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If there was a history of erosion at a property I was looking at, I'd want to know before making an offer.

If there was a history of erosion at a property I was looking at, I’d want to know before making an offer.

OPINION: The house hunt continues. Booting up TradeMe to see if there are any other listings has become a nightly ritual.

But rather than simply fawning or despairing over properties which seem to fit within our price range, we now start checking title information and rates before plotting our course for a Sunday afternoon open home tour.

My girlfriend and I have heard countless stories about young couples, like ourselves, feeling hard done by as they lose auction after auction. Missing out on the houses is bad enough, but when you’ve sunk in hundreds of dollars each time on due diligence, the loss becomes so much worse than just a dashed dream.

So how important is it to get a LIM, a land information memorandum, from your local council? And what information do they actually contain beyond what you can already find online if you know where to look?

Hutt City Council environmental consents ‎divisional manager Helen Oram and LIM officer Susan Quickfall walked me through the documents.

Oram recounted some real-life horror stories about home owners who found themselves in horrible situations because they didn’t know enough about their properties when they purchased them.

The worst involved a garage, assumed to be built on the land of the homeowners who used it. But it wasn’t. It was actually built on a neighbour’s land. Neither party knew that was the case.

The latter property was eventually sold and the new owner realised the neighbour’s garage was on their land. The garage, and a section of house built over the boundary had to be removed in what was an expensive and gut-wrenching process.

But if a LIM had been ordered in the first place, aerial maps showing property boundaries would have revealed that something wasn’t quite right.

The most common issues LIMs revealed about properties, Oram and Quickfall said, were around weathertight concerns, whether there had been any erosion on a property, whether flooding had been reported there, and around whether work had been done without the necessary building or resource consents.

A LIM’s hazards section would also contain information about earthquake prone buildings and site contamination if applicable. They also contain copies of consents and plans so those can be checked against what you actually find when looking through a house.

And it also turns out any unpaid rates become the responsibility of the next owner. Good to know.

After talking through all the pitfalls a LIM could help identify, I was asked if I was put off the house hunting. I’m not.

At least these reports don’t seem as scary as they did yesterday. If only I could say the same about body corporates.

 – Stuff

Continue reading this article at the original source from Stuff.co.nz




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