Becoming a Property Developer:
Work Smarter Not Harder

When you're starting out in Property Development, the road ahead can seem pretty daunting. There are lots of different pieces to the puzzle, and depending on the size of your first development, anything from a little to a lot of money is at stake.

It's common, however, once Property Developers have completed a couple of developments and expanded their knowledge and skill base, for them to start having more than one development "on the go" at the same time.

While this is definitely something I recommend if you're keen to do it, there does come a point at which you're going to have to work smarter, rather than harder, in order to keep on top of it all.

In fact, the most important skill you can develop is the ability to delegate. The trick is learning how to do that effectively, so that you enhance your Property Development business, rather than ending up in a deep dark hole where you don't have a clue what's going on or how things went wrong.
Scaling Your Developments - The Only Two Strategies You Need To Know
If you’re new to the world of Property Development, you might have noticed it’s a minefield out there. There are spruikers whose sole job seems to be to create deliberate confusion so that people will sign up for a program or a short course in the hope they’ll be able to work through that confusion and get into the Property Development game.

All too often they part with their money, complete the course and remain confused by the sheer number of potential strategies for turning a profit.

The reality is you’ve got a much better chance of succeeding if you pick just one strategy that can be scaled up. Most people don’t scale. Most people just ‘dart around’ – they do a renovation, then they build a granny flat, then they work on a DA for a four-pack of townhouses. Now back to another reno and then they buy a boarding house. Basically they jump around everywhere, and it’s probably where I see the biggest failures!

Because while there are dozens of different development strategies out there – strategies that can turn a very nice profit – there are really only two strategies that can scale effectively. And by scaling you develop expertise. When you’re an expert, it’s much easier to make money from developing and to work towards financial freedom.

So what are those two strategies?
How to Hit the Sweet Spot for Car Spots in Your Development
Aussies love their cars and local governments expect Developers to give car owners somewhere to park them. Depending on the size of your development you might also need to provide turning bays, visitor parking and car washing bays.

Car spaces cost money but not all car spaces are created equal – there’s a big price difference between a single carport, a two-car stacker and a multi-storey basement carpark.

The key is to factor parking into your project feasibility, to see if the numbers add up. This means consulting planning documents, Town Planners and your local Council.

If the car parking requirements for your Council are driving you nuts, or you’re not sure of the ‘sweet spot’ for car parking in your development, then read on….
Being a Developer: Effective Effort Equals Enormous... Success
When people come to me and say "I want to be a Property Developer" they're often gobsmacked when I ask them “What type?”. Because in their minds, those two words cover everything.

Yes, there's lots of different strategies you can use as a Property Developer, and there's not just one path to follow from start to finish and you're done. Let’s face it… no two Property Developers ever take the same journey.

But, which is better - learning and applying a single strategy, or learning multiple strategies and applying them all?
Site Security - Does It Take a Thief to Catch a Thief?
As a Property Developer, you get lots of phone calls. But there's one that you are never happy to get - the one from your Builder saying someone broke into the site overnight and stole a bunch of stuff.

Whether it's raw materials like timber that's just been delivered, cabling ripped out after the rough-in or appliances stolen from a nearly completed build, it's never good news.

Building site theft has been a growing problem for many years now, particularly in large new subdivisions, and more recently, increasing prices and a shortage of supplies have made the problem a lot worse.

As a Property Developer, where do you fit in when it comes to site security?
Buying at the Lowest Price Isn't The Name of the Game
When it comes to property investing, a very popular saying is that you make your profit when you buy. This is usually interpreted to mean that buying the property at the lowest price possible is the ultimate aim.

There are certainly plenty of people in the property space who have done very well with consistently making lowball offers on property or seeking out distressed properties, on the few occasions their offers are successful.

Problem is, when there are a lot of keen buyers in the market, lowballing isn't the answer. Plus it's going to seriously annoy the Agents you deal with.

Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't pay a lower price if that works for the Vendor, but there's a lot more to the concept of making your profit when you buy than just price.
Keeping Records: Why a Shoebox Full of Receipts Won't Cut It
What’s one of the biggest challenges successful Property Developers face? Keeping track of everything from a record-keeping perspective when they have multiple projects either on the go or completed. That’s a problem I'm sure a lot of beginning Property Developers want to have!

Because like it or not, if the Australian Taxation Office comes knocking on your door to do an audit, answering "I'm not a detail person" isn't going to cut it as a response. They aren't going to like the stereotypical shoebox full of receipts approach either.

Finance providers are also much friendlier when your tax returns and bookkeeping are up to date. Once your property development business grows, you can certainly employ someone to look after the nitty gritty of the ins and outs, but the earlier you get into good habits, the easier it is to outsource the task later down the road.

So what do you need to do to make sure you've dotted every "i" and crossed every "t" when it comes to keeping track of the financial side of your property developments?
Building Without Blowing Your Budget
It's number-crunching time. You've secured a site with development potential, and now you need to make sure it's not just developable but also profitable as part of your due diligence. Taking a look at the site and assessing all the likely "hidden" costs involved in getting out of the ground is one part, which we've covered before in our prior Property Pulse article The "Hidden" Costs of Property Development.

Now it's time to think about what it's going to cost to build the dwellings you want to build on the site. This is the point at which being an Area Expert becomes really important. You need to know who is buying in the area, and what type of dwelling they want. This is critical, and far too often Developers don't take this into consideration when doing their feasibility, and either over-capitalise or build a product that's just not right for the market and so can't achieve the required sale prices.

So let's take a look at how to go about doing that, without blowing your budget.
Using a Buyer's Agent - the Pros and Cons
Buyer's Agents are a relatively new idea in Australia, but their presence in the property space is rapidly growing. Initially they specialised mostly in niche, high value markets such as industrial and commercial real estate, more recently they’ve moved into the residential space.

So what do they do? Essentially, they work on your behalf to buy a property. For many developers they're an important part of their "dream team" - a piece of the puzzle that can be outsourced to someone other than yourself.

Sounds great, right? Well, up to a point, yes. But there's a lot more to the decision of using a Buyer's Agent that you need to think about before picking up a phone and offloading a chunk of your property finding tasks to someone else.
Auctions: Don't Put Off Until Tomorrow What You Can Do Today
Lord Tennyson famously wrote “In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love…!” When it comes to real estate, that could be rewritten as something more like "In the spring, real estate agents start to drool at the thought of all those lovely auctions!"

Once only the darling of Sydney and Melbourne’s inner suburbs, during the pandemic the love of auctions has spread far and wide, despite the fact that many have been conducted online.

In some ways this is understandable - many agents have been unable to conduct home inspections during lockdowns, or have been severely restricted in how inspections can be conducted. The old days of giving the vendor a ring and popping over 30 minutes later with a prospective buyer vanished.

So auctions made sense. A couple of carefully controlled open for inspections if allowed, a short campaign, an auction, done. Given the scarcity of listings on the market, it worked gangbusters.

But then an interesting statistic started to emerge - the number of properties that sell prior to auction is remarkably high. How high, I hear you ask? Why? And how can I turn that to my advantage?

I'm glad you asked!
Property Development: How To Succeed Without Really Trying
I often ask people 'how's life?', and if I had to pick one of the most common answers, it would be "busy". It's almost become a competitive sport, trying to prove you're busier than everybody else you know. Which means, that the last thing anybody wants (well, unless they're REALLY competitive) is to add another thing to their already overflowing plate in the form of becoming a Property Developer.

Then they look at the types of returns you can earn from a profitable property development, and they want a piece of that. So they dip a toe in the water, start learning what's involved and realise the water is really cold, and they don't like cold water. Maybe it's the research, crunching the numbers, or as anybody who's been to one of our Meetups and watched a Real Deal presentation knows, the conveyor belt of problems you need to solve.

So they're stuck on the edge of the pool, knowing they want to jump in because they want to get to what's on the other side, but also knowing they haven't got the time or inclination to learn how to swim and wishing there was a way to just jump in a boat and get across.

