Property Notes – Identifying land

Properly identifying the property

What property are you buying when you sign a contract for the purchase of land? You might think that you’re buying the property that you inspected – the same property that you found on the internet. In most cases you will be. But it might not necessarily be the case.

Before you sign the contract, you need to identify the property – that is, confirm the property you think you’re buying is the one covered by your contract.

When you sign up to buy real estate in NSW the land is defined by its title reference. The title reference identifies a particular piece of land. It refers to a lot in a deposited plan. The NSW government maintains a register of all the deposited plans and the name of the owner of each lot. Those plans define the legal boundaries and location of land.

Unfortunately, most people don’t talk in title references. We refer to a property by its street address – 90 Kincaid Street, Wagga Wagga – for example. One of the problems with street addresses is that a particular street can have multiple names and a particular block can have be known by multiple numbers. We’ve heard of blocks – particularly in rural areas that are known by 3 different street addresses!

Another problem is that often single street address is associated with multiple lots (distinct pieces of land with their own title references). Farms are often made up of a many lots. Sometimes the lots are on the same deposited plan, and sometimes on multiple deposited plans.

If you look at the deposited plan in the contract you will be able to see the lot that the contract relates to. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if it’s the property you inspected. If that’s the case, you can go to and enter the lot and deposited plan number (or street address) and it will show you a satellite image of the lot with the lot boundaries superimposed. This isn’t 100% accurate but can at least mean you don’t buy the house 3 doors up. If you want 100% accuracy, it’s best to get a survey done.

Your lawyer can help explain the options for identifying land.

We offer conveyancing and property law services.

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