Profiting from division: Subdividing one block into two



I subdivided a block of land from one block to two about 10 years ago. The process involved wasn’t as difficult as I had assumed and I thought I’d describe the process to help you decide if it would be something you’d like to take on. Keep in mind that the prices quoted will have grown with inflation but it gives a good breakdown of the spread of the costs. My property is in WA so the process may vary state to state and may now differ with so much time that has passed.

I went to the Local Council and purchased a copy of the plan for $22.00. The land size of 1012m2 made it perfect for subdivision. The street had other subdivisions with battleaxe blocks. I was lucky, the property was owned by my mother and I purchased the ‘front’ block from her to build and live on.

I found a display home that I liked and provided the builder with a copy of the plan which showed the existing home on the back of the block. The builder did a CAD image fitting the new house onto the block within the specifications needed. This took about a week. I needed to shave .5m off the planned house for it to fit on the block with a 4 metre wide driveway. Council permission only required for 3 metres if needed but my confidence in my mother’s driving down the long driveway led me to keep it at 4m.

I signed up for the house with the contract subject to building approval by the council (this is the norm). The Plan was taken to the Local Council by the builder for approval of the building license.

My mother and I had to have a solicitor draw up a contract with the builder giving me full authority to build a house on her land which would then be subdivided and transferred at the first opportunity. A similar contract needed to be organized with the bank as the third party. I used the same bank as my mother as they already held the title and no other institution would finance my building a home on another person’s property.

Here's how the original block looked:

Getting started:

I chose a surveyor and he contacted the builder for the CAD plan and came out and measured up. I signed  'Authority to Act' form to commence surveying. Surveyor gave options on subdividing by Building Strata Title or Survey Strata Subdivison.

Building Strata Title: Plans submitted at Local Council Office for approval of house to go on Land and subdivision to take place after home has been built and landscaping/fencing has been completed. Contact with the Council when the house is at roof height is required for the initial inspection. The process can take around 3 months from roof stage to completion of landscaping, however building can commence immediately.

Survey Strata Subdivision: Plans submitted at State Planning Commission for subdivision of Land, no house plan required. Process can take around 4-5 months. No building allowed to commence until subdivision complete and titles issued.

I chose Building Strata Subdivision so that I could commence building straight away. Costs to the surveyor were $1575 and included measurement and plans for the block, government statutory fees, valuation fee, shire inspections and lodgement fees but did not include application for new titles. The payment was for 75% after completion of on-site surveying and balance of 25% after Council inspection. We couldn't complete and lodge with the Council until the building was at roof height. The Council had already approved the building license so the plans drawn up by builders were ok for the block.

Prior to the commencement of building I needed to relocate the existing services. The breakdown was as follows:

$5365 to the Water Corporation towards the future water service to the area ie pipes down the street were originally placed to service xx amount of houses and now there is one more property. If there are another 50 added, for example, they may need to do a major upgrade and the funds go towards that. That is how the cost was explained to me.

Add to that the actual plumbing costs ($600) of adding the new sewer junction/situating the pipes to the new block. I had to pay to have the overhead electricity placed underground ($750 for the dome), as new subdivisions in WA aren't allowed to continue on the old overhead system. The existing house was on the back of the property so I had to have the gas ($960), electricity ($860) and water pipes ($577 for new tap/meter +$230 plumber to pipe down driveway) and reticulation relocated down the new driveway along the fenceline as they all ran down the middle of the property to the front.

Once this was done the building of my new home commenced. This was completed with little stress and within the alotted time of 9 months.

Viola. The finished house:

Prior to final council approval I needed to fence and landscape. I chose charcoal grey colourbond fencing.  The approval went ahead with no problems and paperwork lodged with the planning commission. Titles were issued and I paid stamp duty based on the Government Valuer’s price guide and the title was issued in my name.

All in all not a bad process and I would do it again. I hope this explanation helps those of you who are considering subdividing but had no idea how to start.

Bye for now.

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Single mum Lisa Curtin has conquered most investors’ biggest fears, going from struggling to pay her mortgages to seeing success in renovations and now claiming the ultimate prize: a portfolio that will enable her to retire at 50.

Top Suburbs : west rockhampton , tuart hill , tweed heads south , torrensville , westmead

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  • Adrien says on 30/01/2014 12:50:08 PM

    Pretty good info here as well:

  • Shiva says on 07/05/2015 10:17:38 AM

    Thank you very much for such a concise article for people looking to subdivide.

  • Lorraine says on 02/08/2016 09:40:33 AM

    Just decided to subdivide so we're in the dark! Thanks for sharing. We've been in our home for 35 years so it's a big decision! You've given me the confidence to take the first step. 😀

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