Can You Build Two Homes On One Property?

dual occupancy melbourne

When embarking on the most significant and rewarding financial outlay of your life, saving money will always be the name of the housing game. So, if you truly want to wear a winner’s smile, a duplex is a proven way to keep those hard-earned dollars in your pocket. This is a 360-degree vision when launching into the property market.

The most popular form of Dual Occupancy is where the existing home is demolished and removed, and two new dwellings usually attached are built. This type of Dual Occupancy is usually known as building a duplex.

Duplex building in Sydney is immensely popular at the moment, with hard-working Australian families realising that this is a good way to secure theirs and their children’s future financially.

While any form of Dual Occupancy will add value to a property, building a duplex is by far and away, the best option. When you build a duplex, it is usually a double-storey, and the two dwellings face the street. Having the two dwellings facing the street is an important consideration to potential future purchasers.

With the correct front façade treatment to the casual observer, the duplex appears to be a single house.

As most duplex homes are the double-storey, this allows you to build a much larger dwelling than would be possible with other forms of Dual Occupancy.

To build a four-bedroom, two-bathroom single garage double-storey duplex, the price would start from $650,000. The final price will be known once all Council conditions and the constraints of the existing lot are known. At MJS Construction Group, we offer a wide range of duplex build.

duplex homes

In it to win it

When setting your toes into the housing landscape, who doesn’t want to have their investment cake and eat it too, if handled shrewdly, a duplex offers one of the easiest and most lucrative entries into the real estate world. In the simplest of terms, a duplex – defined as two homes created on the same title – makes the most of your entire living space by following the basic idiom of a problem shared is a problem halved. In this way, a duplex doesn’t generate the complexities inherent in subdividing land. Instead, it processes both combined properties under the same roof – each boasting their own comfortable and individual living quarters, with all of the assets and necessities of everyday life.

As such, they are engaging in a duplex investment offers a wealth of immediate savings, including reduced building costs, as well as lower stamp duty, holding costs, insurance premiums and council rates.

Duplex owners also have the benefit of avoiding at-times restrictive strata fees – unless you decide to re-title as such. Of course, if you do select that option, you have the advantage of cutting back the costs involved with maintenance that come with a freehold property.

Long-term vision

On top of all those immediate advantages, duplex owners also receive the benefit of higher tax depreciation on their investment. So not only are you making the most physically of the block size you’re building or remodelling on, you’re squeezing the utmost gain out of your financial outlay. In short, a duplex engages with the future potential offered by your land in ways regular subdivided land can’t. It also strategically adds a significant upswing on the return from your investment.

That’s why duplex ownership is increasingly seen as a high-yield financial option. Owning a duplex translates in basic terms as retaining two individual homes on the one block, offering the potential of a dual-income across the single plot of increasingly valuable land. Because of this, one of the most significant financial advantages of holding a duplex is that you can also personally settle into one residence yourself while placing the other on the rental market.

This will, of course, bring in a steady income flow while halving maintenance fees and expectations. This then bounces the advantage of making your rental property far less stress to manage, as it is right next door to you.

This is also where the savings on insurance come into play, as you will only require one general policy across the two dwellings, cutting premiums down the middle. It will also provide the benefit of easing any stress you may feel ongoing over the pinch of mortgage repayments. Plus, there is the advantage of an increase in tax deductions due to various items being shared across both your living residence and the rental portion of the building.

All gain, no pain

As you will only be paying the single council rates invoice, this minimises outgoing expenditure while maximising incoming profit. 

If, however, you choose to rent out both dwellings, as many savvy duplex owners do, this will result in double the income received from your single property. Then, if the time comes when you decide to sell your duplex and consolidate your vision towards a higher position in the housing game, you will be placing two unique dwellings on the market. Both of these will likely present as cheaper than a single total freehold housing option, and therefore be more appealing to buyers seeking a more financially feasible purchase.

