I’m sure that many people have no idea about what potential there is in their property, or how to liberate the extra cash that could be hidden in their own backyard. You probably think I’m about to talk to you about subdividing, but I’m not. At least, not exactly.
If you love where you are but you’re ready to downsize or rebuild, or if one of your kids is ready to move into their first home but can’t afford to live in the city, there is another way.
Instead of selling off part of your land for someone else to build on, why not hold on to it and stay in control of what happens next?
Taking Council rules into account, you may be able to build a second home on your site, perhaps even a third. That comes with lots of benefits. You can design and build to your liking, never lose your view, and maybe even choose who you want as your neighbours.
If you meet site coverage and height restrictions, a second and third dwelling can share the same site as your existing home. If there’s good access and it’s possible to run the power and water supply to the properties, you should be good to go.
The trick of course is to do it right.
Getting the kids on the property ladder
In conversation with a client a few months back, it came up that the housing affordability situation makes most first-home buyers feel very apprehensive. He told me that two of his three children were looking to get on the Auckland property market and that he wanted to help them. He didn’t have lots of money but did have a reasonably sized section.
We discussed building an additional two houses on his land and by doing that enable the kids to own a house pretty much for the build cost only. It turned out that he could in fact build another three, subject to obtaining Resource Consent which would not prove too difficult.
These additional houses need only cover a small footprint of 50 – 70m2, and at two stories high can provide a comfortable 3-bedroom home for a very realistic outlay.
With the land cost being neutral and without the usual developer margin, it became very clear that this was an excellent way for him and his wife to help their children get a foothold on the property ladder.
Obviously there are ownership, tax and subdivision issues to consider, but with the right approach these can be overcome and real value extracted from the land.
Smaller footprint, smarter design
Another couple we worked with recently applied the same idea. With the kids gone, the house they’d been in for more than 20-odd years had become too big and in need of significant deferred maintenance. They wanted something more appropriate to their needs, contemporary, and well-designed to better fit their lifestyle.
We were able to show them how much land they would need for themselves, and how much they could sell. We designed a house for them, and also for the other site. This enabled them to remain in control of the design quality as well as their outlook and aspect.
For this couple, selling up and buying elsewhere was the least desired option. They love their neighbourhood and have stunning views out to the ocean. A knockdown and rebuild was the most logical answer, and the suggestion to develop in their front yard made sense. If you’re going smaller and you have all that space, why not build another?
They now have a brand new, smaller footprint and smarter home that’s exactly right for them, in the place they love, and still wake up to that same magical view every morning. The second house on their land is a beautifully designed 3-bedroom home that fits the surroundings perfectly.
Unlocking the real value
If an older established property sells on the Auckland Isthmus for around $2m, you can pretty much count on the land being worth somewhere north of $1.5m.
I see many properties where old houses get removed and a very ordinary group style house gets shoehorned onto it. That effectively ruins the value of the site for at least the next 50 years. The key is to do something well designed, stylish and appropriate to context, and perhaps even consider adding a further house.
That is the way to maximise the value of your property.
As architects, we don’t just think about buildings. Before we go with you on the design journey, we want to know what you really want and, most importantly, why. It’s important to us that our clients get the best for themselves, and a result that goes beyond what they thought possible.
It may be that you are sitting on a lot of untapped value. Let us take a look around with you. We can think differently and help you consider the possibilities.
Abri Architects Limited
NZIA Registered Practice
1.6/91 Saint Georges Bay Road
Monday – Friday
8.30am to 5.30pm
“We look for new angles, a new perspective, and for what is behind the needs, both real and perceived, to find a solution you will love.”