Property development is an appealing prospect, promising good returns in a buoyant market and the satisfaction of creating something that someone else wants to buy. But it can be a tough game to succeed at. Here, we assess advice from some top UK property developers to ensure you don’t succumb to some of the risks.
Lesson 1: Form a power team
Property developer Nicole Bremner has a raft of advice for first-time developers. Crucially, her advice includes developing a ‘power team’, consisting of an architect, accountant, builder and conveyancer. And she firmly believes they should be people that you enjoy working with.
Lesson 2: Find your niche
London developers Gal and Tania Adir attribute their success in property development to finding their niche. In their case, it was focusing on prime property, rather than super-prime, and knowing exactly who the target market is. Be clear in your mind about who you envisage buying the property. Is it a young family? Downsizers? Keep your market in mind throughout the development process.
Lesson 3: Don’t design for your own taste
Tempting though it may be, seasoned property developers advise against putting your own mark on a property. Choosing fixtures, fittings and décor that will appeal to your market is the sensible choice. TV property developer Sarah Beany agrees, advising that you should consider the needs of the future inhabitants, not your own.
Lesson 4: Focus on quality and functionality
Property development brothers, Adam and Alex Pinion, are steadfast in their belief that developments should focus on both quality and functionality to a ‘microscopic level’. This thinking should be extended to the exterior of the property too, including a well-thought-out driveway that services the home well.
Lesson 5: Follow your gut
When you’re dealing with large sums of money in a potentially difficult housing market, many property developers agree that a large amount of research is crucial. But that doesn’t mean to say that instinct doesn’t matter too. Super developer Gary Linton reflects that early on in his career, he didn’t necessarily know what he wanted to achieve with his first project, but his gut instinct paid off.
Lesson 6: Stick to the budget
Budget management – it’s a basic but essential element, especially for first-time developers. Swerving unnecessary luxuries and focussing on those items that add to a property’s marketability and value is key to keeping costs firmly under control.
Lesson 7: Landscaping design matters
The kerb appeal of a property is vital. As well as creating a state-of-the-art interior, property developer Michael Alderton, director of Canning-Ericsson, ensured the exterior of his new-build home in Hurstpierpoint did justice to the surrounding countryside by planning and creating National Trust-style landscaping and installing a beautiful gravel driveway, laid with the Beauxfort Gravelrings gravel grid system.
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