What's the solution? I'm glad you asked....
Development: Getting the Biggest Bang For Your Buck
Getting your feasibility as accurate as you possibly can is a big part of being a successful Property Developer. Otherwise you risk taking on a project where the return is too low. Even worse, any profit you might make gets swallowed up very quickly if things don't quite go according to plan.

Most people focus heavily on the costs side of their feasibility - site acquisition, build cost, site works etc. And don’t get me wrong, all of these numbers are hugely important in your feasibility, but…

There's another side to your feasibility, and it's one where making the wrong assumptions is really going to hurt.
Building: How to Tighten Your Belt
It's everywhere right now - costs of building have risen and timeframes have blown out, mostly due to issues with timber supply. Builders working on razor thin margins are in trouble.

It would be easy to use this as an excuse to stay away from developing, but although it's worrying, it doesn't need to stop you in your tracks.

Instead, what you need to do is get smarter as a Developer, and look for ways to ensure the money you spend is spent wisely. You might still have issues along the way, but if you take the time to focus on the numbers, you can do a lot to ensure your project doesn't run over budget.

Let's take a look at the 3 main areas which provide lots of potential to save money.
Learning the Lingo: Standard vs Non-Standard Connections
Doing your due diligence, and in particular, your feasibility, is when you make the decision to either proceed with a deal or toss it out. As I often say - just because it's developable, doesn't mean it's profitable. So getting those numbers as close to accurate as you can is a vital part of the process.

Two lines in the feasibility that you need to pay careful attention to are sewer and water connection costs. Why? Because the cost difference between a standard and non-standard connection can be substantial, and you don't want to underestimate the potential cost if it's non-standard.

Which raises the obvious question - what's the difference between standard and non-standard connections?
How To Piss Off Your Council in 5 Easy Steps
Property Developers are a very diverse bunch, and when you get a group of them together you might think it would be hard to find much else they have in common. But if you want the group to unite as one, usually with a collective groan, all you need to do is mention dealing with local Councils.

Love 'em or hate 'em (and let's face it, Developers tend to hate them!) Councils are a necessary piece of the puzzle, and as a Property Developer you need to find a way to play nice.

And while you can't always prevent problems dealing with your Council, there are 5 basic things that are guaranteed to piss them off, so avoiding those is a good place to start.
You're a Developer? Welcome to the Neighbourhood…
If you spend time chatting to experienced Property Developers, eventually the war stories will begin to emerge.

For example, the neighbour, a retired lawyer, with time on his hands who decided to make it his mission in life to make sure the Developer's project never got off the ground...

Okay, this is one of the more extreme examples, but I can assure you that there are plenty of variations with a similar theme.

Basically, when someone finds out the house next door is about to get knocked down and replaced with some shiny new dwellings, they're pissed off. The future is clear - goodbye to their peace and quiet. Goodbye to all the trees on the site, further eroding the green leafiness of the area. Goodbye to all their privacy thanks to windows overlooking their private space.

Now I'm pissed off on their behalf! Seriously, though, given all the downsides for the locals, it's hardly surprising that news of your development isn't going to make them happy. But what can you do about that?
Why You Need a Portfolio of Positive Cashflow Property for Financial Freedom...
The average property investor has one, maybe two properties and they’re both negatively geared.

This means the money you make renting those properties out doesn’t cover the expenses associated with holding that property – the interest on the loan, the property management, the repairs and maintenance, the insurance, rates and strata levies.

Sure, you can claim these expenses on your annual tax return, but you’ve needed to work hard to pay those bills in the first place. Negatively-geared property does not put money in your pocket on a week-to-week basis.

I did 20 years of buy and hold negative gearing and it was a VERY slow and cumbersome way to create wealth. You work, you buy a property, you hold that property until you have enough equity to go again. Meanwhile you work some more, and eventually you buy another property. You hold.

You get the picture...

I was on my way to retirement when I got divorced and found myself right back at square one with 20 years of hard work down the drain. I had to start all over again, only this time I didn’t want to wait another two decades to reach retirement.

I knew there had to be another way, a faster way.

