From blueprint to building, a successful property developer relies on the collective efforts and expertise of their team members. Without a competent team to support them, the entire project is at stake.
Meet Alex, an ambitious property developer with his sights set on a mammoth future project. Looking to cut corners (and costs), Alex sacrifices valuable positions and skill sets in his property development team. Because of this decision, Alex’s property development venture is eventually plagued with obstacles and risks.
The absence of a draftsman leads to design and regulatory issues; the lack of a competent construction team results in delays and shoddy workmanship; an inexperienced strategist brings financial mismanagement; and without a property manager, operations and maintenance suffer.
Sounds rough, right? With so many preliminary costs already involved, it can be tempting for property developers like Alex to bypass hiring all the recommended professionals. As experienced property development consultants in Melbourne, all we can say is “trust the process” and keep a checklist handy of the ten key players essential to your success story:
☐ Buyer’s Advocate can provide market insights to make informed decisions about demand and property trends.
☐ Property Accountants understand the industry and help with taxes, financing, and asset protection.
☐ Property Lawyers set up investment structures, handle legal requirements, and make sure contracts are in order.
☐ Mortgage Advisor/Brokers find specialised lenders and secure the right loan for your project.
☐ Land Surveyors/Arborists ensure compliance with environmental regulations.
☐ Town Planner Consultants navigate local regulations and help you gain approval efficiently.
☐ Draftsmen understand town planning regulations and complete drawings for a successful property development.
☐ Property Development Managers oversee the project, manage timelines, and stay within budget.
☐ Construction Contractors transform plans into reality with quality workmanship.
☐ Real Estate Agents assist in site selection and facilitate property sales.
Successful property development requires teamwork under decisive leadership. As the developer, you’re responsible for every single decision – this complete level of accountability can be daunting, especially given the breadth and depth of challenges involved. That’s why it’s so important to assemble a team of experienced professionals who you can rely on for expert advice.
Assembling Your A-Team: The Key to Property Development Success
When it comes to property development, two heads are definitely better than one – or in this case, ten heads. However, the success of your development projects heavily relies on the calibre of your team. Without the right combination of industry professionals, you increase your investment risk from the start and are likely to encounter costly mistakes along the way.
One question that property developers often ask is, ‘Do I really need all these experts?’ To put it simply, yes. Each team member brings a unique set of skills, knowledge, and experience to the table, and they all play a vital role in ensuring the project’s success.
For instance, your finance strategist will provide invaluable advice on managing expenses and potential profits, while your architect and engineers will work together to create a code-compliant design.
Another aspect to consider is the constantly evolving nature of the property market. Working with a team of professionals who are up-to-date with the latest market trends, regulations, and technologies can help you stay ahead of the curve and make smart decisions about your project.
Building the dream team takes effort. Choose wisely, considering qualifications, experience, and a solid track record. As with any team effort, foster collaboration and communication from the beginning for a smooth ride.
From a resourceful property accountant to a market-savvy real estate agent, let’s get to know the ten experts you need to boost that all-important profit margin.
1. Buyer’s Advocate:
When I say that the first person you should appoint is a buyer’s advocate, I genuinely mean it. Why? Because purchasing well is the single most important determinant of success, and the primary job of a buyer’s advocate is to ensure that you purchase a quality site. A good buy doesn’t simply mean a good price.
A buyer’s advocate in Melbourne can provide valuable insights into local property market trends and demographics, helping you make informed decisions about property development and features. They study historical and current market trends, assess data like property prices and buyer preferences, and analyse demographics such as population growth and income levels to guide your development decisions.
You want to purchase in a neighbourhood that’s likely to see above-market future median $ price growth – I’ve overseen developments where as much as half of the profits were attributed to price increases in just two years.
You’ll need to effectively determine the development potential of sites, and ensure the design scenarios match with end-buyer demand (e.g. why build ten one-bedroom apartments where nobody wants to buy them?).
You must build an accurate project feasibility study that accounts for all costs – purchase, planning, holding, construction, etc. – and for likely resale values, based on in-depth analyses of the area’s sales and trends.
All of this time-consuming work needs to be done prior to purchase and requires considerable experience and intellectual property to do properly.
Lastly, and most obviously, a buyer’s advocate should be able to source off-market properties for you and negotiate purchases effectively at auction or via private sale. I strongly recommend considering a licensed professional who can help you minimise the risks of development and maximise your return on investment.
As licensed buyer’s advocates in Melbourne, we look after all aspects of property negotiations, from research to settlement.
2. Property Accountant:
As a master of numbers, a property accountant is an invaluable team member who manages the financial intricacies of your project. A property accountant with industry experience is essential for your property development squad, and here’s why:
Understanding tax claims: A property accountant wears many hats, but their primary focus is on maximising tax benefits and streamlining financial processes. You may encounter tax claims that are unique to the industry. By working closely with a property accountant who’s well-versed in these nuances, you can capitalise on every available tax incentive, saving you money in the long run.
Preparing financial documents: A property accountant will play a key role in preparing financial documentation for loans. In a property development project, securing financing can be challenging and may require specialist lenders. With the help of a mortgage advisor or broker, your property accountant will prepare the necessary paperwork to strengthen your loan application, increasing your chances of approval.
