How To Choose A Great Design For A Dual Income Property

Hi, My name’s Ben Everingham and I’m the Director here at Pumped on Property. In today’s video we’re gonna talk about how to choose a great design for a dual-income property.

G’day there. My name’s Ben Everingham and I’m the Director here at Pumped on Property. In the last 12 months we helped 120 investors from all over Australia and the world purchase around about 40 million dollars worth of great property. In today’s video we’re going to talk about how to choose a great design for a dual-income property.

I’ll take a really quick step back and talk about what is a dual-income property just for those of you who are still getting your head around the type of product. A dual-income property is basically any type of property that produces two incomes. That could be a house with a granny flat, it could be the types of properties that you might’ve seen online or through a property marketer, or through a builder, or through the back of Your Investment Property magazine, or Australian Property Investment magazine. It could be a house at the front with a secondary dwelling they call it in some markets, at the back of the property all under one roof line.

There’s so many different ways of doing this and why I wanted to share this video today is to really talk about the brand new dual-income product at the moment, which you’ve seen quite a little bit of in the marketplace and quite a lot of builders and marketers and people in the industry pushing that product, so that I can explain what makes a great design, what makes an average design so that you can make the best decision and get yourself the best quality product and the best outcome. As opposed to just letting the builder give you a design, hoping that it’s the right one and taking that product to the marketplace and realising that there’s things that you could’ve changed upfront with the design that had you have known before you could’ve asked the builder to include or add or change to his standard design. Most builders you’d expect to have perfect designs, but they’re not perfect, they’re just humans. Most builders don’t own a property management company and rent the properties out after they complete them. Often they don’t get direct feedback from the marketplace in terms of their designs. It’s really important to think about some of this stuff upfront.

I love dual-income properties. I’ve help clients probably build 50 or 60 in the last 5 years. I’ve done a number of these myself. I really, really like them. I’ve bought houses, renovated those houses and built granny flats. I’ve done a heap of different things around this space and I really, really wanted to share some of the things that I’ve personally learned from not just doing them myself, but also owning a property management company that manages those properties after. I’ll tell you what, you don’t learn more about property than from the feedback from the tenants that either love or hate certain things. Or at open houses on weekends going, “What do you like, dislike about the property?” “Well, I like this. I hate this. You need to change this, etc.” It’s just a constant improvement, constantly learning in this space, but these are some of the big things I’ve learned.

In terms of kicking it off, let’s talk about what makes a great design, a really, really highly quality dual-income design. This is more for the people looking to find a piece of land and build yourselves. The number one thing that I think adds to a great design is to make sure that both of the living areas, both in the larger part of the dwelling, so the three or the four bedroom house side of the dwelling as well as the one or two or three bedroom secondary part of the dwelling or granny flat part, depending on market they call it different things, is that there’s a beautiful, big open plan living, dining and kitchen area. I see in so many designs the builders are trying to make them cheap and one of the ways they cheapen is they reduce the internal floor size because obviously the less square metres that they have to build the cheaper the product for you. You might go, “Man, that’s such a red hot price.” But if you were to look at the design properly like an architect would, like a designer would or someone with a lot of experience would you would be like, “Man, they’ve completely stuffed up that area, they can’t fit lounges in there properly, there’s not a place for a dining table, the kitchen doesn’t flow well, it’s pokey and it’s just not working properly.”

Make sure that you create a nice, open plan area with kitchen hopefully baking onto beautiful living area, dining area and then, in the best case scenario, opening up onto some form of al fresco or desk or grassed area, so that it’s got that whole internal external type feel. I know that design and what’s important with design differs in different markets in the country and I’m probably pretty Queensland and New South Wales centric in the sense that I like the kitchen to be looking out over a nice living area and then over a nice deck or some sort of al fresco. That’s number absolute one. Make sure that the living area is large and when in doubt just go bigger.

The second thing that I’ve learned is that you need a great size bedroom. A standard master bedroom size might be four metres by four metres minimum. A standard secondary bedroom size or study might be, or should be, at least three by three metres. That’s even small. That would fit a double bed or a queen sized bed, but without a huge amount of space. If you can make them three by three or three point five by three point five people are going to walk in and just go, “Wow. This feels big. I can see myself living here. There’s plenty of space.” That’s an important design consideration. Make sure you oversize the bedrooms. I see so many plans where they’ve got these tiny little two point five by three metre rooms and when your tenants walk into them they just feel pokey, they can’t use them properly, so that’s very important.

