The true cost of Detonating

May 19, 2017
Beth Measday

When looking at the choice of Renovating, Detonating or Relocating, what is the true cost of Detonating?

As we mentioned in our last article (, knocking your home down and starting again can be a very appealing prospect! You will normally need to have paid down your mortgage to where it is no more than 80% of the land value before a financial institution will consider this proposal. Having said that, you get to choose or create a home with the floorplan that suits your family and finishes that appeal to your tastes. You get to include the latest innovations and trends that will make your home extremely liveable and keep down your utility costs. You may also decide to subdivide to give you a smaller yard to take care of and sell off the second block to help fund the building of your new home. Whatever your reasoning, make sure you’ve done your sums before you bring in the sledge hammer!

Rebuilding on your block

Allow about $10,000 to demolish and clear your block. You will need to apply to your council to demolish your house. Before demolition, remove items that could be saleable on places like Gumtree or Buy, Swap, Sell. Someone may be very keen on your retro kitchen or pedestal sink! Ensure services such as electricity and sewerage have been disconnected before the demolition team moves in. Water can usually be left on. If asbestos is found when the property is being demolished, this will increase the cost of demolition. Some councils will also insist that all potentially habitable structures (eg sheds) are demolished to prevent someone living in them during the rebuild.

When building a new home on the original block, you will be faced with all of the usual council fees and finance fees when setting up the mortgage. Your new home will need to comply with current Council regulations and not those that were in force when the original home was built. You may have had overhead powerlines before but when you build your new home, they may need to be moved underground at considerable cost to you. Check out the trees on your block as there may be regulations in force now that will restrict how close you can now build to the trees. If you need to remove trees to facilitate the new build, make sure you apply for this early as it can take a long time to be approved. You will also be subject to the energy rating and open space regulations of today which may restrict the size and placement that you are wanting for your new home.

From our experience with many clients, you may need extra footings in your new home. When the original house is demolished, the ground in no longer compacted and deeper than standard footings may be needed.

You will also need to factor in the cost of living somewhere else while your new home is being built.

Subdividing your block

If you have decided to subdivide your block, you will be faced with extra costs. These will probably be around $20,000 to $25,000 (on top of the $10,000 to demolish). Some regulations re subdividing blocks are particular to each council and include the minimum allowable block size (usually around 300sqm), minimum frontage, and road access. To get a true picture for your block, you will need to talk to the Planning and Development section of your council. They will also be able to advise you on whether the subdivision should be Torrens Titled (completely separate blocks) or Community Titled (some area or utilities are shared). This may depend on the ability (and cost consideration) to add a second water or sewer line for the new block.

As subdividing a block is a complex process, people usually employ a surveyor and a conveyancer to ensure the process runs smoothly. The surveyor surveys the land and lodges the plan with the Lands Titles Office. The conveyancer reviews the plan and prepares and lodges documents with the Lands Titles Office explaining what is happening to the titles. They check out easements or shared areas – such as a ‘right of way’ on the property as well as submitting the relevant paper work to the power and water companies, the transport department, and if necessary, the mortgagee. As land divisions are subject to stamp duty and must be submitted for opinion stamping, conveyancers arrange this as well.

After all approvals have been given, the Lands Titles Office will issue new titles for the new blocks. The lodgement fees depend on how complicated the division is and how many new titles are required. The whole process from application to issuance of titles may take up to 6 months.

Useful information about subdividing can be found at:

If you are planning to borrow against the blocks of land, or sell one block to afford to build your new home, be aware that many financial institutions will not lend against subdivided blocks until the titles have issued.

Thanks to Narelle from ‘Perfectly Conveyed’ for helping with this article.

If you want to know more or discuss your particular situation, give Mark a call on 0403 577 287

Posted in: Upgraders / movers

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