duplex melbourne

Are you researching how to undertake a duplex Melbourne development project?

If that’s the case, then you’re in the right place.

Here at Little Fish, we specialise in duplex townhouse developments in Melbourne. We manage these projects day in, and day out.

Our clients have a decent profit and/or two quality townhouses.

What you can do with your duplex homes is entirely up to you. You can sell one or both, live in one, and rent the other out.

You wind up with options at the end of a project like this, and each option can lead to profit.

But a residential development project is a serious undertaking. Knowledge is power in this game, and it is also money.

Going in blind to something like this is a surefire way to crash and burn. We know – we’ve seen it happen.

People get cocky and start guessing and guesstimating. When they do this, they lose out.

You need to know how the entire game works, inside and out.

If your figures and projections aren’t accurate, you can be out thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars.

That’s why partnering with a company like Little Fish can be worth it. We manage the entire development process, end-to-end. You can stay as connected or as detached as you like.

But if you want to manage it yourself, you must know what is what. That’s why we’ve prepared this list of tips for a duplex in Melbourne.

duplex developers melbourne

Now, a word about this article. This is designed to be quick, small tips that you can further dig into if you want to know more.

It is a general overview. It’s worth having a look through our blog list for more details.

And another reminder – knowledge is power and money here. You need to be armed with all the information required to be successful.

So don’t view research and reading as a waste of time. It’s as much an investment as your capital.

Ready? Let’s get into it.

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1. Pre-purchase, Site identification and Due Diligence

Getting ready to purchase a site is an essential tip. Patience is critical here, as is discipline. Don’t get emotionally attached to a site. Take your time and find the right one. You’ll need to understand how much land you need for 2 and 3 townhouses.

Once you’ve found that perfect site, do your proper due diligence. Consider every outcome. The wrong location can mean an absolute nightmare.

2. Zoning

Know your planning zones. Know how the local government in your chosen area manages their zones. Choose a great town planner who knows their stuff.

residential zones

3. Avoid Sites with Plans and Permits

Never buy a site that comes with plans and permits, or at least tread very carefully if you do. You could be inheriting someone else’s problems.

plans and permits tips

4. Consider Essential Services

You can’t have housing without essentials—water, sewerage, power, internet, gas. If any access points are awkward, you could have a significant headache.

Be prepared if any of these services require extra work.

5. Site Orientation

Your sites orientation matters. Homeowners don’t want to live in darkness. Avoid sites that will be shrouded in shadows. Click here for some tips for finding quality development sites.

property development for beginners POS

6. Keep Your Emotions Out of It

We keep coming back to this, but it is essential. In this game, you need to be cold, detached and detached from your feelings.

All that matters are numbers. Emotion will trip you up. Speaking of numbers …

7. Check, Double and Triple Check Your Figures

When doing your feasibilities, you must factor in all the relevant fees, commissions and charges. This includes design, plans, town planning, sales and everything in between.

The only variables in your numbers should be the build and sales prices.

duplex melbourne development

8. Know the Market

You need to know the market in the area you want to build in. Markets fluctuate. You need to spend time on the websites and keep track of the figures. You need to understand how to calculate future property values.

Why? Because you don’t want to sell a home for a price that buyers won’t accept.

There is no such thing as too much information here.

9. Getting Finance

Getting a property development loan differs from a standard home or investment property loan. Lenders look at it as a higher risk and treat it accordingly.

Never underestimate the power of a good broker. But beware, not all brokers are equal. They all want your money, but you need to pick one who specialises in development finance.

Without finance, you’ll struggle to complete your duplex in Melbourne.

10. Designs and Drawings

Pick a good architect or draftsperson, and make sure they communicate with your surveyor.

Make sure you brief them well. They need to know your ideas, inspirations and a good sense of what you want to achieve. Just don’t disregard the local vibe. You want a square peg in a square hole here.

Before we move to tip eleven, I have a bonus tip – you need to spend time and effort understanding the minimum slab sizes for residential buildings.

11. Demolition Tips


If you’re demolishing an existing property, make sure to confirm with your bank or broker that it is okay to demolish before you pull the pin.

