How to pick the perfect block to subdivide

Subdividing land is a fairly common occurrence in South Australia, and a process we deal with often here at Eastern Conveyancing. Despite its frequency, the process of subdividing land is more complicated than you might think.

When first thinking about subdividing land, it is important that you understand the different types of property types that apply in South Australia, and the different restrictions they may have. You can read our past blog on the types of titles here.

In conjunction with a surveyor, a conveyancer will be able to help you determine the planning and development requirements, draft plans, lodge applications and other paperwork, monitor the progress of the application and more generally just help you understand how the process works. Every council has its own set of regulations to abide by, so it’s best to consult with a professional to ensure the blocks you are looking at meet all the criteria.

So with this in mind, how do we pick a winner?

  1. Know your zone

Like we’ve already mentioned, every council across the state has different rules and regulations in place, and in some areas, subdivision isn’t even an option. Make sure to do your research and ensure you’re purchasing in an area where subdivision is possible. You can head to the PlanSA and SA Government websites for some preliminary research, but we always suggest consulting with a professional so you don’t get caught out with a block that isn’t in line with the regulations.

  1. Go for a corner block

Corner blocks are hot property for developers and it’s easy to see why. If you’re just looking to split the block into two, each allotment will have plenty of street frontage and room for access when you pick a corner block.

  1. Flat is best

While you certainly can subdivide blocks with an incline, in many situations you’ll have more success with a block that is flat, or as close to it as possible. One reason for this is that building on an incline can be more expensive, due to the need for non-standard foundations, earthworks required to level out the land, or to put in retaining walls to stabilise the slope.

You may also find that some councils have greater size requirements for blocks that are sloping, as there may be less usable area or restricted access to parts of the block.

  1. Look for an 800sqm lot

Generally speaking, properties that are over 800sqm in size will be eligible for subdivision. At this size, you can generally allow for two well-sized blocks with ample space for things like driveways.

We might sound repetitive now, but make sure you check with your local council or surveyor about this before purchasing an 800sqm block because the rules are different everywhere!

  1. Get a building inspection

If you’re buying a block of land that already has an establishment on it, and you plan on keeping that establishment after you subdivide, make sure you do a building inspection. Like when buying any house, a building inspection is important to ensure the structure is sound and up to code. Or if it’s not, it should highlight any glaring issues and give you a rough indication of what kind of expenses you might be up for post settlement.

  1. Think about the utilities!

When subdividing a piece of land, make sure you also keep in mind the cost of setting up all the required utilities. Water and sewerage must be connected, and you should also consider things like electricity, phone and NBN. Splitting utilities across two lots can be more difficult (and expensive) than you might think, so make sure you get some advice on this before you purchase!

  1. Speak to the professionals

There really is no replacement for a professional surveyor and conveyancer when it comes to subdividing land. They’ll have experience with all the different councils, know the requirements inside and out, and have the steps in place to ensure the entire process runs smoothly. If you think you’re keen to start thinking about subdividing land, get in touch with us today for a discussion on where to start.