I want to subdivide but how do I avoid costly mistakes?

Hi Margaret,

I am from Sydney and I have a property that is one acre, well it's around 4,375 square metres.

Originally it was all farm land, but there's been a new development and now I have one of the only acres left. Now have homes all around me and my land has roads at the back and front of me.

I don't think there is much else that I can do to my acre. I would like to subdivide it and I need to do it the right way so I don't make any costly errors.

I gave spoken with local council and the lot sizes I am allowed to do is 550 square metres.

If you could push me in the right direction I would really be grateful.




Hi Shane

It sounds like you have your one acre available to subdivide into around eight lots, depending upon what your council will allow. That should be fairly straightforward, though not without cost.

You must be aware that all councils will have different rules, regulations and processes even though they all fall under the one state government planning department rules.  It's important that you know and understand all of the requirements before you get started.

You should start by going to your local council website and looking up the town plan.  Here you will find the minimum lot size according to the incline of the land, and you can work out how many you can do.

After this it would be wise to contract a local town planner who should be able to have the required surveys, site and engineering plans drawn up for you.  While there is a cost involved in having a town planner involved, it can save you a lot of time and effort and often the risk of getting rejected after you've spent a lot of money.  Town planners usually know the rules intimately, and many have previously worked for council, so they are in the best position to develop a proposal with the greatest chances of success.

You will incur a large amount of cost before you even get to the point where these could be sold. These include, but are not limited to: roads (if required), drainage and sewerage, connection of services, access driveways, cutting and levelling, retaining walls, tree removal and more.  On top of this will be planner fees, council contributions, application fees, drafting fees, engineers costs and surveys.  You will need to fund all of these costs yourself, as until the final approval is in place and a 'construction certificate' is issued, you won't be able to sell them. 

My advice is to make very sure that someone has adequately estimated these costs and that you can afford to meet them before you get started, or you may find yourself in a situation where you run out of money before you are done.

Another option is to either sell to a developer before you even begin, or do the initial work in designing the subdivision but place the acre on the market as a 'pre DA approved' lot. This may then get you a bit more money if you can show the potential subdivision allowed.



Margaret Lomas is a best-selling author and writes and hosts the popular 'Property Success With Margaret Lomas' and heads up the panel on 'Your Money, Your Call', both on Sky News.

She is the founder of Destiny.

Have a property question? Ask Margaret!


Margaret Lomas

Margaret Lomas

Margaret Lomas is a best-selling author and writes and hosts the popular Property Success With Margaret Lomas and Your Money, Your Call, both on Sky News. She is the founder of Destiny.

Community Discussion

Be the first one to comment on this article
What would you like to say about this project?