Are you considering undertaking a residential development project but feeling nervous about pulling the trigger? Do you need to get yourself development ready?

Well, stick around because, in this article, I’m going to make sure you are thinking about what you need to and are prepared for all outcomes. 

Ultimately, I’ll be making sure that you are development-ready so you can pull the trigger with confidence.

Let’s get into it.

If you are about to undertake a townhouse development project, you need to ensure that you enter into it with your eyes wide open. 

As glamorous as it may seem to be a residential property developer, it’s a super high stakes game that takes no prisoners. 

Things invariably go wrong; you need to accept this and be development ready when they do.

The key to navigating the pitfalls is having extreme clarity around the potential outcomes, both good and bad, and accepting and being prepared for all possibilities.

development ready pitfalls

Any level of ignorance in this area can be very costly.

Here are seven things you must know before jumping in the deep end with your project to ensure you are development ready.

Get your 'Townhouse Development Blueprint' Now!

Grab a copy of my exclusive step-by-step blueprint for mastering townhouse development.

Download Your Free Copy Now

1. Know Exactly What You Can Do 

Number one is, know exactly what you can do with the site from a design perspective. You need to be on top of this before you can even consider the numbers. 

Having a guess or making assumptions is a dangerous game. The fact is that if you play with fire, you will get burnt.

You need to be patient and discipline and reach out to your team of experts to get the confirmation and clarity you need.

You cannot let the fear of missing out on a site drive anything you do when considering a site to purchase and develop.

fear of missing out

And of course, always take everything you get back, even from the experts, with a grain of salt. Never assume that any information you get is gospel.

You need to challenge it and build a narrative from multiple sources to have the confidence you need to move forward with certainty.

2. Know Your Numbers

Understanding your projects numbers before committing is non-negotiable.

Appreciate your soft costs, build costs, potential sale costs or rental yields on the other end. Everything needs to be considered. You cannot afford to miss anything.

development ready costs

And you need a realistic contingency in there for not if but when costs blow out. 

If there is one thing that I have learned over the journey, things always cost more and take longer, so you need to prepare and be ready for that.

development ready victoria

You can’t be caught with your pants down.

You need to be aware of it, accept it and most importantly, be prepared for it because even when things go wrong, you can still deliver a successful project.

3. Have an Exit Strategy

You need to have plans B and C locked in.

Are you looking to sell the dwellings off the plan, or are you selling them at the end? 

What happens if the game plan is to sell them off the plan, but you can’t move them?

And what does selling them on completion look like?

What does holding them and renting waiting for better times look like?

These are all legitimate risks that you need to consider. Thinking it won’t happen to you is fraught with danger. 

Make sure you have plans B, C and D in place. So, plan for the worst and hope for the best.

4. Assemble an Expert Team

You need to know that you have the proper support if you want to be development ready. 

Assuming that you’ll pull a team together after is again playing with fire, and we know what happens there.

There are many moving parts, so you are going to need a lot of expert help. We are talking …

  • A land surveyor
  • Designer
  • Town planner 
  • Arborist
  • Traffic engineer
  • Builder 
  • Mortgage broker
  • Solicitor
  • And accountant, to name a few.

You need to have some confidence and clarity around your development team before you pull the trigger.

And you can’t assume that all these consultants have the required experience in residential townhouse designs.

consultants development ready

All of them are broad industries, so you need to make sure whichever consultants you are looking to partner with have proven experience in doing what you are setting out to do. 

One thing is for sure; if you get this wrong, it will be costly.

5. Be Aware of the Time Commitment

It will be critical that you have a clear understanding of the commitment involved. 

You need to make sure that you can realistically commit to this in your day to day, week to week, month to month and even year to year schedule. 

Make no mistake, these projects are time suckers, and it is no secret that time is money, particularly when developing property.

6. Leveraging Quality Mentors

quality mentors

Mentors have made the mistakes you are yet to make; if there are 100 mistakes to make throughout a project and they’ve made 50 of them, and they share that knowledge and experience with you, that means you only need to make the remaining 50. 

Mentors can be game-changers, no question; as I keep saying, developing property is high stakes, so coming in cold is a risk you need to be aware of. 

That said, not having access to a quality mentor doesn’t necessarily need to be disastrous either. 

You can still succeed, but it’s a legitimate risk that needs to be acknowledged, accepted and planned for.

7. Understand the Risks 

Understanding the risks you are assuming so that you are entering into the project with your eyes wide open.

The exercise of breaking down each risk and formally acknowledging and accepting them will invariably have your development ready.

If you need to move an electric power pole – understand its cost and impact before you move forward.

It will avoid any surprises and ensure you are bulletproof if and when the project doesn’t go exactly to plan.

The reality is that it is doubtful that your project will unfold issue free and precisely as you’ve planned – being development-ready is all about accepting this as fact and being ready for it when it happens.

Hopefully, these seven development-ready tips get you thinking the right way and heading in the right direction.