You are currently viewing How to expand your property portfolio (without buying more land)


Let’s face it, land is expensive.

And to make matters worse, it’s getting harder and harder to come by.

Unfortunately, this presents a problem if you’re looking to expand your property portfolio. Because when land is expensive, houses are expensive too.

So how can you find an affordable property?

Well, you can look further and further afield in the hope of finding some affordable land. Or you can look right under your nose. Yes, under your nose.

Because if you have the right section, you may be able to add a secondary dwelling to your existing property. This could be the perfect solution to accommodate extended family members or to use as a rental. And without incurring the cost of additional land, the proposition suddenly becomes a whole lot more affordable.


But first, what exactly is a secondary dwelling?

Sometimes called an accessory dwelling, a minor dwelling or a granny flat, a secondary dwelling is where you insert a small home within the boundaries of an established home and property. So both houses are on the same title and will share vehicle access. Adding a secondary dwelling within the bounds of your existing property does not require subdividing. And done well – and in accordance with local regulations – a secondary dwelling can house multi-generations, earn extra income, and improve resale value.

Here’s how to find out whether adding a secondary dwelling is the right option for you.


Is my land suitable?

First of all, you need to consider space. Do you have enough available land to add an extra dwelling?  Rules vary from district to district but generally a granny flat is allowed to be up to 60-70 square metres, plus you’ll need to allow space around the outside to meet outdoor living space requirements.

Next, consider access and topography. Can materials and equipment be brought onto the site? Is there room to bring in a transportable home (which can be a good option). You need to determine whether it’s even possible to bring in or build a dwelling on your site.

Lastly, think about the effect of the dwelling on your existing home and neighbouring properties. Shadowing, views, space, privacy. Is it possible to add a dwelling that doesn’t impact negatively on your existing home?

If you think your land is suitable, next you’ll need to be clear on the planning rules for your neighbourhood.


What are the rules in my location?

In New Zealand, the overarching rules are driven by the Building Act 2004. Then each local authority runs the building consent process using district plans to decide what is allowed in each zone.

Long story short, you’ll need to check with your local council about the town planning rules for your area and what consents you will need. Councils usually have a minimum amount of land required per dwelling and may have other conditions which need to be met too. Rules can vary significantly across councils so make sure you ask, and most importantly,  get a written response from the council specific to your property.


Will it affect my resale value?

Done well, a secondary dwelling will positively affect your property value.  With housing prices stretching most buyers, a property with the option to spread the costs is appealing. Buyers can take on tenants to help pay the mortgage, or it’s a great option for extended families and multi-generations.


We can help

Transportable homes make great secondary dwellings. They’re generally cheaper to construct than starting from scratch because they utilise off-site building and systemised construction. And the beauty of transportable homes is there’s minimal disruption for the people in the primary house during construction. That’s because the majority of the work happens off-site.

One day a bare piece of land. The next, a brand new house ready to be rented!


Want our help? We build transportable homes every day, and we can help you make your secondary dwelling a stress-free project.

Call me (Wallace) or one of our team on 07 572 0230 and let’s talk.