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What Searches Should I Conduct as a Buyer in QLD?

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Sunstate explains what searches should be conducted when buying

What Searches Should I Conduct as a Buyer in QLD?

Buying a property is a significant decision that requires thorough research and due diligence. If you’re a buyer in Queensland, Australia, it’s essential to conduct several searches to ensure you’re making an informed and secure investment. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover the key searches you should conduct as a buyer in QLD. These searches will help you gain valuable insights into the property you’re interested in, enabling you to make confident and well-informed decisions. Let’s dive in!

What Searches Should I Conduct as a Buyer in QLD?

Title Search

A title search is a crucial step in the property buying process. It provides you with information about the property’s ownership history, any encumbrances, liens, or caveats that may affect the property’s title, and any other registered interests. Conducting a title search helps ensure that the property is legally owned by the seller and that there are no legal issues that could pose problems in the future.

Title Plan

Alongside the title search, obtaining a title plan is equally important. A title plan provides a graphical representation of the property’s boundaries, dimensions, and any easements or covenants affecting the land. Reviewing the title plan ensures that the property boundaries align with your expectations, and there are no unauthorized structures or encroachments.

Contaminated Land

As a responsible buyer, it’s crucial to investigate the possibility of the property being on or near contaminated land. A contaminated land search reveals if the property’s land has been contaminated by hazardous substances or activities in the past. This information is vital to protect your health and investment and to understand any potential environmental risks associated with the property.

Main Roads

If the property you’re considering is located near or adjacent to a main road, it’s essential to conduct a main roads search. This search will provide you with information on any planned road developments or upgrades in the area, potential noise or traffic issues, and any restrictions that may impact your property’s access or use.

Rates Balance Enquiry

Before finalizing the purchase, it’s crucial to check the rates balance on the property. The rates balance enquiry will provide you with the current outstanding rates, taxes, and other charges payable on the property. This information helps you understand your financial obligations as the new property owner and ensure the previous owner (seller) has paid all their share of the obligations prior to settlement.

Special Meter Reading

To avoid any surprises with utility bills, consider requesting a special meter reading before settlement. This reading will provide accurate measurements of water, gas, and electricity usage up to the settlement date. By doing so, you can ensure that you are only responsible for the utility bills incurred during your ownership, and the conveyancer can conduct adjustments to ensure the previous owner has paid their portion upto settlement.

Land Tax

Understanding the land tax implications is essential, especially if you plan to use the property for investment purposes. The land tax search will inform you about the current land tax obligations on the property and any changes that may occur after your purchase. Liability for land tax is held agaisnt the property and not the owner. If you purchase a property with unpaid land tax which is not settled at settlement it will become the new owners debt.

Body Corporate Enquiry (if applicable)

If you are buying a unit or townhouse in a complex governed by a body corporate, conducting a body corporate enquiry is essential. This search will reveal important information about the financial health of the body corporate, any outstanding levies, past and ongoing disputes, and the rules and regulations governing the complex.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the Consequences of Skipping Property Searches?

Skipping property searches can lead to serious consequences. You might unknowingly purchase a property with legal issues, contamination problems, or unforeseen financial burdens. Proper searches help you make an informed decision, mitigating potential risks and ensuring a smooth buying process.

Are Contaminated Land Searches Required for All Properties?

While contaminated land searches are not mandatory, they are highly recommended for all properties. This search is especially crucial if the property is near industrial areas, former gas stations, or landfills. It’s better to be aware of any environmental risks before making a purchase.

Can I Perform These Searches Myself?

You can conduct some of these searches independently, but it’s advisable to seek professional help for a thorough and accurate investigation. Engaging a qualified conveyancer or property lawyer ensures that nothing is overlooked and that you have a comprehensive understanding of the property’s background.

How Long Do Property Searches Typically Take?

The duration of property searches can vary depending on factors such as the property’s location, the complexity of the search, and the availability of information. On average, property searches can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks.

Is Land Tax Applicable to Owner-Occupied Properties?

No, land tax generally applies to properties held for investment purposes or those exceeding certain value thresholds. Owner-occupied properties are usually exempt from land tax.

Can I Negotiate the Rates Balance with the Seller?

Negotiating the rates balance with the seller is possible, especially if the property has been on the market for a while or if there are certain outstanding charges that need to be addressed. However, it’s crucial to approach such negotiations carefully and consult with your legal representative.


Conducting comprehensive property searches is essential when buying real estate in Queensland. The searches, such as the title search, title plan, contaminated land, main roads, rates balance enquiry, special meter reading, land tax, and body corporate enquiry, provide valuable information that helps you make an informed decision and protect your investment. Remember to seek professional assistance, if necessary, to ensure a smooth and successful property buying experience. By taking these precautions, you can confidently invest in your dream property in QLD.


This is general advice only, for specific legal advice speak with your expert legal representative.

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