The Ultimate Guide to Conveyancing Searches

Your Guide to Conveyancing Searches When Buying Property

When buying a property, one of the most important stages is carrying out conveyancing searches to ensure that any issues with the property are identified before it’s too late. With more than 50 searches available, it can be difficult for you to choose which searches are relevant (and worth the cost) and which searches can be left out.

This guide runs through the most common searches and provides you with an explanation of when and why you would do each search, along with the usual cost, to help you with your next property purchase.

To make life as easy as possible, we offer standard search packages that include the most common conveyancing searches carried out for property purchases in South East Queensland.

One of the most important property searches is the Council search. Each Council has different fees and each search provides different results. These different searches are summarised below for Brisbane City Council, Moreton Bay Regional Council, Logan City Council, Gold Coast City Council and Ipswich City Council.

Basic Searches

 

SearchApprox costResults and comments
Title$19.45 per search (generally two searches required)A title search shows who the registered owner of the property is and also discloses any registered encumbrances that affect the property such as easements, leases and caveats.

A title search will usually be done at the start of the matter to ensure you are buying the property from the right purchaser and to check for any registered encumbrances that might affect your use and enjoyment of the property.

A second title search is usually done on the day of settlement to ensure the owner is still the same and that no new dealings have been registered.
Survey plan$35.65The survey plan shows the area and location of the property and will also show some encumbrances. This search is required to ensure that the property you have contracted to buy is the same as the property disclosed in the contract and inspected by you.
Land tax$55.47A land tax search shows if there is any outstanding land tax relating to the property. The reason this search is important is because unpaid land tax attaches to the property and is payable by the new owner if the property is sold and the land tax remains unpaid.

If there is land tax outstanding, we ensure the seller pays this amount at settlement so that you do not take over their land tax liability.
Body corporate records search$150 to $300Units/townhouses only - This search shows any outstanding body corporate fees for the current billing period and is required to make the appropriate adjustments at settlement. This search also advises of any issues with the body corporate and the sinking fund balance.
Registered dealings (eg easements)$58.85 per dealingWhere there is a registered dealing on title that might impact on your use and enjoyment of the property, a registered dealing search should be done to check the terms of the dealing so that you are aware of the restrictions it imposes.

An example is an easement for a shared driveway. This easement document will often outline who is to pay for costs to repair and maintain the driveway and may even include an on-going fee that is payable for the use of the driveway.
Full rates searchThis search goes by different names and has different results depending on the Council, however is one of the most important searches that can be conducted to identify issues with a property.

See Council searches section below.

Brisbane City Council

 

SearchApprox costResults and comments
Inspection of Records$223.80Required – Provides information on the quarterly rates payable (including the current outstanding balance), building and traffic, storm water and sewerage and drainage if applicable. Also information on licenses and property notices.
Building Records$122.40Recommended for houses - Provides details of all approved building permits/applications for a property from 1946. Details include Building Application Number, Description of Proposed Building Work and Date of Approval. It does not include copies of any building plans or documents.
Queensland Urban Utilities – special water meter reading$73.50Required – Provides water consumption amounts so that water consumption can be adjusted at settlement. This ensures the seller pays for their portion of unbilled water consumption.
Certificate of Classification$122.40Recommended for units and townhouses – This search confirms whether a certificate of classification has been issued. This certificate is required for the property to be lawfully occupied.


Moreton Bay Regional Council

 

SearchApprox costResults and comments
Land Records Search$189.60 (without building/plumbing)

OR

$489.60 (with building/plumbing)
Required (without building/plumbing) – Provides all rating levies and credits, applicable town planning zone and conditions.



Recommended (with building and plumbing) – More comprehensive search with all records held by MBRC regarding any building and plumbing applications in respect of the property.
Flood searchFreeProvides the projected flood levels for the property.
Certificate of Classification$144.00Recommended for units and townhouses – This search confirms whether a certificate of classification has been issued. This certificate is required for the property to be lawfully occupied.
Unitywater$179.60Required – Provides water consumption amounts so that water consumption can be adjusted at settlement. This ensures the seller pays for their portion of unbilled water consumption.


Logan City Council

 

SearchApprox costResults and comments
Property Search$321.60Required – Provides
• unimproved capital value and rateable value;
• amount of rates and water charges levied;
• arrears, interest and discounts;
• zoning;
• building envelopes and overlays (including flooding);
• resumptions, realignments and conditions on the property; and
• a special water meter reading.
Building and Plumbing Search$254.60 (report of approvals only)

$619.60 (inspection carried out to determine whether the property complies with building and plumbing approvals)
Recommended – Provides information on building and plumbing approvals for the property so that you know whether the property has all of the required approvals. This is especially relevant if there have been extensions or other extensive renovations that may have required approval.


Gold Coast City Council

 

SearchApprox costResults and comments
Rates and Water$192.00Required – Provides rating information, property notifications and water meter reading.
Building$475.60 (report of approvals only)

$773.60 (inspection carried out to determine whether the property complies with all building approvals)
Recommended – Provides information on building and plumbing approvals for the property so that you know whether the property has all of the required approvals. This is especially relevant if there have been extensions or other extensive renovations that may have required approval.
Certificate of Classification$178.50Recommended for units and townhouses – This search confirms whether a certificate of classification has been issued. This certificate is required for the property to be lawfully occupied.

 

Ipswich City Council

 

SearchApprox costResults and comments
Rates$165.00Required – Provides rating information.
Building and Plumbing$289.60Recommended – Provides a letter comprising a list of building and plumbing work approvals issued for the property, i.e. dwellings and all other outbuildings (shed, carports, pools, etc). The search will note the date of approval of a structure and whether a final inspection was carried out. Council is required to keep records for ten years, however it may be possible to research information dating back to 1975 for some properties, depending on available records. This search does not include any plans.
Certificate of Occupancy / Final Inspection Certificate$82.50Recommended– This search confirms whether a certificate of classification / final inspection certificate has been issued. This certificate is required for the property to be lawfully occupied.
Queensland Urban Utilities – special water meter reading$73.50Required – Provides water consumption amounts so that water consumption can be adjusted at settlement. This ensures the seller pays for their portion of unbilled water consumption.

Still not sure which conveyancing searches to choose? No worries, McAndrew Law are experts in Brisbane conveyancing and we are happy to help provide further guidance. Just get in touch and we can provide you with a tailored list of recommended conveyancing searches based on the property you are buying.

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