Can You Sell A Duplex Separately?

house dual occupancy

Everyone loves a great deal, which is why home builders may be tempted by the idea of getting two homes for the price of one.

Although it costs more to build a duplex than a single freestanding house, it’s usually cheaper than building two houses, and because both dwellings are on the same block, the land costs less than two separate lots.

Duplex projects have the potential for significant profits, but considering the hidden costs, determining whether a duplex is a good investment depends on several factors and diligent number crunching. At MJS Construction Group, we offer a wide range of duplex build.

What Is A Duplex?

A duplex is a residential building containing two homes that share a common central wall. The homes will either exist on one land title and be owned and sold together or exist on separate titles and be individually owned and sold.

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Owners must agree to a building insurance policy that covers both sides of a duplex. A body corporate is not usually needed, although this depends on the duplex’s age and jurisdiction. You should contact the relevant authority in your state or territory for further details. A duplex is a single residential building with two dwellings under one roof and a dividing wall between.  Also known as a dual occupancy, each side is an entirely separate home, with its entrance, amenities and yard.

Duplexes are sometimes on one title, meaning both halves must be sold together. If a duplex is subdivided into two separate titles, each home can be sold separately.

What is the difference between a duplex and a house?

A house is different from a duplex because it only contains one dwelling under a single roof, rather than two dwellings under a single roof. The two dwellings share one common wall in a duplex but are entirely separate entities with entrances and amenities. Planning for a new look for your house? Look no further!  MJS Construction Group  is here to help in your dual occupancy builder Melbourne

Can You Own Half A Duplex?

Yes, you can – although it depends on whether the two dwellings are on the same title or different titles. You will only be able to buy one half of the duplex that has been subdivided into separate titles.

A Duplex Gives You Flexibility.

Having two properties side by side gives you a range of options.

  • You can live on one side and have family members live next door. This could be the best choice if you have older parents or grown children who want to live nearby.
  • You can rent out one side to generate income and live on the other side or rent out both and receive two rental revenues from the property.
  • You could sell both sides of the duplex.

If developing on a block of land, a duplex opens up a range of possibilities that you won’t get from building a single occupancy home. For investors, the land cost will be split between the two houses.

Legal And Regulatory Considerations

A duplex can be on one title or two titles. Having two titles will make it possible to sell each side as a separate home – or keep one and sell one if that’s what you choose to do. Although there will be additional costs for subdividing, the benefits will make it worthwhile by selling the residences as separate properties.

Local councils will have different rules for approving duplex developments. Zoning is also an essential factor determining whether dual occupancy is an option in a particular area. Councils will have requirements for factors such as the width of the block frontage, block dimensions, site orientation, house footprint coverage, and driveway crossovers. The approval process can be complex, so it’s essential to work with an architect or builder who will manage the council approval process. Silverline Homes can assist you with this if needed.

Options For Developing A Duplex

If you have a block of land or a single occupancy dwelling that you plan to tear down, an architect can design the project and then work with a town planner to get council approval.

At Silverline Homes, we work with many clients who have completed and approved plans from which we build. This includes duplexes and other forms of multiple occupancy developments.

Suppose you have a block of land or dwelling and need advice and consulting. In that case, Silverline Homes can provide the complete service, from determining feasibility, getting the project design, managing the council approval process, and building the dual occupancy residence.

Two Types of Subdivision

A Torrens title subdivision is usually the best because it often attracts the highest end value and sale price. However, the Torrens title’s disadvantage is that sometimes you can’t make it work for dual occupancy, and you need to go to the strata subdivision provisions.

The second disadvantage is that a Torrens title subdivision has more sewer expenses than what we call sewer headworks. You’re going to have your connection point coming into an actual lot of land. So it can be more expensive in terms of site costs and can add $20,000 to $50,000. I remember I was quoted on one of mine, and I decided to switch to a strata subdivision at the last minute. That strata subdivision I was able to pull off with about only $10,000 worth of site works instead of $50,000.

The disadvantage of a strata title, of course, is that you have some meeting once a year with your neighbour. If it’s just a 1 into 2 lot subdivision which we’re talking about for dual occupancy, it’s effortless and undoubtedly worth your time.

Understand The Steps For Duplex Development

Here is a brief list of the common steps to follow for developing a duplex:

  • Seek initial pre-approval for financing.
  • Learn about the local environmental plan and the development control plan of the local council.
  • Conduct a project feasibility study before committing yourself to the project to ensure the financial benefit with the best outcome. 
  • Appoint an architect of your choice or have Silverline Homes undertake the process on your behalf to go through the council zoning and planning regulations to ensure that there are no covenants on the land title or council restrictions that could hinder the project.
  • Once you have met the town planning compliance requirements, have Silverline Homes look at the initial proposed plans for general feedback to ensure all parties are on the same page to achieve a good design to fits your goals.
  • Secure the final loan approval for duplex development.
  • Once the town planning permit has been obtained for the product, Silverline Homes can liaise to arrange all building documentation, reports, service providers permit and obtain the building permit, which will ease any stress attached to go through such a detailed process.    
  • Start duplex construction.
  • Apply for a subdivision certificate.