As a result, blocks of land featuring a duplex structure also generally achieve a comparatively higher resale value, as both residences come with their amenities such as bathroom and kitchen.

dual occupancy

There are many good reasons for building a second home on your lot without subdividing the lot. You may want a home for a parent or adult child, you may have frequent out-of-town guests, or you might want to use it as a studio or office. You could also be looking for rental income. Every municipality has its own rules for second homes and guest houses, as well as who and how many can use them. Proper planning is the most important part of building a second house on your lot since you will have a great deal of trouble selling any second structure that is not a legal structure. You may also be fined or have to tear the structure down.


  • Decide what your needs are. Guesthouses or in-law suites may only have two rooms and a bathroom, while other in-law suites or rental suites need a fully equipped kitchen. Determine if it can be attached or if it must be detached.
  • Go to your local municipal zoning department offices or check the municipal website and see if the municipality allows a second building on the lot. Some municipalities do not allow such a building or require a variance. A variance is a request to make an exception to existing zoning rules and requires you to attend a meeting of a local zoning board.
  • Check if zoning allows for a full kitchen and if the home must be attached or detached.
  • Find out the size of your lot from your lot plat map showing the shape and dimensions of your lot, which is available by stopping in at your municipal tax office or building permit department and asking for it. Check on the minimum lot size needed for a home in your zoning area and how much extra is needed for two. Some areas require you to have a lot size that is double the minimum–one for each home.
  • See if there is enough room on the lot considering where the first home is located. If the existing home is smack in the middle, you may not be able to create a large enough lot space to meet the requirements.
  • Determine if the minimum and maximum square footages permitted for the project will meet your needs. Many municipalities tie the maximum size of the second home to the size of the existing home.
  • Find out what the rear and side setbacks are for your neighbourhood. Your second home must fit inside these required distances between the home and the lot line.
  • Has an inspection done of your utilities to make sure that they will be able to cope with the additional capacity? You may be able to add additional capacity, but some municipalities require you to use the same lines and systems for both homes.
  • Consider parking and drainage when planning the project and its location. Adding paved surfaces and levelling out and providing the slight raise needed for the new house will likely call for a re-grading of the entire lot.
  • Check if there are any restrictive covenants for your property if you live in a subdivision. If you did not receive a copy at closing, they should be available from your home owner’s association, builder’s office, or local building permit office. Most covenants have some rules in regard to additions to the property or the architectural style of any structures built in the neighbourhood.
  • Pick a design that will complement your existing home. Most municipalities require this, but it is a good idea regardless of curb appeal and future resale value.

Get Approved Before You Build!

Depending on where you live, there are several different processes for this. However, most of the steps will still be the same.

Before you even begin planning, visit your town’s office in order to get all the information you need.


From there, you should also be able to find out if building more than one home is even allowed in your area. If it is, make sure to get all of the paperwork as well as guidelines and regulations. This way, when the time comes to plan for the build, you will be much more prepared.

The most important information you will want to get is the exact zoning restrictions.

This will be the complete guideline for you when the time comes to build. However, it does much more than that! These zoning restrictions will give you a good idea of what to expect when it comes to common complications.

One of the best ways to learn is to learn from the people who have tried before you. Planning for a new look for your house? Look no further!  MJS Construction Group  is here to help in your dual occupancy builder Melbourne

Your Property, But Not (Always) Your Rules

One of the biggest misconceptions is that the property you buy is yours to do with what you will.

But, just because you buy a large plot of land does not mean you can build whatever you want. There are plenty of hoops to jump through. 

This is especially evident when it comes to building multiple homes on one lot.

This does not mean, however, that you won’t be able to build multiple homes either. Once you visit your clerk’s office, you will have a better understanding of what you will be able to do. What do you do if your town doesn’t allow you to build multiple homes?

Unfortunately, you will have to follow the laws of the land when it comes to building.

Why Wouldn’t You Be Able To Build Additional Houses On Your Lot?

It can be hard to understand why the laws wouldn’t allow you to build on your property. However, there are many reasons why certain areas have such strict restrictions.

The number one reason I have found for this is that the town wants to uphold a certain image.

