Q: What are the most important things to consider when you're looking at a development or subdivision?
A: No. 1. Make sure you are developing a product that is saleable in the local market. Don’t rely on what you know from other areas, do fresh research every time. Don’t rely on master plans or other developments in the area a guide, as master plans are drawn by planners not developers and just because there are two story townhouses next door doesn’t necessarily mean the developer made money. These things are critical in slower moving markets. Check sale rates of competing or similar developments, look at the prices and if possible get a copy of the special conditions of the contracts to make sure there are no kickbacks for early settlement or other factors that could distort the recorded sale prices.
No.2. Know your costs and include them all, including a reasonable profit margin. The banks generally like to see around 20% when doing the feasibility. Obtain fixed price contracts and be crazy about the details, so many things are missed if they are not given the attention. Assume nothing - just because you saw it in the display home, doesn’t mean it will be included in your building contract.
No.3. Developments and subdivisions are expensive and require a lot of your time, so make sure that you have the time to give. Skipping things in the planning phase will end up costing during the build with variation charges, or a substandard final product. Poor floor plans or wrong room dimensions can’t be fixed once the slab goes down. Engaging a builder who will commit to the job, can save you weeks or months on the construction phase, and potentially thousands in finance and holding costs.
Q: When not buying property what keeps you entertained?
A: With a wife and three kids, my spare time is pretty limited, but I am always on the look out for the next development opportunity, trying to figure out how to make blocks work, and working around the problems they present. Mum and dad still have a farm, and I enjoy getting out and helping with cattle work or whatever else needs doing. It's a bit slower paced, and the change of scenery is refreshing. The kids love getting out on the farm, too.
The lifestyle benefits of living in a regional city like Orange are immense. There is always so much going on around the district - with the food, wine and music festivals, sports, or skiing at the dam (Lake Burrendong) with the cousins in the summer. It's a really great place to live.
Recently I started training for the Sydney Oxfam Trailwalker, a 100km charity walk. There's a few of us involved, and we’ve been training most weekends since February. It's pretty intense and enduring. We've combatted leeches, fatigue and sock burn. Don't ask me how one gets sock burn, but it's a real thing, and it hurts. I'm looking forward to the beers after the event, and it will be nice to have my weekends back.
The Oxfam Trailwalker tackles poverty the hard way. Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney sees 600 teams walk through beautiful, rugged bushland from the Hawkesbury to the Harbour. If you would like to sponsor us, please follow the link below.