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¿ DECIDING ON THE BEST PLAN
After purchasing the property, which
consisted of two units – one rather dated
that required some cosmetic work, and
the second that boasted a new kitchen
and large pergola at the rear – the couple
set about finding the right development
strategy for the vacant land at the rear of
“When we purchased the second
property, which had two existing units,
we wanted to build something down the
back and originally went to a display
home option,” Stephen says.
“We thought this would be cheaper
than a regular private builder.
“But because they had to build
something from their existing plans, they
only found one that would fit our site – a
three-bedroom house with double garage
and two bathrooms.
“They quoted on this and came
back with a cost of $300,000 to build
“We thought that was a very expensive
option and because it wasn’t a bare
block with normal access, it became
quite inconvenient for the builder
“It was at this point we thought we
would try to find another option and
get some advice on how to tackle this
problem,” he says.
¿ ADVICE FROM THE EXPERTS
The couple had seen a local developer
building homes and units in their area
over a number of years and decided to
contact him for some advice.
“Stephen called him and asked if we
could just pay him money to have a chat.
He couldn’t believe we wanted to know
what he did and how he did it.
“He said ‘I’ve been doing this for 25
years and no one has ever asked me how
I do what I do’. I think he’s up to about
350 properties now that he’s built.”
When the couple met with the
developer, who they now consider their
mentor, they sat down to discuss the
best options for the land at the rear of
“As we spoke of the property, he
said ‘oh my goodness, this was my
first property when I was 19’. He knew
the property back to front! That was
“He could recall the name of the colour
he’d used for the bench tops when he
built it and that the cornices in the
kitchen were his aunty’s that he got for
free to try and keep the costs down.
“We were telling him about the property
and how a company had quoted $300,000
to build a single dwelling.
“We showed him what the display
home company had proposed and he
said we should be able to get two units
on the back, not a three-bedroom house.
“He said because it was an area with
lots of units it would also be more
desirable in the market.
“He pretty much drew some plans on
a serviette and handed it to us and said
‘you can do it like this. I reckon give that
“He said ‘I’ll get you my cousin who is a
builder to do it for you as he can build it
“These guys have been working and
developing together for years and
because they build so much they get
things at a discount.
“We commissioned his cousin to build
it for us and looking at it today, it’s pretty
much exactly the design the developer
had drawn on the serviette.”
¿ GETTING PLANS DRAWN UP
“I was scrolling through Facebook one
day and I noticed a friend of mine had
put a status up saying ‘just completed
my first DA’ (development application)
and I private messaged her and asked
lots of questions.
“She replied saying she had just
finished her draftsman’s course so we
arranged to meet up.
“Because she was still new to the
profession we got her services for a
discounted price as well. She wanted to
gain some experience, so it worked out
well for her and for us.
“She knew the council regulations and
boundary requirements and charged us
a much cheaper rate to do the plans.”
Prep starts for slab
All up the costing will be $300,000
including new driveway, air conditioners,
kitchens and landscaping.
Once built, the couple plans to sell the
properties and hopes to achieve:
Unit 1: original unit in unrenovated state
currently rented at $265 per week.
Unit 2: original unit in semi-renovated
state, currently main residence
Unit 3: newly built: two-bedroom, one-
bathroom, single garage
Unit 4: newly built: two-bedroom, one-
bathroom, double garage
New loan: including
miscellaneous costs and
council contributions of
Real estate costs:
DEVELOPMENT SERIES // PART 2
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