Finding the right block of land

Knock down and rebuild or build on vacant land? Here's the lowdown on location
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Warning! There is no way to write this web story without succumbing to property clichés. But yes, the three rules in real estate – location, location, location – really do ring true. Proximity is priceless. Space is key, and you really can’t beat a million-dollar view.

How do you get this one crucial decision right? We ask builder Frank Tarulli of Thomas Archer Homes for the inside word on finding the perfect block of land to build on.

Vacant land vs knockdown/rebuild – what do you need to know?

The first thing you need to do is to review the paperwork. In Victoria, the Section 32 Vendor’s Statement will help you ascertain which services are available to the property. In the rest of the country, you will need an inspection report carried out by a licensed builder, surveyor or architect to decipher which connections will need to be hooked up. Knock down/rebuilds tend to already have basic services but you will need to factor in the cost of demolition as well as clearing any trees. Expect to pay anywhere from $12,000 to $20,000.

What needs to be considered when a dream site isn’t level?

There are generally two options for a sloping site. The first is to work with the fall of the block, designing a home with split levels or tiered floor heights. The alternative is what we call a ‘balance cut and fill’, where soil is shifted from one section of the block to build up another, achieving a flat level. Both options add to the bottom line so you need to consider if that particular block worth the extra time and money?

What the ideal size?

There is no one ideal block size. It really depends on the needs of the person or family who will live there.

And orientation?

A northern aspect will maximise the amount of natural light. If you have purchased a block with a less than ideal aspect, it will be about looking at clever ways to design the home to prioritise the available light at various times of the day. 

Any red flags to watch out for?

A big red flag is overhead power lines. Building close to power lines means cutting the power to the whole street as scaffolding goes up. Protective barriers will also need to be in place whilst building works are underway.

The other one to watch out for is a flood overlay. Areas that are prone to flooding are subject to strict building requirements that dictate the finished floor level of your house. This will add to the cost and may restrict your design.

Top tip? Chat to your builder about any design restrictions in relation to a particular block before purchasing, so you know what’s achievable before you buy. Also, sort out your financing ahead of the game with an online mortgage calculator Like Qudos Bank’s.

Views to thrill
A view to thrill (Credit: Getty Images)

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