largest provider of property information, analytics, and property-related risk management services in Sydney. They deliver unique, property-level insights through applying financial and property-based data and analytics to help you make smarter decisions.

Because they are forward-thinkers, they’re evolving every day. Corelogic constantly advances its people, technologies, and databases to meet and anticipate new client needs. 

9. The Right Connections for Building Inspection, Engineer, Lawyer, Broker

Buying a property is expensive, and it can cost even more if something wrong occurs. This is why it’s important to have the right connections to help you.

Building Inspector

A professional building inspector will tell you about the condition of the property. It’s a good idea to select the building inspector and engineer at the early stage of your home buying process, so you’re ready to arrange an inspection after buying a property.

Building inspectors of Effective Building & Consultancy hold professional indemnity insurance and carry out their work per Sydney Property Inspection Standards.


It’s essential to get your legal advice before you sign anything. Having a lawyer or conveyancer can help you through the process of buying a property. 

Both can carry out property transactions. Having them on your side can help you deal with more complex transactions and deal with legal issues when buying a property. Sales and purchase agreements are legally binding documents, and you should consult your lawyer before signing them.


Most banks and other lenders will require proof that you have insurance in place for a property before they’ll complete the loan. It’s a good idea to look at options early in the home buying process so you can arrange insurance once you’re assured of the place you want to buy. Some property features like retaining walls may cost more to insure.

If you’re looking for a full-assistance regarding buying a property, call us at 02 9613 3353. For more information about our building inspection, visit our Help Centre.

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About Elie Farah

Elie Farah is a Building Consultant with over 25 years of experience in the property industry. Elie has specialised knowledge in development acquisitions, blue-chip properties and inspections, as well as flood-affected and waterfront properties, heritage buildings, bushfire management and existing use rights.

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