Getting the most from your subdivision

The Western Australian Planning Commission is continually rolling out zoning changes throughout many Perth suburbs. These changes can allow property owners and developers to gain additional value from their land through subdivisions. 

If you’re wanting to subdivide your lot and keep your existing home the question isn’t “could you subdivide”, but rather “should you?” We’ve followed a lot of subdivisions over the years, with some lots selling quickly and others just sitting on the market in the same area. So, what can you do to make your land more appealing, and what do you need to consider before subdividing? 

Getting the lay of the land 

The first thing we need to think about is where the new lot will sit. In other words, where will you be splitting the property? Will the new lot sit at the front, the side or the rear of the existing house? Regardless of where you plan for it to go, you need to consider accessibility to the lot. That means we need to be able to have a useable driveway, and potentially a reversing bay.  

For homes being built behind an existing home, you may need to alter the building to get a suitable accessway. This might seem as simple as relocating an existing garage but can prove costly if it sits under the main roof, meaning the roof will need to be altered.  

Size matters 

Size of the lot – Depending on the zoning of your area, you’ll need to ensure that your subdivided site meets the minimum lot size, and that all the lots meet the average lot size. If we’re retaining the existing home, are we able to provide a decent sized lot for a new home? We need to consider council setbacks, as well as what the average street frontage looks like when carving up our blocks.  

Keeping a level head 

If you want to attract a buyer, it’s vital to ensure the land is flat. Given that a subdivided lot can be fairly small, you need to ensure that the land is as flat as possible. This provides the potential buyer with a surface they can build on right away as significant slopes or dips can make building a nightmare. It may be a small outlay on your end, but you’re less likely to attract a buyer if they need to pay for retaining and importing fill.  

Five Star Service 

When planning a subdivision, it’s important that you can get services to it. Each lot needs to have access to water, sewer, power and telecommunications. What does this mean for you as a developer, and what do you need to plan for?  

  • Water – Is there access to the main water supply? If you’re planning on green titling the new lot, you need to be sure that you can easily get to the main water line. If you’re planning to strata title the lot, will you be running a new master meter or providing submeters?  
  • Waste removal – Where is the existing sewer line? Can you run a new line to it easily? Do you need to account for rectification works to the existing home, such as tearing up concrete if you have to run through a non-habitable area?  
  • Power – As with our water and sewer services, we need to consider accessibility. Depending on where the dome is (for underground power), we may need to dig up the driveway or allow for horizontal boring to get a conduit through.  
  • Telecommunications – an existing telecommunications pit may not have the infrastructure to handle additional residences. If this is the case, provisions for upgrading the telecommunications pit will need to be made by the developer/property owner. 

The Dial Before You Dig site is a great resource for showing where your main services will run. For plumbing runs within your lot however, you’ll need to refer to your “As-Constructed” sketch. An AsCon for your lot should be available through the Water Corporation.  

While subdivision can provide property owners with an additional asset, there’s a chance that the land could sit on the market for months, if not years. This can mean additional costs from interest repayments, an additional set of land rates to pay for, or having to sell the land for far less than you expected. With the right preparation and planning, you can make your subdivision as attractive as possible to a prospective buyer. 

If you’re looking to subdivide or are chasing a piece of land in an established area, do your due diligence. If you’d like to know more about subdivisions, drop us a line at and we’ll tee up a time to chat. 

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