Subdivision of land can be a complex and expensive process that requires careful planning. Oversights in the process can lead to delays and omissions which will inevitably impact on costs. For this reason a subdivision requires a team effort from those involved. These parties include your surveyor, the local Council, your lawyer, your accountant and various contracting companies. Ideally, you should instruct your lawyer to oversee the process from the very start. This will minimise risks or delays by ensuring a line of communication exists between the various parties involved. Some key issues: If you don’t already own the land: a) An agreement for the purchase of land that is to be subdivided will need to be prepared. This can be a complex document. In particular, there may be cash flow and taxation issues to consider and your lawyer and accountant will need to work together to ensure those issues are adequately dealt with in the agreement. b) A due diligence investigation will need to be undertaken. This can be completed either before or after an agreement has been signed. However, most developers will not wish to incur costs unless they are able to secure the land first. The purpose of due diligence is to investigate the feasibility of the subdivision taking into account the costs, the time it will take and the ultimate return to the developer. For existing landowners wishing to subdivide, check whether the current ownership status is appropriate for completion of the subdivision, particularly for tax implications. Confidentiality: subdivisions can be a sensitive issue, particularly where neighbours are concerned. Parties involved in the due diligence process should be aware of the importance of not disclosing the proposal to third parties until a decision has been made whether or not to proceed. Check the title: your lawyer can provide you with a detailed analysis of the title at the outset. Analysis can include information on restrictions that run with the land (e.g. easements) and whether or not those restrictions are compatible with the purpose and layout of the subdivision. Sale of sections Regardless of whether the subdivision involves the sale of one or fifty sections, it is prudent to decide at the outset how the sales will be managed. This process includes: • Setting a date for the sale of sections. • Ensuring the agreements for sale of the sections reflect the stage at which that the subdivision has reached. • Briefing and appointing real estate agents. • Setting the amount of the deposit to be paid by a prospective purchaser and the point at which those funds can be released to fund the ongoing costs of the subdivision. Conclusion Planning and co-ordination are vital for a successful subdivision. Your lawyer’s involvement throughout the subdividing process will ensure that delays are minimised and benefits maximised.