If you are considering a dual occupancy development it is important that you carefully think through the major factors that are critical to success.

1. Is a dual occupancy development the best option for your property?

If you are intending on developing your property with multiple units it is important you first establish the constraints and attributes of the site. An experienced professional should be able to tell you the likely potential for development, and what is the best way to move forward on your site. Some properties are suitable to higher density multi-unit developments well in excess of two units and this should at least be considered to ensure you get the most out of your property.

Two unit (dual occupancy) developments are the easiest and most acceptable form of development and they are therefore the easiest pathway for you moving forward. The promise of an easier & quicker process may influence your decision over a more profitable but potentially more difficult option.

Multi-unit options like our Fairfield JOINT VENTURE may be a better choice for your site
Multi-unit options like our Fairfield JOINT VENTURE may be a better choice for your site

2. What are your aims for the project? Do you already own the development site?

  • Are you simply aiming for the highest financial yield?
  • Do you want to create a family home for yourself as part of any development?
  • Are you keen on limiting your outlay?
  • Do you wish to avoid major TAX implications?
  • Do you value the existing dwelling highly?

Once you are certain a dual occupancy is the best choice for you then you need to establish clear aims for what outcome you would like to achieve.

One of the benefits of clever development is that if you get things right “you can have your cake and eat it too”. Good advice at this stage will prove invaluable in the long term. Often our clients rule out certain possibilities only to be pleasantly surprised with what we can accomplish for them by responding to current and future market conditions.

3. What form should the dual occupancy take?

There are a number of basic forms of two unit development with site constraints and your aims playing a crucial role in determining the best option for your circumstance. We should always aim for units to be more “house” like wherever possible. This is achieved where we can offer street frontages, larger sized dwellings or units offering generous rear yards. Ideally all of these attributes should be achieved.

If one of the units is earmarked as your family home then a lopsided design may suit you by favouring your dwelling or yard at the expense of the other dwelling.

Duplex SIDE by SIDE Developments offer size and frontage to both dwellings.
Duplex SIDE by SIDE Developments offer size and frontage to both dwellings.


Lineal style dual occupancies are the most common answer
Corner sites offer up opportunities to construct separate and unrelated house like units

Duplex SIDE by SIDE Developments offer size & frontage to both

4. Which way is north?

Units do not traditionally have huge gardens but should offer “smart”, light filled, north facing, well landscaped rear yards that can be more useful than larger but poorly planned house gardens. Opening out into a well-lit and flowing yard will make up for some of the size deficiency. Good design may even allow for luxuries such as a swimming pool and BBQ area..

5. Which way is north?*

This same question should be asked for a number of design issues that will ensure a better end result. Not only should we consider our shadowing implications on the neighbours but we must capture as much of the winter sun as possible inside whilst excluding the hot summer sun. Most units designed by House Design Solutions almost automatically rate 7 STARS and this will translate to a very comfortable living environment as well as lower bills and higher re-sale values.

6. What is the budget?

The budget is a big factor on any build. Unit developments generally offer profits that can alleviate budgetary pressures to some extent. We design to ensure any development is affordable and profitable. Full consideration is given to issues such as loan size and tax implications.

The choice of builder and level of finish will impact the build price and our network of skilled craftsmen can adjust their style to suite your particular needs.

The location of the project will have a direct influence on its value and will invariably affect the budget.

7. Can you profit significantly?

People profit from development in many different ways.

We firmly believe it is important that there is a large “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow” as property development is testing and not for the faint hearted. With the right advice a development should escalate your family’s wealth considerably, ideally without major disruption to your daily life.

Over the years House Design Solutions and our professional networks have helped many clients profit in a myriad of ways by being clever, leading edge and market responsive, each has their own story.

We think of the Ivanhoe Couple that created their dream home for little or no increase on their mortgage instead of extending or the Northcote Couple who wanted to invest and got much more than they bargained for. It’s worth mentioning Andrew from Cheltenham who could not afford the extension/renovation needed to lift his aging dwelling or the Seaford Couple who were nearing retirement and simply wanted to live in a comfortable home. Also there was the Moorabbin investor who thought he’d done his “dough” before our intervention turned things around or the young couple from Murrumbeena not sure which way to move forward.

There are numerous other examples of where we have empowered our clients to profit from development – including Murrumbeena Joint Venture, and Mike from Templestowe’s testimonial.

Unit development should be profitable, as a “rule of thumb” a dual occupancy, depending on the location should enable you to obtain two dwellings for not much more than the price of one. This should in most cases translate into considerable wealth creation whilst maintain your day job.

South Yarra Facade, Architecture, House Design Solutions
Often units can be designed to be luxurious and house like.



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