By being able to control who builds what and how the town can better control the way, the town looks as a whole. Most towns want to avoid their neighbourhood, becoming a “dumping ground.” We have all seen those small towns that have yards that resemble junkyards with broken-down cars and furniture spread across the lawn.

Some consider this to be another way for the local government to have more control over the people. However, it isn’t just because they worry about their town becoming an eye-sore. Officials also have major concerns when it comes to safety when multiple homes are built on one lot.

This is why it is so important to only build within your local laws.

Lot Size Regulations To Be Aware Of

While some towns do not specifically say that you cannot build multiple properties, they have put regulations in place to prevent it.

One regulation that works to do just this is plot sized regulations.

Some areas have put restrictions on the size of a lot you can purchase. This means that you can build multiple houses, but they will have to fit on a smaller lot.

While this makes it hard for multiple traditional homes to be built on one lot, it is good news for tiny houses. Tiny houses, on average, are only 150 square feet. So, if your town only allows for a half-acre lot, you still have plenty of room to build a few tiny houses.

However, you will still have to make sure that you’re following proper building guidelines in accordance with your local government. Because you are technically building on a loophole, you want to make sure that everything else is properly in place!

Regulations For Distance Between Each House On The Lot

The government has a funny way of restricting you without you even knowing it. One way that this is done is by putting limitations on the distance between homes.

For example, some towns state that houses must be at least 2 acres between them.

This means that there will be a great deal of distance between you and your neighbour.

But, how does this restrict you when it comes to building multiple houses on one lot? This means that you will not be able to build multiple homes if they are within 2 acres of each other. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t build multiple homes either. You would have to purchase a large enough lot to put dual houses on either side.

This is another example of the way the government tries to insert control while leaving loopholes wide open!

Why should you still have rules to follow if you are permitted to build how you want?

Unfortunately, there will always be zoning rules to follow, no matter how many houses you want to build. This has little to do with the government having control and more to do with safety.

Here are some of the most common rules that you will have to keep in mind when planning to build multiple houses on one lot:

Water and Power Issues

The first thing you will need to work out is how each home will be receiving water and power. Many towns will be where you will be getting your water and power from. Generally, a town will be contracted with a single power company. This is because the town will receive deals and kickbacks from the power company.

But, this also means that your options are restricted when it comes to selecting where your power comes from.

Once you know what power company you will be working with, have them out to visit your lot. You need to make sure that your lot will be able to provide power to all the homes you are planning on building.

The last thing you would want to do is overwhelm the system. This also means that you might expect to pay extra money to properly set up your lot to provide the right amount of power.

Being able to supply water to your home in a whole different story. Many people like to set up their water collection system when planning on building multiple homes. But did you know that collecting rain and lake water privately is illegal in some states?

This is done to ensure the safety of the people

So, if you are not able to collect your water, what other options do you have? Much like the power company, you might not have options when it comes to water in your town. It would be a good idea to work with your town when it comes to planning how you will provide water to each house. 

At MJS Construction Group, we have the best dual occupancy selection to make your house a dream come true.

Work With Your Town – Not Against It!

I admit that have government restrictions is frustrating. Especially when you are just trying to do what you want with your property.

However, sometimes it is easier to go with the flow instead of fighting the current.

Your town may be much more open to the idea of multiple homes than you think. Working with your town is the way to go.

This is especially true since you will be filing all of your permits and paperwork with your local office. Not only will they be able to guide you when it comes to power and water, but they can also help to ensure that your properties are safe and legal.

The process of getting a variance is not guaranteed. The opinions of neighbours are heard at the request meeting on both sides. The vote of the zoning board sometimes called the zoning board of appeals can be arbitrary and is hard to reverse in court. You should consult with a local zoning expert or attorney before your meeting for the best chance at success.

Building multiple houses on one lot isn’t such a new idea.

Way back in the day, families used to buy one large lot for their entire family. As members got older and started their own families, they would build another house on their parent’s lot. This is why you see old traditional homes that look like a little “colony.”

As the country got older, more and more restrictions were in place. And while at times it can feel restraining, other times it can work in your favour.

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