Protecting your assets: Another responsibility of a property accountant is working alongside your property lawyer to protect your assets. This includes setting up appropriate investment structures, ensuring legal compliance, and managing risk. As a property developer, your assets are your most valuable resource, and a property accountant will help safeguard them against potential pitfalls.
3. Property Lawyer:
The next key player is a property lawyer, who works hard to safeguard your investment. A knowledgeable property lawyer plays a critical role in helping you navigate the legal complexities of the industry, making sure your investment is protected every step of the way.
Set up investment structures. First and foremost, your property lawyer will assist in setting up the appropriate investment structures for your property development project. Collaborating closely with your property accountant (team member #1), they’ll determine the best structure for your specific circumstances, such as a company, trust, or partnership.
Ensure legal compliance: Legal compliance is another area where a property lawyer is worth their weight in gold. They’ll confirm your development project adheres to all relevant legislation, regulations, and bylaws. This includes obtaining necessary permits and approvals, adhering to zoning and land use restrictions, and addressing any environmental concerns. Staying on the right side of the law is crucial for avoiding costly fines, delays, and even the potential failure of your project.
Handle conveyancing: When it comes to conveyancing and contracts, your property lawyer will be your go-to expert. They’ll review, draft, and negotiate contracts, making sure the terms and conditions are favourable for you. This includes contracts with your architect and engineers (#5), town planner consultant (#6), construction contractors (#9), and real estate agents (#10). With a skilled property lawyer on your team, you can rest assured that your contracts are watertight and your interests are protected.
Assist with asset protection: Asset protection is another critical aspect of property development that your property lawyer will address. They’ll work to safeguard your personal and business assets from potential risks, such as litigation or bankruptcy. By implementing strategies like holding assets in separate legal entities, your property lawyer can help minimise the impact of any unforeseen circumstances on your overall investment portfolio.
4. Mortgage Advisor/Broker:
A mortgage advisor or broker is a financial expert who specialises in sourcing property development loans. They have extensive knowledge of the lending market, including specialist lenders who cater specifically to property developers. By working with a mortgage advisor, you gain access to their industry expertise and valuable network, allowing you to find the most suitable and competitive loan products for your project.
Negotiating power: One of the most significant advantages of partnering with a mortgage advisor is their ability to negotiate better loan terms on your behalf. They can leverage their relationships with lenders to secure lower interest rates, flexible repayment schedules, and other favourable conditions that may not be available to you if you approach lenders directly. This can ultimately save you thousands of dollars over the course of your loan and contribute to the overall success of your property development project.
Industry Insights: In addition to securing the right financing, your mortgage advisor can also offer valuable insights into other aspects of your property development project. For example, they may work closely with your finance strategist (#3) to help you create a financially sound strategy that keeps your project afloat even in the face of challenges. They can also collaborate with your property accountant (#1) and property lawyer (#2) to ensure your loan structure is tax-efficient and legally compliant.
5. Land Surveyor/Arborist:
Before any serious design work can be done, you need a land survey and an arborist report – getting these done is a top priority once a contract of sale is signed.
Land Surveyors: Laying the Groundwork for Success
Land surveyors play a vital role in the early stages of property development by accurately measuring and mapping out the site. They assess the topography, boundaries, and any potential constraints, ensuring your project complies with regulations and minimises the risk of disputes with neighbours. This information is essential for architects as they consider the layout and positioning of your development, therefore maximising its potential and appeal to prospective buyers.
Arborists: Analyising Tree Impact on Development
An Arborist uses the survey report, and identifies the species, heights, diameters, and health of all vegetation on the block. They provide a full report, complete with retention values of each tree, and structural root and protection zones. This report is critically important to the development design, as it identifies which trees will likely need to stay, and how close you can build to them. If there are significant trees on the site, it’s absolutely worthwhile seeking informal advice from an Arborist prior to purchase – particularly if overlays exist that will restrict tree removal.
6. Town Planner Consultant:
A town planner will help you navigate local council requirements so your development fits seamlessly within the local area and infrastructure.
One of the most important aspects of a town planner consultant’s role is to help you simplify the often complicated world of local council requirements. These requirements can vary significantly between different regions, and having a professional on your team who is well-versed in the specific regulations of your project’s location is invaluable. The town planner will assist you with obtaining necessary permits, submitting development applications, and ensuring that your project complies with zoning and land-use regulations.
Seamless Integration with the Local Area and Infrastructure
Aside from adhering to the local council requirements, a town planner consultant also ensures that your development project fits harmoniously within the existing local area and infrastructure. They will consider factors such as the existing streetscape, nearby amenities, and public transport options, as well as the overall character of the neighbourhood. By taking these factors into account, the town planner can help you design a development that not only meets the needs of its future occupants but also contributes positively to the local community.
Working in Tandem with Other Team Members
A town planner consultant doesn’t work in isolation – their expertise is most effective when combined with the skills of other essential team members, such as architects, engineers, and market analysts. For example, the town planner’s understanding of local council requirements will complement the architect’s vision for a visually appealing and compliant design. Similarly, the insights provided by market analysts will help the town planner to make sure the development caters to the needs and preferences of the target demographic.