Demolishing without approval can cause havoc when the valuers come to inspect. They will be valuing a vacant lot rather than an existing property.

12. Documentation Matters

Having your construction documents ready to go before you build is a must. It can be a bore, sure, but don’t neglect this. You’ll regret it if you do.

13. Be Smart with Your Money

The old saying is relevant here: you’ve got to spend money to make money. But it’s your job to ensure you spend it in the right place.

We call this “value management“.

Put in other terms, add value where it matters.

An example of this is using top-quality stone for the kitchen and using a second type of stone in the bathroom or laundry.

14. The Tender Process

This is why you need your documentation in order.

builder tender package

You’ll put out your project to tender and select a duplex builder that you feel most comfortable partnering with.

The builder must match apples with apples, so get all your ducks in a row.

Remember that the cheapest isn’t always the best. Pick the builder that matches best with your plans for a duplex in Melbourne.

And check out these handy tender negotiation tips.

15. Liquidated Damages

Don’t sign a building contract without a liquidated damages clause. This means that the builder will compensate you for any delays in the project.

builder liquidated damages

We cannot stress this tip enough. Ignore it at your peril.

16. Plan of Subdivision

Subdividing your property is necessary if you want to sell two properties on their titles.

If you don’t do this or don’t do it quickly enough, you’re left with a duplex that can’t be sold separately.

No subdivision equals no money for you at the end of the day.

duplex subdivision melbourne

17. Sales – Off the Plan is a Must

At Little Fish, we always sell off the plan. Why? Because you have sold your duplex before construction is completed.

Once the build is done, you have your subdivision approval (read above) and can receive settlement immediately.

This means you get paid as soon as a project is done. You can bank the money or roll it over into your next development.

Living the dream, right?

18. Tips for Marketing

To sell off the plan, you need to market your duplex in Melbourne successfully.

The trick here is to get your buyers feeling positive about the project with a solid marketing plan.

They’ll need confidence and warm fuzzies to pull the trigger, which is super important as they can’t see or touch what they’re buying.

You might want to try mood boards, 3D renders and anything that can make the homes tangible.

A well-designed and high-quality brochure is definitely worth the money for graphic design and printing.

19. Worried About Marketing Costs?

If you’re worried about the marketing costs, they are a fraction of the total profit that a duplex Melbourne sale will net you.

Remember, you must spend money to make money – it’s all about value management.

20. Be Prepared to Pay Tax

Profit from a duplex in Melbourne is considered income under Australian taxation law. This is unavoidable.

tax duplex melbourne

People can look for tricky ways to avoid paying their share of tax, but this can bite you where it hurts.

Don’t be the following headline in the news about tax-avoiding property developers.

Consider the taxman a partner in your venture. You get your share, and he gets his.

And remember, if you are paying tax, it’s because you are making money; the more you are paying, the more you are making, so don’t be afraid of tax.

21. Know the Risks

This is always a high-risk, high-reward game. You need to know the risks of going into a duplex Melbourne venture. Boy, can it be worth it, but forewarned is forearmed.

duplex melbourne risks

This is why we stress research, knowledge and information. Being armed with all of this before embarking on a multi unit development project is essential.

The people who dive in headfirst without any preparation get burned. You want to come out on top here.

Oh .. and it would be worth getting some knowledge about property development agreements.

Wrapping Up

little fish duplex melbourne

Remember, this isn’t an exhaustive list of how to prepare for undertaking a duplex in Melbourne.

It’s intended more like a quick checklist so you can go off and learn more before embarking on your property development journey.

We’ll repeat it, but knowledge is essential here. If you want to succeed in this game, you need to know every single process, inside and out.

You can’t afford to take risks, guess your figures or go around shooting from the hip.

In this game, the sharpshooters win. So take a breath, be patient, and keep your emotions out of the equation.

If you’re not as keen to do things yourself, that’s where Little Fish can come into the picture.

We partner with investors to help them maximise their profits on duplex Melbourne projects.

If you’re keen on chatting more about partnering up, feel free to give us a call at 1300 799 277 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

We’d love to know more about your goals.