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Can I add a second dwelling to my property?

Posted 18 months ago | By Latitude Homes

Cambridge Terrace Site Plan crop

How to get on the property ladder without buying the land.

What!? Free land you say?

Not quite, this isn’t some swift “buy and flip” scheme but a genuine appeal to the everyday Kiwi to take a look at your current property, that big back lawn that you sweat buckets over mowing every second weekend, that scrappy garden or run-down shed, think about the land that it is taking up - does it have the potential to contain a second dwelling, is that a greenmine waiting to be turned into a goldmine?

If you have a family that is struggling to save enough to buy a house on their own or if you are looking for a way to supplement your income, building a second dwelling without having to buy the land could be your easiest entry onto the property ladder.

What constitutes a second dwelling?

You may have heard people refer to a second dwelling as a granny flat, a minor dwelling or sleep out. This is mainly because people have opted for smaller, more affordable plans that fit onto an existing property. In most cases, building regulations state that a second dwelling is 70 sqm or under, although that may sound small you can fit up to 3 bedrooms into a 70 sqm plan.

Here are a few of our most popular 2 and 3 bedroom plans up to 70 sqm. 

granny flat house plan 60m2

The Hector. Granny flats or beach houses are definitely the best uses for this small and functional 60m2 house plan. A very popular small home with 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and is loved for its simple layout.

granny flat house plan 60m2

The Wairoa. This small block house has two bedrooms with built in wardrobes. The functional single bathroom has a large shower.

 NZB70 motu budget 3 bedroom house

The Motu. Packs a lot in small space, but still feels spacious.

Will I need to subdivide to put on a second dwelling?

No, you don’t need to subdivide to place a second dwelling on your property as long as you meet certain size and boundary restrictions, depending on your local council regulations a second dwelling up to 70 sqm can still share the same title as your existing home. Being on the same title means no need to subdivide and as long as you can use shared access and can run services to the new property, you are good to go.

Do I need a building consent for a second dwelling?

Yes. By definition if it has a toilet or bathroom you will need a building consent, if you have a kitchen or kitchenette then you will also need resource consent. In some regions, you may also be required to pay a developers fee and rates on the property as councils see the new dwelling as an added impact on services such as sewerage and water.

Can I build something larger than 70sqm as a second dwelling?

Yes you can. Plus, did you know that you don’t need to subdivide right away? As long as you can confidently meet the resource and consenting requirements you can build a larger home on the same title. When you come to sell the property you may wish to give the property its own title and private or shared access, by then you will have realised capital gains in the finished home and the land it sits on and you can use that gain to pay for the subdivision costs, saving you tens of thousands of dollars in upfront costs had you subdivided before the build.

These mid-size plans are perfect for fitting onto a larger section:

NZ136 cape campbell 4 bedroom house double storey

Cape Campbell allows for height to see over the existing property

NZ153 anchorage 3 bedroom house

The Anchorage 2 is a very popular family home and includes a double garage

Wakatu Front Of House Plan

The Wakatu is a 3 bed home, includes a garage and would be suitable for a long narrow piece of land.

So next time you are sweating over those lawns of yours or worried about how your kids will ever be able to get themselves into a first home, take a look around your property and consider how a second dwelling could be the smartest move you could make to improve your position and your property.

Want to make more money out of your property? Talk a look at that backyard and call your local Latitude Homes builder to discuss turning your “greenmine” into a goldmine by adding a second dwelling.



We decided to build with Latitude Homes after visiting the Showhome and meeting Debbie. We would definitely recommend the whole 'building your own home' experience to others - especially with Latitude Homes!
Shelley and Dave Power