And for me, it boiled down to Property Development and the positive cashflow it could help me generate.

I learnt to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.
Development Dilemma…Should I ‘Future Proof’ My Builds?
One thing that has definitely emerged from the COVID pandemic is people are asking a lot more of the homes they live in. Overnight they became offices, schoolrooms and more - and many existing homes failed to deliver.

This heightened focus on our living spaces and how adaptable they are has led many to start looking for homes that demonstrate flexibility for what may come in the future. In other words, how future-proof are they?

As Developers, we want our offering to stand out in the marketplace - so is future-proofing a key benefit you can offer potential purchasers? And what does this look like?
The Big Question...
Project Builder or Custom Builder?

You've done your due diligence, your feasibility stacks up, you've gone ahead and bought a development site - and now you need to decide who's going to build your project once the Development Application goes through.

One of the first questions you need to answer in making this decision is whether you want to go with one of the big project builders, or a smaller custom builder. There's ‘pros and cons’ to both choices, so let's dive in and take a closer look.
Learning the Lingo:
Let's Talk Dirty

When you get into the business of property development, it can often feel like a huge amount of money and time disappears before anything even happens on site. That big block of dirt can hide a multitude of sins.

Some problems are easy to spot, such as an acid sulfate soil overlay. Others may only come to light when a soil test is done. There's also different types of soil classification which can affect the types of foundations you need to build.

So many potential costs and complications are hidden beneath that innocent patch of dirt! Time to talk dirty so that you understand what your experts are telling you and can factor the likely remedial measures into your feasibility.
Desperately Seeking Money Partners?
When I ask the question "What's stopping you from doing a development deal right now?", there are a few answers I hear a LOT. The most common ones?

  • I don't have any money
  • I don't have enough money
  • No money
  • I can't get a loan
  • The bank won't lend me enough money

Rephrase it however you like, essentially it comes down to people believing they can't become a Developer without a bank account packed full of cash and access to massive loans from a bank.

And yet reality is very different. Reality is full of people with money and serviceability who would love to become Property Developers, but just don't have the time or knowledge to do it.

All that needs to happen is for the person with time and expertise to partner up with a person with money and boom! It's a Property Development match made in HEAVEN!

And I can tell you exactly what the person in front of me is going to say next...
Analysis Paralysis...
Harnessing Your Thoughts Into Action

I hate housework. I'm not ashamed to admit that. And one of the biggest reasons I hate it is because it never seems to end. You clean up one thing, it makes the bit next to it look dirty. So you clean that bit. Then the next bit. And by the time you get to the end, you have to start over.

Analysis paralysis is very similar. You start looking for data in order to make a decision. But then you think you need this next bit of data. And maybe you'd better check something else, and before you know it you're a long way down the rabbit hole, spinning in circles. Making a decision at that point seems impossible - you need more information!

The first step in conquering analysis paralysis is to know you have it. Once you've identified it, then you can do something about it. So let's take a look at how to do both those things.
The Importance of Building a Great Team
Property Development is a team sport.

It’s not impossible to find success by going it alone, but it’s hard to be supremely successful. One of the expressions I've heard that I think fits very well is:

“If you want to go fast, go by yourself. If you want to go far, go with others.”

Great individuals don’t automatically make a great team. You can have the best Architect on earth and the best Town Planner on earth but if they don’t get along, you’re probably going nowhere.

I’m a huge rugby supporter, and I know that my team has a much better chance of winning when the players are working together. No matter what sport you love, you probably know a great team will always beat a great set of individuals. A team of nobodies can be a team of somebodies if they all act together.

A great team is crucial for successful Property Development.

But here’s the million-dollar question: How do you know who to pick for your team?
Property Settlements...
Porsche Not Included

Settlement. It's one of the major milestone days in property.

It can be the source of lots of funny stories about what Vendors take or leave behind, along with lengthy discussions about whether what happened was legal or not.

Why is it that a dishwasher gets left behind in one house, but not the next? They're both dishwashers, for crying out loud! And what about all the piles of junk in the garage - why are they still there? Settlement is tomorrow!