The other thing is outdoor living space. A decent al fresco and a decent backyard. I see a lot of these things that are on very small sites these days and it’s important to know that I completely understand that land is expensive now, building’s expensive now in some areas, so you need to go smaller lots, but just make sure that there’s usable space that families can enjoy, that tenants can enjoy, that people like you and I can enjoy and you can barbecue out there, you can have a bit of a muck around out there with the kids, you can have a dog out there if you wanted to, or a cat and it’s real. It doesn’t have to be some 1,000 square metre block. You can still make a 300 square metre block if you position the house in the right place on the block and do the right design work. It’s just about being creative with that space and remembering how important that is. Living space number one, bedrooms number two. Then, outdoor area’s number three.

When I worked as the marketing manager before I started this business for one of Australia’s, New Zealand and America’s leading home builders. We did this massive study of 10,000 Australians. They said kitchens were number one, living spaces were number two along with bathrooms and then outdoor living areas were number three in terms of the things that people most value in their homes and their new build products. Make sure you nail those three things. The kitchens for the ladies, the outdoor areas for the guys. Make sure you’re meeting both marketplaces and not polarising yourself.

Some of the other things that I’ve learned that are important with the design element is you want a decent sized bathroom as well. It can be nice in the master bedroom to have a walk-in robe. You definitely want robes in all of the bedrooms these days. People need storage. That gets me back to storage. In the internal living areas as well, extra storage is always a value add.

Some of the other things that I like to look at personally with designs, my wife’s an interior designer and she looks after all of this stuff for me and with me for my clients and myself, I do like higher ceilings, I do like floor to ceiling tiles in bathrooms, I do like a high quality finish of the floor tiles in the main living areas like a 600 metre by 600 metre tile. I do tile my al fresco areas, I do a slightly nicer front of the house, slightly nicer driveway, slightly nicer grass. I’m talking about all these things might add an extra seven to $10,000 on your build. I’m not talking about blowing the budget out by 30 or 40 grand and creating a product that the market doesn’t need, but just making it slightly nicer so that when they’re walking through yours and comparing it someone else’s they can see themselves living there and it feels good.

I know we went through a hell of a lot of stuff really quickly, but I hope today’s video in terms of some of the positives and negatives has made sense to you on what you should be looking for.

I wanted to share a story of two properties that I recently looked at for a client. We didn’t build these properties for these clients, we took over the management of them. I have a property management business, which services Brisbane, Sunshine Coast to North Brisbane. We took over the management of these properties because they weren’t happy with their current manager, like most of us investors aren’t, which is why I started that business as well.

Looking for a property manager? Learn more about how we can help you here…

Basically this product was side by side in the same street. Now, they’re both dual-income properties, they’re both on 400 square metre blocks with 10 metre wide frontages, so pretty small lots. Now, one of them built a three bedroom, two bathroom, one car garage home with a one bedroom, one bathroom, one car garage home as the dual-income property. In the first design, the first example, the three bedroom house was at the front with the one bedroom granny flat at the back. The problem with that design is that the three bedroom is home, which is where you’re going to attract your families and your single moms and all those sorts of things, was there was no grassed area for the three bedroom home. There was actually no outdoor space for them at all. This little one bedroom unit that was 45 square metres had this big backyard and then this big three bedroom home didn’t have any yard space.

The one bedroom units always rent amazingly well in the right market. I think it took us one day and we got seven applications. That rented immediately for 245 bucks a week, but the three bedroom home actually sat there for about five to six weeks before someone moved into the property and they still weren’t happy that they didn’t have a backyard for their kids.

The property next door had exactly the same dimensions. Three bedroom, two bathroom, one car with a one bedroom, one bathroom, one car garage granny flat attached under one roof line. The difference was the three bedroom home and the one bedroom homes were kind of side by side at the front. The one bedroom unit wasn’t as nice in terms of the design and it didn’t have the backyard, but we still rented that within one day for 245 bucks a week. The three bedroom home was a little bit skinny at the front and then opened up into a beautiful kitchen, living, dining, al fresco area out to the backyard and that product actually rented within a week because people who were looking for that more expensive product are looking for that backyard.

That’s an example of two properties that we inherited with unique characteristics, each of them. They’re things that you only learn from being in the marketplace.

I hope you enjoyed today’s video. I really appreciate the opportunity to share some of the things that I’ve learned about designs with brand new, dual-income properties or dual-property design. I’d love the opportunity to continue this conversation with you. If you’ve got any questions please go to my website,

Until next time, enjoy your day and stay hungry.

Ben Everingham


Ben founded Pumped On Property after building a multi-million dollar property portfolio over a 5 year period. His mission is to show you how to replace your income through property investing so you can do what you love…full time.