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    Buying Land for a Knockdown Rebuild

    March 29, 2021


    Purchasing a Knockdown Rebuild? Pro Tips from a Builder

    At Hall & Hart, we believe every Australian should be able to build their customised dream home. We are experts in creating affordable luxury that caters to individual lifestyles, via both greenfield constructions and ‘Knockdown Rebuilds’.

    Many of our clients buy a block of land in their ideal location and knock down an old house to start again and create their dream home.

    Our vast experience with a broad cross-section of properties and designs means we know how clients can get the most out of the land they plan to purchase.

    There are some key things to consider when it comes to both buying the land and then designing your home, as the process differs to a regular home build. It’s important to avoid costly mistakes.

    Here are our pro tips to avoid losing valuable time and money when undertaking a Knockdown Rebuild project…


    #1 Seek Professional Help Before Purchasing

    Inspired by a property? While it’s tempting to jump the gun, it’s a good idea to consult with professionals before you purchase.

    A professional builder like Hall & Hart can give you solid guidance around any compliance issues. There is a huge range of regulations to consider, covering areas such as

    • floods

    • bushfires

    • heritage features

    • challenging blocks

    • acid sulphate soil and;

    • hydraulic design

    We’ll also be able to guide you through potential setbacks and the best avenues for approval, as well as how to select the right design to complement the block and suit your family’s lifestyle.



    #2 Consider Location Carefully

    One of your most important considerations when purchasing should be location. Does this area suit your lifestyle? What about as your family evolves?

    If you’re planning a family down the track, consider the closeness of schools, transport and the infrastructure you will need in the future. What may seem idyllic now could become a headache in five years!

    #3 Forecast Total Costs as Accurately as Possible

    Many buyers will be purchasing at an auction and this makes projecting costs beforehand difficult, as you don’t know exactly how much the property is going to go for – and a common mistake is not having an accurate idea of how much the Knockdown Rebuild will cost.

    Don’t dig yourself in deeper than you’re able to go! An experienced builder like Hall & Hart can forecast the build cost for you, to within a few thousand dollars.

    Stride confidently into that auction with the knowledge that you have a clear understanding of what you can afford to bid.


    #4 Create a Shortcut with a Winning Formula

    Given the competitive market in Sydney, the hunt for the right property can take time, and with the current market where house prices falling due to increasing interest rates, people are approaching house buying with caution. 

    Hall & Hart often work with clients who are still looking for the perfect property. We can put together a detailed site estimate for a Knockdown Rebuild based off your needs and ideal design for the home, then apply this across multiple sites, adjusting the site costs as required.


    #5 Choose a Simple Site for Lower Costs

    In life, easier generally means cheaper! We advise clients that the simpler their site in terms of moving, the lower site costs will be.

    Imagine the moving-in scenario: could you park on a level driveway, give your kids items to take inside and walk comfortably into the home? Or will you have trouble parking, worry about opening your door on a busy road and need to round up four people to wheel the fridge down a steep driveway? Is there no street parking?

    The most challenging scenario is also going to be the most expensive.

    #6 Find Your Building Mentor

    Don’t try and go it alone. Purchasing a property for a Knockdown Rebuild is a nuanced journey. Hall & Hart have been here many times before – and we love helping clients achieve their mission of finding the right block and building their dream home.

    We can mentor you through the whole process, from forecasting pricing before you purchase, to advising on compliance issues and ensuring the total project can be completed on budget and with minimal surprises.

    The only thing we can’t make a judgement call on beforehand is rock, as soil tests need to be done.


    #7 Your Contract is Our Green Light

    For the most part, all we need to proceed with planning is a copy of your contract.

    In rare circumstances we may want to inspect the site and harness some of the tools at our disposal, which include state government mapping and zoning, council DCP’s & LEP’s and satellite imaging. We can also use the real estate agents’ photos to give you good advice and guidance swiftly.

    Purchased Your Property?

    Now you have your land, there are a couple of key things to consider when it comes to getting the most out of your Knockdown Rebuild project…

    #8. Orientation and Outlook

    Optimise your future comfort and the value of your home by designing a home that harnesses the best orientation and outlook of the land. Consider the sun’s movement and how it will move throughout your home at various times of day. It will have a huge impact on the way you live.

    It will also influence design decisions like installing skylights for more light in the living areas, and the positioning of bedrooms. The best place for bedrooms is generally to the east, so the sun shines through in the morning and then makes it cooler in the evening.

    The west side will always be the hottest part of the house. Clever use of natural elements can increase your energy star rating and help achieve ambient temperatures without astronomical costs for heating and insulation upgrades.

    Careful placement of your house will also optimise your views for different areas of the house.


     #9 Privacy

    If you’re knocking down and rebuilding in an urban area, privacy is a big issue to consider.

    Are your windows looking directly into a neighbouring property? Even if the adjacent property is empty now, it may become an issue in the future. Plan carefully – by considering your neighbours and your boundary, you can use your home design to create privacy.

     Planning to start the Knockdown Rebuild journey?

    Hear from our clients about their knockdown rebuild journey on the Lower North Shore of Sydney.