Subdividing your block: What you need to know

Important factors to consider before you start a townhouse or multi-unit subdivision.

If you own a significant piece of land or are looking at purchasing a new block as an investment, subdividing to create wealth with townhouse developments (or multi-unit developments) is a lucrative option. Building new dwellings on subdivided land and therefore investing in townhouses or units can create a valuable (and reliable) new income stream. Whether it’s in the form of rent obtained from the tenants inhabiting each new abode, or the sale of one or more dwellings to make a profit, subdividing is a sure-fire way to maximise the residential value of your parcel of land.

While there are many great reasons to subdivide a block (not least of which is the extra income or profit), there are several important things to consider before you commit to the project.

If you’re asking yourself questions such as how to start a townhouse development, how to develop my block, or when developing my property, how long does it take to build townhouses, then you would benefit from the expertise of experienced townhouse developers. Professional guidance will have you well-placed to make the most informed investment from the get-go, so ensure you always consult the industry pros before making a go of it on your own.

The aim of this article, however, is to provide you with the broad steps required to create wealth with subdivisions, whether through townhouses or multiple units, so you know how to correctly approach a subdivision project from the get-go.

First things first, determine the viability of your parcel of land

The first step is to assess the feasibility for a townhouse development on your own block of land, or one you’re looking at purchasing. Doing this early on will save you a lot of time and energy in the long run, particularly if your block is not a viable candidate for a subdivision development.

This could certainly be a possibility as not all blocks are suitable for subdivision, so it’s essential that you do your homework before you make plans for an existing block, or put down an offer to purchase a new one. The best way to do this is to seek expert advice from an experienced builder. If you’re wondering about things such as how many units or townhouses can I fit on a block, or what size townhouses can I fit on my block? These questions can all be answered by experienced local eastern suburbs builders in Melbourne whose industry expertise can help you maximise your investment from day one.

Who can build my unit development?

If you choose a builder that specialises in multi-unit or townhouse development, they will be able to guide you through the possibilities for your site. Experienced builders have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to planning, permits and construction phases and will be invaluable in the early stages of development, as well as during the build phase. They will consider factors such as the location, size, slope and shape of your block, as well as the location of street trees and services (sewer lines, water and power etc.) to answer important questions such as those mentioned in the previous paragraph, and others that include:

  • How to get planning approval for my block of land?
  • Which design options will best suit my site?
  • Is there a demand for my proposed type of dwelling?
  • How high can my townhouses be?
  • Are there limits to the number of levels my development can be?
  • How much will a subdivision cost?
  • What do townhouses sell for?
  • Will a subdivision be profitable?
  • Are there covenants on my land title?
  • Who can manage my unit development?
  • Are there design guidelines in my area?

Most importantly, a reputable builder will be familiar with Council zoning rules in your particular municipality. The rules and regulations about subdividing land vary between Councils and include things such as design guidelines, which outline the character requirements involved in residential development within your area, or the area in which you are looking to purchase. These rules will ultimately dictate what you can – or can’t – build on your site, and even influence how it looks.

It’s recommended that you also do your own research early on in the process to ensure you’re clear on the scope of opportunity available when it comes to subdividing your block. This will give you the foundation for planning your approach to the rest of the project, and will point you towards the expertise required for the development.

Employing a professional multi-unit or townhouse development builder who knows your Council’s zoning rules will provide you with full peace of mind and help you avoid potential pitfalls that could cost you time and money further on in your project journey. Once zoning is known, your builder can obtain planning approval on your behalf, streamlining the process with their own expertise and experience. This will minimise the risk of delays caused by incorrect paperwork or human error due to a lack of understanding documentation.

There are a number of eastern suburbs builders in Melbourne that are available to hire when it comes to getting the ball rolling on your subdivision project. And maximising returns on unit developments is largely dependent on the quality of the team you assemble, so make sure you take the time to vet prospective builders and development managers before they sign on the dotted line. When you begin with a strong and capable team who are united around the same vision from day one, the process itself will prove to be a lot smoother.

When to engage a multi-unit developer for your subdivision

If you’re planning to purchase a block of land for the specific purpose of subdividing, it’s critical that you seek expert advice on its subdivision potential before you buy. The last thing you want is to invest in a block that’s not fit for the intended purpose. If you already own a parcel of land, engage a multi-unit developer before you begin serious planning. By knowing your options early on, you’ll be better placed to plan and execute a successful subdivision in the future.

Subdividing in Melbourne’s east? 

Whether you’re one of a number of new developers in Australia or an experienced developer, Costas Constructions has been helping clients with their eastern suburbs townhouse developments (and multi-unit developments) in Melbourne since 1998, and have the skills and experience to help you, too. We have strong connections with local councils, plus an in-depth knowledge of zoning regulations for our key services areas.

These include, but aren’t limited to:

Manningham City Council
Booroondara City Council
Whitehorse City Council
Maroondah City Council
Monash City Council
Knox City Council

Get in touch to talk to us about your subdivision project. Whether you’re looking to develop in the inner eastern suburbs of Melbourne such as Ashburton, Burwood and Ashwood or the outer suburbs such as Kilsyth, Croydon or Chirnside Park, we can provide a full property development service, from feasibility, property purchase, through to design, construction and subdivision.