Finding your dream home is an amazing feeling. There is nothing quite like walking through the front door of a house that you know is perfect for your family. That’s until you realise that your driveway actually belongs to your neighbour and it has hundreds of dollars in unpaid rates owing.
If this has happened to a loved one, you will understand the pain that can be caused by finding these issues out too late. However, this can be avoided by ordering a Land Information Memorandum (LIM) report from your local council.
This report should play a huge role in your decision whether to buy a property or not.
What is a LIM?
A LIM is a comprehensive record of all the information your local council holds regarding a property, as of the day the LIM was produced.
In a LIM you will find a summary of any potential weathertightness issues, building permits, council rates (including unpaid rates), property dimensions and any special conditions.
The LIM is an all-inclusive report that all prospective buyers should seek to acquire before making an offer on a house.
Additionally, LIM reports can be used as bargaining tools by prospective buyers to lower the asking price or inform a conditional offer, on the grounds that any issues are resolved (at the expensive of the seller) before completion of the sale.
How do I get a LIM?
LIM reports are produced upon request by your local council. Many councils, including Auckland Council, have now made requesting a LIM a simple online process. However, you are also able to obtain one in person or by post, simply by downloading the form from your local council’s website.
Although getting a LIM report should be a no-brainer, it’s important you understand the timeframes and costs of the process.
In Auckland, standard delivery time may take up to 10-working days or if urgent up to three working days. Thus, it’s important you leave yourself enough time before the submission deadline to receive and understand the report.
At the time of writing, getting an Auckland Council LIM will cost you roughly $300 for the standard 10-day delivery time, or around $400 for urgent three-day delivery. Even though getting a LIM may be a sizeable upfront cost, being equipped with as much knowledge as possible to inform your decision, is priceless!
What should I be looking for?
A LIM can be a lengthy document, but it’s important you take the time to thoroughly read through it and understand the information. If you are unsure about how to interpret the information, seek advice from your lawyer or speak to one of our experienced and friendly advisers.
Inside the LIM, you will find a complete history of the property. Including, the property’s rates history, whether it’s got a weathertightness issue, if it holds an earthquake rating, floodplain information, and zoning and boundary restrictions or inclusions.
If the house has had any additional work completed, it’s important you check to see if the previous owners gained permission and consent for the work, particularly if it was done after 1991. More importantly was the work been signed off on and a Code of Compliance Certificate issued?
It’s important to understand that, although a LIM will contain a massive amount of information, it is limited to what the council is aware of or has been applied for. If the council wasn’t notified of weathertightness issues, unconsented works or other issues, it will not be contained in the report. However, it always pays to check the actual floor plan with the latest plans on file which will let you know whether unconsented work has been carried out.
LIM reports are an extremely valuable and necessary part of the buying process. When pairing this with an accurate building inspection, from an accredited inspector, you can rest assured you will possess a wealth of knowledge regarding the house. If you are serious about buying a house, make sure you get a current LIM report, it will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
If you are unsure about any of the information contained in your LIM report and would like to discuss it with one of our experienced advisers, don’t hesitate to contact us today.
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