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What is a LIM and why is it useful?

03/03/2021

When you are buying a house it’s important to have all the information about a property so you can make the best decision possible. A LIM is a really useful document that you can help you in your decision making.

A LIM (Land Information Memorandum) is a report you order from the Council. It gives you all sorts of helpful information about a property, such as building consents, what the land has been previously used for, and its zoning.

If you’re looking at buying a property you should get a LIM and make your purchase conditional on being happy with what the LIM contains. We generally make one available for all of our listings.

LIMs aren’t the easiest of documents to read, and they can be really long. So here are our top tips for making sense of a LIM.

1 Make sure you’re reading a current LIM report

Sometimes the seller will have an old LIM report lying around and they might give it to you to read. By all means look at it but make sure you order an up-to-date LIM and read that too. LIMs get out of date very quickly. Don’t rely on an old LIM.

2 Read the summary pages at the start

Potential red flags can be pretty obvious from reading the summary pages. If you see anything that seems concerning, highlight it and tab the page with a post-it.

3 Read the main part of the LIM and make notes of things that concern you

Read over the main part of the LIM a couple of times. Check these things:

  • What consents have been issued for the property?
  • Have all consents been signed off?
  • Was there a code of compliance issued?
  • Is there mention of a history of flooding?
  • Is there a wind or earthquake rating?
  • Are there any warnings?
  • Are there any notifications regarding neighbouring properties, roading or any other proposed development in the area?
  • What was the land previously used for?
  • What is the zoning?
  • Are there any unpaid rates or other Council fees?
  • Have there been any weather tightness issues reported?
  • Do any drainage pipes run underneath the property?
  • Have there been any drainage issues?

Remember to highlight anything that seems concerning to you.

4 Use what you know about the property to help you

Does the property have any of these features?

  • Swimming pool
  • Retaining wall
  • Deck
  • Fireplace
  • Conservatory
  • Sheds
  • Any recent renovations

If yes, then you need to check that the property has the right permits and consents for these features. If there are any differences between the property and the features described on the LIM, have a chat to the Council and the vendor to try and get to the bottom of these differences.

5 Ask your lawyer to review the LIM for you

This is really important. Yes, paying a lawyer can be a pain, but for many of us buying a property will be our biggest investment, so now is not the time to scrimp on getting legal advice. Your lawyer will be able to talk to you about any of the issues you’ve highlighted as well as any other issues they notice. This will give you peace of mind that you’ve done your homework on the property.

And then.....

6 Consider the implications

You need to have a serious think about whether any problems highlighted by the LIM could affect the way you use and enjoy the property, and the value of the property down the track.

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