Costing separate titles

Question from Neil updated on 1st July 2019:

I have a property in St Andrews, Hamilton which is on a 1012 m2 block of land with two four bedroom houses already on it. Both are on a single title at the moment. I was wondering how much it would cost to put these on separate titles? I am after a rough figure to see if it is worth doing it or not. I do understand that a professional team would need to get involved. Are there any things which could increase the costs of doing this?

Our expert Matthew Gilligan responded:

It’s great that you are thinking about the potential cost involved before you decide to proceed. Unfortunately, it is impossible to put a number on it without knowing all the specifics in detail, and if you haven’t developed a property before, you should seek advice from an expert in this area. It is very easy to underestimate (or completely omit) costs if you are inexperienced.

In saying that, some of the factors you need to take into account include:

• Local council requirements and potential fees (e.g. council consents, development contributions that may be payable)

• Property specifics such as position of dwellings, topography (steep sites tend to be more expensive) and access for utilities (e.g. electricity, sewerage, water)

• Legal costs for new titles Other costs that may be involved can include:

• Professionals such as surveyor, planning consultant, engineer

• Physical costs e.g. building, drain laying, retaining, driveways

• Disposal costs if there is material to remove from the site.

I recommend that you consult with a local surveyor or engineer working in land development, who will be familiar with local regulations and costs, or seek advice from council itself. Council is likely to have helpdesk or duty planners and development engineers to provide basic advice on the process to be followed and requirements for the specific address in question.

Additionally, a quantity surveyor is an excellent option for detailed costing analysis. And of course, before starting, you should consult with your tax adviser to understand any obligations or unintended consequences that may arise.

Matthew heads GRA's specialist property and asset planning division. He helps clients create optimal tax structures and build wealth through property. He has an extensive buy-to-hold property portfolio, is currently involved in over a dozen developments, and is author of two books - Property 101 and Tax Structures 101.

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