From: Vicki .

I welcome your thoughts on this query...
The Sydney home I live in is on a large block and just 50m2 short of being able to be subdivided. Block of land next door (1100m2 very overgrown & bushy) is up for sale for $360k (not negot) with battle axe access along my boundary.

My options as I see them:
1) buy land next door to gain extra 50m2 to subdivide my block then build 2 houses (maybe even 3 as next door block is large)

2) wait for someone to buy land next door and do a deal for extra land I require and then subdivide.

I have about 450k equity in my home to borrow against to develop the land but have to weigh up the time/effort involved if I take on land next door also. Buying something already built as an IP seems a little easier than taking on the task above.

Am I not seeing the wood for the trees?
Last edited by a moderator:
Reply: 1
From: Les .

G'day OHW,

Just a few thoughts - I've not done this kind of thing (yet), but I hope some ideas might assist -

Option 1 (with a few changes) sounds better - you have no control the other way.

Since you have already "sussed out" the idea of building a rental, you are probably already aware of the benefits you would gain by sub-dividing your current block. I would be tempted to think that your rental would be positive geared from day one - correct?

Following thoughts assume that the $360k price tag for next door is a good price - over to you on that one.

Option 1a:- Buy next door, re-survey the next door block to "give" you another 50m2, then resell next door, then do your sub-division. If the driveway is long enough and wide enough, you might only need a strip of 1 metre wide "added" to your property. (Would this mean shifting a fence???? Cost??)

Option 1b:- Buy next door, use next door's battleaxe driveway as "common ground" so you then might not need to add 50m2 to your current property. Then build on both blocks as desired.

Note - I don't KNOW that this can be done (from a legal perspective) - it is just a thought!!

Another possibility might be to approach the vendor to see if you can "make him an offer he can't refuse" re buying 1 metre of land from him. You might be paying "over the norm" to do this, but what is it worth to you if it allows you to subdivide?

The final caveat - I don't know Sydney prices or Council bylaws. Should you go with either 1a or 1b, do you have enough borrowing capacity to hold the extra block AND allow the building of one, two or three houses?? This MIGHT work if they are built one at a time, then tenanted, revalued, borrowed against, (SOLD is also an option ;^) then build #2, and so on ...

Just be sure the numbers work for you before jumping in, and have an exit strategy worked out in case things go sour.

Good luck with this deal - I hope others will also add to (and/or disagree with) these ideas so we can all learn.


Last edited by a moderator:
Reply: 1.1
From: Sergey Golovin

May be you can buy next-door block, subdivide it, demolish the whole lot, and build 4 brand new villas/townhouses. Keep one for your self and sell the rest of'm.

Advantages - you are in total control, will make money providing everything is OK.
Disadvantages - it might take long time to subdivide and build it. Not so much from the building perspective but from Council (they will drown you in all paperwork, specially with all current environmental/pollution and construction laws, etc).
You probably will need construction loan, etc. etc.

May be you can do (buy it) on your own and build it in partnership with other investors or developers or building co. You are still in control but it takes all those problems from your shoulders and onto someone else's (someone who is more experienced).

Last edited by a moderator:
Reply: 1.1.1
From: See Change

HI On her Way

We have done what you are planning , in terms of subdividing our home block into two.

One thing to be aware of , is that Councils WILL bend rules to a degree, in particular if you are nice to them . On our subdivision one measurement was short one meter ( width )of that specified by the council and they didn't question it . I know of another block which is for sale with "council approval " for Subdivision . I haven't looked at it in detail , but from my limited knolwedige that subdivision is some 400M2 short of the total required size , and this is in a very anti development area.

The first thing I'd do is talk to the council and not just the person at the front desk. Talk to people within the appropriate department and also talk to your local counsellors . Also see a surveyor who works in your area ( could be first move ). Some councils are under a lot of political pressure to approve subdivisions.

happy developing see change
Last edited by a moderator:
From: See Change

By the way

Our subdivision has been quite profitable and I would do it again. It was at times stressful, part of the reason being that we didn't know any one who had done it before,to get advise from so at times it was a step learning curve.

see change
Last edited by a moderator:
From: Anonymous


Subdivisions are a contentious issue for any council. They are being pressured simultaneously by pro and anti development groups. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place.

It would seem to me we/govt's have 4 choices a) increased urban density, b) increased urban sprawl, c) stop breeding and importing people, d) a combination of the above. Councils vassilate between a and b; depending on which stance they feel will get them into the least trouble and so affect their re-election prospects.

Agree with See Change that you must determine where the pendulum has swung to with the council you are dealing with (not the person behind the counter)and always be nice to them. Petty bureaucrats with power over your development can be costly to your project.

Recent legal issues (Orange NSW) of a council employee being sued by a developer for inappropriate advice, has had flow on effects. A development proposal to a Wollongong (Gee Cee's turf) council staff member netted this result, "I can't advise you on what council might deem appropriate, go study the guidelines and make your submission." Having studied the guidelines and asked for clarification I found this to be very frustrating.

The dollars at the end of the project will offset all the hassles though :)
Last edited by a moderator: