property development team

Residential property development is no easy game to play. There are so many variables and factors to consider.

There is a reason why not everybody who owns a lot of land is doing it. And those that are are doing it understand the importance of their property development team.

At Little Fish we specialise in either assisting regular people to successfully develop their lots.

Or we take a hands-on approach as a trusted property development project manager that takes care of the entire operation for our clients, who can have as much or as little input into the process as they like.

A major key to success in any residential property development project is the team that helps put it all together.

Like any major project, it’s a team approach that guarantees success.

In the end, you are only as strong as your weakest link.

project manager

It is critical to build a dream team of contractors and consultants. Doing this is the absolute best way to mitigate the various types of property development risks and maximise your returns.

While doing a development the key players are the key to project success. You need to have the right people around you, people you can trust.

One mistake can be the difference between project success and profit and failure and a major loss.

You don’t have to be an expert and have all the answers to get into this game. You just need the right people on your side. If you do this right, you can make a stack of cash and potentially change your life!

It’s also worth noting that throughout the property development lifecycle there are many moving parts.

Every type of development and council has different requirements and rules. These can mean a multitude of challenges.

Below are the most important players for us at Little Fish but there might be many others who are equally important.

So if you’re keen to learn more we’re about to unpack the most important players in your property development team, and the other supporting roles that make it all work.

Keep reading!

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Player One – The Project Manager

At Little Fish, we believe this role is the key to delivering a successful (profitable) project.

If you don’t have the skills, knowledge, experience or time to run the project yourself a project manager is vital.

development manager

Developing is a high stakes game. Small things, if overlooked, can become extremely costly. Every day has a dollar value attached to it and often that value isn’t small change.

A dedicated project manager is therefore a key player in the real estate development process. Using one is the best way to get a foot in the door if you don’t have the time to give the job the attention it deserves.

Many folks make the mistake of thinking they know best.

They realise after it is too late how many variables and intricacies there are in pulling off a development project. By then it’s too late and they can be in some serious financial strife.

Smart people and savvy investors know this, which is one of the reasons why Little Fish exists and can run a business. We help these people to maximise their profits by project managing the work, every step of the way.

The right project manager will pay for themselves and then some. They can get the job done faster and cheaper than if you did it yourself.

A good project manager knows how long things should take. This player also knows how much things should cost.

This is a vital skill when dealing with duplex builders who just love variations and cost increases.

They can nearly see into the future and solve problems before they become problems.

And remember – in this game problems cost money! For the duration of your project they live and breathe the work and are accountable for its success.

They are the most important part of your property development team.

2. The Draftsman/Architect

Having a solid draftsman or architect is really important. It needs to be someone who understands your vision and goals.

site meeting

Running a development is about profit at the end of the day. So you need a draftsman or architect who is aligned with this goal.

It’s not about drawing fancy wizz-bang townhouses. It’s about maximising space and not trying to fit square pegs into round holes.

You’re allowed to shop around. After all it’s your money that’s paying their bills. So find someone who gets where you’re coming from.

You want to pick the right person for your property development team.

On a side note, check out this video on side-by-side dual occupancy designs in Melbourne, where I explain block dimensions. It’s worth checking out if you are considering a Melbourne dual occupancy project.

3. The Builder

There are more townhouse builders in Melbourne than there are suits at the races.

They will tell you they are the best person for the job. After all, they want your money too.

From our experience, about eighty per cent of them won’t suit your project. You need to find a builder that is set up to support townhouse developers in Melbourne.

Someone who does these types of subdivision builds and nothing else.

the builder

They will have efficient and cost-effective processes. You can leverage this for your project’s success.

We’ve put together a list of who we think are some of Melbourne’s best dual occupancy builders, it’s definitely worth checking out if you are ready for a builder.

One of the biggest risks to a project is the builder going bust halfway through. Or someone who can’t build on time. Delays cost serious dollars.

In your project tendering process, you need to find a builder that has a sound financial position and who is capable.

Another tip is to have a significant but fair liquidated damages clause in your contract with the builder.

If they commit to a timeline get it in writing and signed on the dotted line.

builder liquidated damages

4. The Interior Designer

When working on your dwellings’ design, you’ll need to pick fixtures and fittings. It’s wise to bring an experienced interior designer on board at this stage to leverage their interior design tips and tricks.

They can take the stress away from these choices.

interior designers

You just need to make sure they understand you’re trying to achieve good value for money. Don’t let them pick the latest, greatest and shiniest materials.

You want to make money not win awards. You want intelligent, cost-effective design features that make your homes pop. This will help to no end when it comes to selling your properties.

So get a savvy designer to join your property development team.

5. The Finance Broker

Getting property development finance in Melbourne (or anywhere!) can be a tricky business.

Having a broker that has lenders outside the big four banks is important. You want a range of options for your lender.

It’s essential to use a broker that has extensive experience in residential property development projects.

Choose someone who has the right networks and good connections to leverage for you. They also need a positive attitude.

Finding funding can be tough, so they need to be on board with your aims and be able to think outside the box.

As long as your project is viable financially you should be able to get the loan you need.

6. The Land Surveyor

It’s important to pick a responsive land surveyor. This is another important part of the development project team.

features survey

They are literally the first cab of the rank when you begin a project. They need to survey the land before your draftsperson or architect begins their preliminary drawings.

Remember that property development is all about time and getting things done when they need to be finished.

So, choose a land surveyor that prioritises your project. If you’re last on the list pick one who will make you first. Saving time right away will set the tone for things to come for your project.

Remember – all of these players are a part of a great property development team.

7. The Legal Team

Yet another player you will need is an experienced legal team – no ifs or buts.

There are so many legalities you’ll need to navigate as you make your way through this work. Also, it doesn’t stop with a finished build either.

There’s heaps of red tape when selling dwellings off the plan too. You want a team of efficient, knowledgeable and experienced lawyers.

Finding the right firm can be tricky. Most will just be “yes men” who will tell you what you want to hear and bill you every time you even think about them.

This can be very frustrating.

The key is to find a firm that appreciates what you’re trying to achieve. They should put a value on you as a potential long-term client.

After all, if successful, why wouldn’t you want to try your hand at another project and make even more coin?

They should be happy to point you in the right direction without billing you for every breath you take. It’s give and take, after all. 

8. The Real Estate Agent

Another key player in the residential development process is the real estate agent. You need an agent that realises you can make them money and value your work.

adrian butera

Above: Adrian Butera the main man at Compton Green. A huge supporter of Little Fish from the very beginning. A great agent and even better fella.

Ideally, you want them feeding you land opportunities that are off the open market.

Teaming up with an agent that has you as the first person they call can be priceless in the long run.

Being able to secure lots, not under competition can have a huge impact on your ROI.

Also, on the other side of the coin having a good agent means you can sell your dwellings off the plan quickly with the right marketing plan for residential property development projects.

Again, a major impact to your bottom line.

It’s worth remembering that not all sales agents are equal. Selling off the plan is an acquired skill and requires different angles.

An auctioneer might not be able to cut it in this game.

Get the right agent, with the right attitude and who believes in your vision.

9. The Town Planner

A great town planner is a critical player in your team. You want to find the most active and knowledgeable town planner in your specific area.

There are infinite variables to consider when submitting a town planning application. And there are vast fluctuations in requirements from local council to local council.

town planning report

So, include a town planner on your team who has direct experience in the areas you want to develop.

Don’t fall into the belief that someone from across town can work in all areas.

They’ll all tell you they can. Our experience is that you should avoid this risk. If you play with fire, you get burnt.

10. The Accountant

Finally, we get to the last player, but not the least. A great accountant with experience in property developments is vital.

There are so many industry-specific variables and requirements you need to consider.

If you put your hard-earned money and valuable time into a project you want to see as much profit as possible.

Accountants can be lax, so partner with a proactive one who fights for your dollars.

You need to maximise your offsets, tax benefits and all the other things that they are an expert in.

And finally, as an honourable mention, you’ll need a good finance broker.

Property development loans are not the same as a normal home loan so you need to partner with a broker that brings the required experience financing residential development projects.

On that note, it’s will be worth checking out this trusty article detailing mistakes you need to mindful of when borrowing funds for your project.

They can help structure your Joint Venture as well if that’s the direction you are considering.

Looking to Get Started?

If you’re curious about putting together a property development team after reading this, reach out to us here at Little Fish 1300 799 277.

little fish hoarding

We are development management specialists and would love to help with your next project if there was an opportunity too.

Our project consultants can explain in more detail the various players and help you to put together a dream team aimed at increasing your wealth.