Understand your conveyancing searches
Use our searches breakdown below to determine what searches to expect during the conveyancing process.
Certificate of Title
This is a Certificate of Title for a property. It is an official record of the ownership of the property. It is necessary and will inform you of any mortgages, easements, caveats, covenants, leases, charges or otherwise. You must always obtain this to minimise risk.
Water Meter Reading
This search will provide a current water meter reading including the last meter reading. This is used to apportion the water use up to, and including, settlement. This is very important so that water and other adjustments can take place at settlement for any period that does not relate to you.
A rates search reveals amounts payable for the quarter or half year. It shows whether the rates have been paid up to date and whether an amount is outstanding, which will then need to be adjusted at settlement. This adjustment will ensure that each party is responsible for their own portion of rates.
Contaminated Land Search
Land contamination can occur because of poor environmental management and waste disposal practices or accidental spills in industrial, agricultural or mining activities. In some cases, land was contaminated in the past by activities now known to be hazardous. Often these cases involve chemicals which have since been banned or are now subject to stricter controls. The Environmental Management Register (EMR) and the Contaminated Land Register (CLR) are public registers which contain information about contaminated land in Queensland. The EMR also contains information on land which is, or could potentially be, contaminated because it is being used for an activity which may cause, or is otherwise known for, contamination.
Sewerage and Drainage Search
All plumbing and drainage work must comply with current legislative requirements and regulations and this search will give you information of the locality of sewerage and drainage on the property so that you know where you are able to build or whether you may need approval. It will also provide information on whether the property is affected by water mains or public sewers.
This search is self-explanatory and reveals whether or not the seller is a registered bankrupt. This is important because if the seller is bankrupt, then they may not have the capacity to sell the property to you and you may have a right to terminate the contract.
If the other party is a corporation, it is wise to do a search of the company. This will confirm that the company is not bankrupt (and has the capacity to sell the property to you) and will note the Directors of the company, so that your solicitor can ensure that the contract and transfer documents have been executed by the authorised representatives for the company.
Body Corporate Search
Generally, a body corporate certificate search contains general information about the body corporate such as lot details, plan details, current levies and insurance. It will also provide information and records relating to current and past levies, the financial position of the body corporate, details of any ongoing disputes, a history of major works undertaken, who makes what complaints, and whether the body corporate is compliant with legislation. Every Body Corporate Certificate Search is different, and the information included, and cost will vary depending on the history and nature of the Body Corporate.
This search will determine whether there has been any adjudicator orders against the body corporate in the last 6 years, and any application for an adjudication order. This is very important as the body corporate legislation and its application is broad and often very confusing. Having endless questions is a given. Being able to search for these orders will at least give you another tool for seeking answers.
Neighbourhood Disputes Search
Searching the tree register or any disputes about dividing fences allows you to ascertain the nature and extent of any current dispute and how they could affect you after settlement. For example, if an order is made that affects you as a buyer, you could be subject to the requirement to pay costs of a dividing fence rectification or even for the removal of trees.
QLD Transport & Main Roads Search
This search covers transport projects for main roads, railways, busways, public transport corridors and cycle ways. It enables you to verify whether or not the relevant department has, or may have, an interest in the property, including development plans.
Pool Safety Certificate Search
If there is a pool located on the property, this will enable you to determine whether the pool has the necessary pool safety certificate. This is important to determine that the pool meets the requisite safety standards at law. Failing to ensure there is a compliant pool could result in penalties or even a direction to rectify the issue.
If chattels or personal property is included with the sale, you may need to search the Personal Properties Securities Register (PPSR) to determine if personal property has a registered security interest against it. If it does, it may mean the property has money owing on it, or that it belongs to someone else. There are many types of searches you can do on the PPSR to find out if there is a security interest registered over personal property.
Building Approval Search
This search relates to information on the approval dates for buildings to determine if all the necessary approvals have been obtained for their construction and erection. If an approval has not been obtained, it could result in a later notice from council requiring rectification or destruction, which may be costly. Failing to obtain proper approvals could also result in the imposition of penalties to a property owner, even a new purchaser.
This search provides information on estimated flooding zones, levels and otherwise as a result of river, creek, waterway, storm tide and overland flow which could affect buildings and/or development requirements and even obtaining insurance in some cases. You will also obtain historical flooding information (if available) which could provide useful to avoid future risk of loss or damage.
Town Planning Certificate Search
This limited search certificate is given by the local council and provides details of limited planning and development activities which could affect the property.
Cultural and Heritage Search
This search discloses whether a property is entered in the Queensland Heritage Register under the Queensland Heritage Act 1992. This is important if you have concerns about the age of a building, as a heritage listing could affect the way in which you deal with, or develop, a building.
Certificate of Classification Search
Where a written request has been made, the Building Act 1975 requires the issue of this certificate where a building approval is given for any building work carried out on a property after 1 April 1976. This search will determine if such certificate was issued or not (if available).