Building a Duplex: Tips, Prices, and Steps to Consider

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If you’re thinking of building a duplex in Australia, the average amount is anywhere between $550K to $1.3 Million, not including the costs of the land.

Know more about it…. continue reading as we share with you several tips and considerations to keep in mind as you get involved in this project now or in the future.

Costs in Australia

Melbourne$650,000 – $1 million
Canberra$550,000 – $1.1 million
Sydney$600,000 – $1.2 million

Some factors have to be considered in building duplexes as they can have a huge impact on the projects’ total costs. Let’s take a look at these variables and discuss each one:

Property’s Location

Location is a factor affecting the cost of the property in several ways in the real estate market. If you plan to build a duplex and you already own the land, then it is quite an advantage. In case you still need to buy the land where you’ll build the duplex, be prepared to pocket out some considerable amount of money. Take note that the costs of the land in the city’s high-demand and popular spots are on the prohibitive side.

Make sure you have an ideal location that will warrant you to acquire the local councils’ pertinent permits or approvals in building a duplex. As you choose the perfect spot for your duplex, keep wearing your investors’ hat and have these cues to think about:

  • Is the property’s location within the vicinity of the city or near a business centre?
  • Does it have a solid population growth?
  • What facilities and amenities are being offered in the potential neighbourhood?
  • Is the infrastructure in the location good?
  • Is the rental property demand in the area high and increasing?

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Site Attributes

You would have to consider the costs that originate from the site’s physical attributes. The site as well as the outcome of your inspection will tell you what costs are involved in the project’s site on the land or lot.

Other extra costs that may be incurred are as follows: removal of rocks, retaining walls (either timber or brick), site cut or fill, slab upgrades, and the compression of the current fill. Note that such factors are subject to the fall of the land and the state of the soil. Additional costs will also be required for the positioning and size of the lot, the width of the block, plus all other documents and requirements to fulfil the zoning policies of the local council and development approval application.

To prevent waste of time, energy, and effort as you get into it – get in touch and speak with the local council in the area before diving into the details. Check all the policies on local buildings and do your homework on what building-related documents are required. By doing this, you will avert any costly mistakes in the future.

Contractors and Architects

The types of architects and contractors who are hired affect the price of duplex homes with their rates and what they charge. Architects and contractors with higher skill levels and have more experiences in the industry often charge more, which can increase the cost of the duplex house.

Architects handle the following tasks and activities:

  • Outlining the building duplex project’s dimensions and assisting with initial budget preparations;
  • Designing floor layouts and creating a graphic design;
  • Completing all the required documentation;
  • Summarising all initial plans;
  • Checking and reviewing all the plans and getting the required permits;
  • Offering advice during the whole project’s duration.

Meanwhile, Contractors are responsible for these activities:

  • Brainstorming of ideas, providing advice, and inputs to the developer to help meet the project’s target and objectives
  • Hiring the required workers and subcontractors based on the agreements finalised;
  • Making sure that all the required materials and services are obtainable and available;
  • Assisting in acquiring the necessary work permits as well as the necessary access to utility installations.

Labour and Materials

The carefully selected materials used for the duplex project will certainly add up to the total cost of your duplex development. The quantity of the materials required is based on the project’s dimensions, and the cost will be largely dependent on your requirements and specifications. Aside from that, subcontractors, skilled personnel, and building workers all have primary influences on the construction costs, too.

In addition, some features can have an impact on your total building construction expenditures, such as:

  • Home features, including parking requirements, termite and pest protection, pollution hurdles, etc.
  • Discretionary add-ons like fencing and landscaping;
  • Electrical and water systems; and,
  • Safety provisions.

Benefits of Building a Duplex

Strong Value Growth – A duplex is considered a solid/steady investment. It has a strong value growth with a high rental yield through time, thus, providing you more profit vs. a detached residential building.

Ideal for Starters – You can begin building a duplex when you’re pushing to increase your net worth in real estate property investing. The cost of building one is significantly lesser than a house so it is less risky. Over the years, a duplex appreciates and can be sold for more than what it took to build it, thus, providing the owner a profit.

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Low Maintenance Costs – Duplexes have lower maintenance costs because they are smaller and they usually have limited exteriors. They also typically do not have yards so there are fewer expenses for landscaping. Duplexes are also generally easier to own for couples who do not have children and also for retirees. The monthly utilities are expected to be lower due to the home’s smaller size, making it more affordable to whoever’s living in it.

Affordable – If you want a home but are on a tight budget, then go for a duplex. It is a more reasonable option vs. building a house. The price of a duplex is way more inexpensive as compared to a house since it is smaller in size.

Rent Out the Duplex – As duplexes can be leased out to family members or tenants, they make for good investments. The rental earnings can increase the owner’s income, as they can also be paid off in the mortgage. Remember that the property appreciates and can be sold for a much higher amount in the future.

Estimated Prices for a Knockdown Rebuild Duplex

The demolition costs are dependent on the building’s size and location. A regular building knockdown will cost perhaps from $10K to $30K. As already mentioned in the 1st part of this article, building a duplex will amount to anywhere between the amounts of $550K and $1.3 million. If you still factor in these costs, the ‘demolition-rebuild-duplex’ cost will be somewhere between $560K to $1.3 million. Some landowners recycle the torn-down or scrap materials to recover some of their costs before building a new duplex. Recycling the materials can be a tax-deductible donation and can also speed up the removal and disposal of the old building’s remains.

Hiring a Duplex Builder

Get Referrals from Family Members and Friends

  • Ask people that you know and trust for referrals in your local area.
  • Check each of the builder’s work experiences and ask your referrals if they had issues or complaints when they’ve worked with them.
  • Obtain each of the builder’s contact data.
  • Review their past works.

Browse and study Online Reviews

  • Examine each of the builders’ websites.
  • Review the customer feedback of each builder.
  • Consider looking for negative reviews too.

Make a shortlist of your Top Three Builders

  • Ask for quotations from several builders.
  • Check their background and experiences.
  • Evaluate their estimates accordingly: design, prices, etc.

Set an Interview with the Builder

  • Assess the builder’s competence and professionalism by meeting face-to-face and engaging with them through an interview.
  • Study the presentation of plans and prices of the duplex.
  • Share and discuss your budget and vision for the project.
  • Provide the desired timelines for the construction of the duplex and agree to finalize them.

Licencing and Qualifications

  • Check the builder’s license and insurance before signing any document.
  • Check for any negative feedback like complaints or issues with the builder.
  • Evaluate their experiences taking into account the years they have in the industry.
  • Ask for references so you can contact their former clients regarding their experiences with the builder.

How can you save in hiring a Duplex-Builder?

  • Do the construction during the off-season to lower the total building cost of the duplex project.
  • Inquire about existing or future promotions and deals.
  • Construct a smaller duplex with lesser amenities.
  • Hire someone newer in the industry, as they can be more flexible.
  • Ask for a duplex to be constructed with more reasonably-priced materials so total duplex cost will be lessened.

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