Property development can be daunting so I’ve put together some FAQs to help address some of the important questions that will arise as you start your development.

This has been broken down to a three part series;

  1. Getting Started
  2. Design, Planning and Approvals
  3. Construction Time 

1. Getting Started

What is a developer?

I quite like this description...

“Developers buy land, finance real estate deals, build or have builders build projects, create, imagine, control and orchestrate the process of development from the beginning to end” Wikipedia

I especially like the words ‘create, imagine and orchestrate’ as this is exactly what we do at Property Bloom.  When we find a development site, I will stand on it and spend some time visualising what can work on the land.

What’s my development strategy?

Only you can answer this one.  It’s important to determine your development strategy and your investing criteria prior to looking for a development site. 

Your strategy may include:

-  Land Subdivision

- Renovate and add value to an existing dwelling

- Dual occupancy or low density development

- Renovate an existing dwelling and build new villas/units also on the land

- Medium density development

How much money will I need?

Well that’s like putting the chicken before the egg. You should set a budget before you find your site. Your budget will help to determine your development strategy.  A simple land subdivision will be less costly (but not necessarily quicker) than a larger villa/unit development for instance.

How much profit should I be making?

Profit can come in many forms; long term capital growth, rental yield, depreciation or tax returns and equity, even self fulfilment!   As part of your strategy, you will need to determine your financial and personal objectives.   Do you want to sell immediately?  Are you planning to hold and refinance to draw out the equity you’ve created?  Are you developing to hold, rent and build your portfolio? 

Each decision will mean different outcomes and you need to seek the advice of professionals on this, start with your accountant to ensure you understand the GST, CGT and other tax implications of your plans.

What’s the one thing you need before you put an offer in?

A conditional loan approval.  Knowing that you have a preapproval to a certain amount is a valuable negotiation tool.  Ensure you tell the agent that you have your finance approved as you make your offer so they understand that you are serious and can follow through on your offer.

What are the four crucial pre-purchase checks needed?

- Pest & building report – if there is an existing house you are going to keep/upgrade

- Ident survey – this will show the dimensions, description of the property, any Covenants easements and/or encroachments to the land.

- Review the Sales Contract – use the professional services of a conveyance or solicitor, but you can easily check the 149 Planning Certificate to ensure it is recent. This document will tell you the zoning and if the property in a flood, bushfire, mine subsidence area and many other

- Confirm with council what can and can’t be done with the land, you should have a good understanding of council’s Development Control Plans.

Two important steps to make once you exchange or secure the site:

Order a Contour or Detailed survey – this is needed to supply to your architect or draftsperson and your builder so they can start work on your plans.

Order a Geotechnical report – this will determine the site and soil classification and altimately have a bearing on then engineering for your slab or footing design.  If you think the site could be risky for example if you think it may be undermined or have a water course near or below it, have a geotech report done before you exchange or secure the site.

Who do I need on my Development Team?

- Property Specialist Accountant & Solicitor

- Finance Broker or personal banker

- Surveyor

- Architect/draftsperson

- Builder and other tradesmen; plumber, electrician, carpenter

- Consultants such as an engineer and private certifier

- Quantity Surveyor

- Development Project Manager  – to guide you through the entire process

Getting started can often be the hardest step. Once you’ve found your site, completed your due diligence, worked out just what you are going to be doing with it and managed to secure it, then the best parts are yet to come.  Let the creative process begin.

Look out for Part Two next week....

Whether you are looking to buy your first home, move home, refinance, or invest in property, a mortgage broker can help. Access loans from all the major lenders, get help with paperwork – plus there is no charge for this service. Get help from a local mortgage broker

Jo Chivers

“I was bitten by the property bug, there was no turning back.”

Jo Chivers proves that women can indeed have it all- a career that you are passionate about and a family.  While all of this sounds great, it does require hard work, dedication, perseverance and a bit of risk-taking.

Jo’s love of property development inspired her to leave her corporate career and pursue her true passion. After educating herself in property investing, she started building up her own property portfolio. After purchasing a few blue chip properties in Sydney, she soon realised how negatively geared they were and began researching outside of Sydney. She discovered a more affordable, large region of NSW where she completed her first property development.  Soon her friends were asking her to find them sites and manage their developments. 

She realised there was a need for an all encompassing project management service and her business Property Bloom™ was born.  Ten years down the track, she has developed over 60 properties for clients, creating literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity and high end yields.