For a number of reasons, I choose to work with a draftman instead of an architect; mainly, it’s about fees, incentives, and creative license.
A draftsman specialises in translating your ideas and vision into practical and functional designs. With their in-depth knowledge of architectural principles and building codes, they can create designs that meet both your aesthetic preferences and regulatory requirements. Their creative problem-solving skills enable them to optimise space, enhance functionality, and deliver innovative design solutions.
Your initial efforts with the draftsman should focus mainly on the orientation of each dwelling: which ways they face, where their driveways and garages are located, how the finished floor levels sit in relation to ground levels outside, where the secluded private open spaces go in relation to indoor living areas, how close to trees, neighbors, and streets you will build, etc.
From there, you’ll progress to internal layouts (e.g. location and sizes of bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, etc.). Then, onto window placements, external materials and colors, and landscape design.
Ensure that the draftsman you use has a lot of experience in multi-townhouse design, so that they understand key aspects like site coverage, garden space requirements, setbacks, etc. A good draftsman should be clear about the parameters you need to design within, as well as the boundaries you can reasonably push to maximise the development potential of the site.
8. Property Development Manager:
Acting as a liaison between your design team and construction crew, a property development manager ensures your project is completed on time and within budget. But what exactly does a property development manager do, and why are they so critical to your project’s success?
To better understand the importance of a property development manager, let’s first consider the potential challenges and pitfalls that may arise during the development process. For example, delays in construction can lead to increased costs, missed deadlines, and even potential legal disputes. Poor communication between team members can result in design flaws, budget overruns, and ultimately, a compromised final product.
A property development manager is an indispensable asset for any property development project. By providing effective communication, coordination, and proactive problem-solving, they can help ensure your project is completed on time, within budget, and to the highest possible standard.
One of the key advantages of working with a property development manager is their ability to foresee potential issues and proactively address them before they escalate. This proactive approach can save you time, money, and stress in the long run. For example, by closely monitoring the construction timeline, a property development manager can identify potential bottlenecks and work to mitigate them before they impact the project’s overall progress.
9. Construction Contractors:
Experienced and reputable construction contractors are responsible for bringing your vision to life (within the confines of local regulatory requirements). Their expertise covers a wide range of areas, from laying the foundation to installing essential services such as plumbing and electricity.
Make sure your chosen contractor has the necessary expertise will save you time and money in the long run, as they will be better equipped to navigate any challenges that may arise during the construction process. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice:
- Interview Multiple Builders: Meet with three to four builders in your area and review their past work. Consider their knowledge in construction as well as their familiarity with the local area and community. Ask for references and try to speak with past clients to get their feedback on the builder’s performance.
- Contact References: Just like a job interview, ask the construction company for a list of references. Reach out to these references, especially those who had similar projects to yours. Inquire about their experience with the builder, including their satisfaction with the build process, adherence to timelines, accuracy of the budget, and overall communication. This will give you insights into what to expect from the construction company.
- Get Estimates: A good construction company will provide an estimate that is clear, easy to understand, and itemised. You should have a clear understanding of the materials that will be used and the specific costs associated with each item.
10. Real Estate Agents:
Real estate agents are often the unsung heroes of property development projects. Their expertise in the buying and selling stages can be invaluable for developers looking to maximise their profits and manage cash flow effectively.
Real estate agents possess in-depth knowledge of local market trends, which allows them to provide developers with accurate data on property values, buyer preferences, and demographic information. This knowledge enables developers to make informed decisions on the types of properties to develop and the features to include, ensuring a higher return on investment.
One of the primary roles of real estate agents is to secure the best possible prices for both the purchase of development sites and the sale of completed properties. By leveraging their extensive networks and negotiation skills, real estate agents can help developers acquire land at competitive prices and sell finished properties at a premium.
Tips for Successful Collaboration with Real Estate Agents
Clearly define your project goals and expectations: Communicate your vision, budget, and timeline to confirm the agent understands your objectives and can provide accurate advice.
Establish open lines of communication: Regular updates and meetings are essential for maintaining a strong working relationship and staying informed about the progress of your project.
Get in early: Real estate agents can also assist in securing pre-sales or off-the-plan sales, which generate early revenue and can be used to finance ongoing construction costs. These early sales can be particularly beneficial in situations where traditional financing options may be limited or unavailable.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Work with a Property Development Team You Can Trust
In the high-stakes game of property development, a successful project is the result of a well-coordinated team effort. No single developer possesses all the necessary skills to tackle it alone. Therefore, having the right team by your side can save you from falling into the costly pitfalls that often trap other developers.
By understanding the roles and responsibilities of each team member, you can create a well-rounded team that will work together to achieve the best results for your project. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek expert advice, as this will only contribute to the success of your property development journey.
Property Development Consultants in Melbourne
I firmly believe that property development is less risky than property investment. As your property investment advisor and buyer’s advocate serving Kew East and all of Melbourne, I can help you find high-value investment properties and development sites that supercharge equity growth and stimulate your investment portfolio.