What Are the Benefits?

When a duplex development is complete, the value added to the property is the biggest attraction for potential investors. Two rental incomes from a single asset entice investors. But the real gold in a duplex investment is mainly in the equity. Building a duplex creates equity and, at the same time, a higher rental return.

What Are the Drawbacks of Building a Duplex?

The very first drawback is finding the right piece of land to build your duplex. Duplexes generally require a specific size block and must have appropriate zoning to subdivide the property into two separate lots. Landowners are very aware of the potential their land holds, and because of this, may require higher premiums to purchase the land. In some cases, the premium is so high that it might not even be worth building a duplex as you may not be able to bring in enough income to cover the costs.

Another drawback of a duplex development is that subdivision of a property is not straightforward or streamlined. It can cost thousands of dollars in consulting fees to town planners and is not necessarily a task you can do all by yourself. However, there are blocks with existing approval that can help minimise the hassle, but the cost of land on these blocks will undoubtedly reflect that convenience. 

The lower cost for land without these existing approvals might end up costing you the same (or even more) as purchasing and building on a block that already has all the needed approvals. When you take into account your holding costs, you could potentially save yourself thousands of dollars and time purchasing land on a block that already has approval. Design, approval, and construction can often take over a year, and holding costs can include loan repayments, council rates and land taxes. Finding the right duplex build is an important decision. Check out our range of the best home design constructions at MJS Construction Group.

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Reasons To Build A Duplex


Do you want help with your mortgage? If so, you should consider investing in a duplex.

A duplex can create equity quickly. However, this will vary from situation to situation.

For example, the land cost to build the duplex and subdivision and council fees could cost you about $600,000. After the duplex is built and subdivided, you can sell each of the homes for $350,000 and earn $100,000 within 12-18 months.

A duplex can also generate a high rate of return. For instance, you can rent out each home for $350-$400 a week and achieve a high return of 6.1% to 7% per annum. You could also consider renting out just one side of the duplex to a tenant while you live in the other, and you’ll still achieve an ongoing high-interest return.

The extra income you earn from selling or renting out the duplex can be used to pay off your mortgage quicker.


With a duplex, you can live in one home and have elderly relatives live in the other. If your ageing parents or grandparents live right next to you, you can quickly go to them and give them the care and support they need. This is especially important if they have health issues. You can help each other out with cooking, chores, and providing much-needed company.

What’s more, elderly relatives who live next door can avoid or delay having to go to a retirement village or nursing home. It’s also cheaper than paying for another house, unit, or retirement village, allowing them to save some money.

On the other hand, if you’ve got young children and don’t have the time to always take care of them or you can’t afford to pay for childcare, having grandparents live close by is beneficial. They can provide unpaid care for your children while you work, shop, or go out for entertainment. They can also be a good company for your children.


Fancy being a landlord? You can get started by building a duplex, living on one side, and renting out the other. You’ll learn about landlord-tenant laws in your state, customising a lease, collecting rent, and screening potential tenants. Plus, if you live next to your rental property, you can see it every day, check for any repairs that need to be made, and ensure your tenants behave properly.

On the other hand, you can rent out both sides of the duplex and pick up two income revenues. The rental return rate can make for positive cash flow from the start.

What’s more, the potential to have no strata title structure means you can reduce holding costs and increase your rental return, as well as gain more control over the expenditure of both homes.


You can earn more money renting out one or both of your dwellings through AirBnB (a vacation rental site) than if you rented it out on a traditional one-year lease. This is because you can charge more for vacation rentals, which are short-term stays. People are also willing to pay more for a shorter stay than for a more extended stay. You can expect to earn about double what you would’ve made with a standard lease.

Keep in mind that renting through Airbnb is subject to council restrictions, so get in contact with your local council first to see your options.

So if you need extra income, AirBnB provides self-regulating (through guest and host reviews), a free-market solution for collecting short-term market-rate rents. Post an ad on Airbnb (include quality photos and lots of details), and when you find a tenant, they’ll pay you, the host, for accommodation.

If the duplex is furnished well and situated close to all local amenities, you can rent it out for a high price per night or week. You can also rent out individual rooms or a spare room in the home you live in for a lower price. To ensure you get bookings, however, your prices shouldn’t be higher than other AirBnB duplexes.

Additional Benefits 

When you build a duplex, you do not have to use both sides of the unit as rental properties. Many people choose to live on one side of the unit and use the other side to bring in rental income or even a space to keep family members close. The cash flow generated by a tenant is in addition to the affordability advantage you have by inhabiting the other side of the duplex. The cash generated from the tenant can help you take care of various expenses.

So what I would suggest is that you go ahead, if you haven’t already, and grab one of our guides on achieving council approval, which includes in there a bunch of tips and tricks on dual occupancies if you’re thinking about that or maybe thinking about subdivision or granny flats and it goes through that.

So Can A Dual Occupancy Be Sold Separately? 

The answer is yes. However, there are some things that we need to jump through for you, and it’s not always the case. It depends very much on the lot size, on your particular local government area, and the plans related to that in terms of the town planning law.

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