What should happen at settlement is occasionally not what actually happens in reality, so it's time to take a journey into the wonderful world of fixtures, fittings, goods and chattels.

That way when you walk into your new property and discover they've changed the chandelier for a $5 light fitting, you'll at least know whether the Vendor has done the wrong thing or not.

Being able to do something about it? Well, that might be a different story...
From Trashed Old House to Pot of Gold
You did it!

You bought a development site, you've gone through the process of getting your development approved, and all that remains now is to demolish the trashed old house on the site and get going.

Or is it? That daggy old house and site might be able to put some extra cash in your pocket - you just have to look at it through a different pair of eyes.
Attract Finance Partners Like Bees to Honey
One of the expressions I hear a lot in the Property Development space is essentially: if you find the deal, the money will come.

Sounds great, right?

In theory, yes, it does. But reality looks a little different.

Most development deals involve a lot of money, and very few Finance Partners are going to hand their money over to a Property Developer without some pretty major due diligence first.

Which means that if you're the one with a cracker deal and you need an Investor, waving the deal around in the air and saying "here it is, come and get it!" definitely isn't going to cut it.

So what do you need to do if you want an Investor to seriously consider investing in the deal you've found?
Is Your Development Site Rubbish?
There are lots of things to take into consideration when either assessing a development site or designing a multi-res development. Many of them are obvious, some a little less so, and one of them... well, it's often a dirty, hidden secret.

I'm talking about bins.

Bins? I hear you ask.

Don't the Council just deliver them when everything's built and finished, for the new residents to use? Why should I be thinking about bins when I'm still in the due diligence stage?

And yet bins (or more accurately, rubbish collection services) have the potential to completely derail your development plans, so you need to be thinking about them right from day one.
Earn As You Learn: How to Have Your Cake and Eat it Too
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a newbie Property Developer is to rush things. I understand how it happens - all of a sudden you realise you've discovered the ‘Holy Grail’ of financial freedom, and the desire to jump straight in, boots and all, and become a millionaire in five minutes, is hard to resist…

But there's a very good reason that the first thing we do in my Property Development Formula course is a 5-year Property Action Plan. You could jump ahead to the cakey bits by buying a cake at the bakery, but learning to bake the cake yourself means you can have cake even when the shops are shut.

Right now, you're probably scratching your head and wondering if I'm mixing my metaphors and the cake is going to be fish-flavoured! The thing is, baking a delicious cake takes time. You need to buy the right ingredients and learn the necessary skills. And in today's world a lot of us are short on time and money, so potentially waiting a couple of years before we get the recipe right isn't appealing.

The good news is there is a way to get paid while you're learning to become a ‘Master Baker’...
‘Highest AND Best Use’…What Should I Build?
Deciding exactly what to build on your chosen site is a big deal. The wrong choice can dramatically impact your profits as a Property Developer and the right choice can provide a big leap forward in your quest for ‘financial freedom’.

The zoning might allow a whole range of uses, from detached townhouses to multi-storey apartments. Perhaps you’re allowed to include a commercial component where you can install a café or another small business owner. Or maybe your neighbourhood could support either a mid-range or premium product and you’re not sure which way to go.

Well, there’s a way to simplify the decision-making process. It centres around the highest and best use for your site. Let me explain...
Learning the Lingo - Let's Talk Titles
When is a ‘freehold title’ not a ‘freehold title’?

When it's a Torrens title!

Okay, we're really getting into the realms of bad Property Development jokes here (which seem to be closely related to dad jokes, interestingly enough...), but there's no doubt it's important to understand the different types of titles that exist in Australia.

And even more importantly, the way different states take great delight in having different names for the very same thing!

The good news is that, just in the way a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, titles may have different names, but they achieve the same thing - they document ownership of a property.
To Tree Or Not To Tree - Is That The Question?
When you sit down and chat with Property Developers, it's almost inevitable that the conversation will turn to trees. It seems almost anyone who's developed a few properties has a tree story to tell.

You soon start to understand why the first thing most Developers want to do is clear a site of every single tree, bush and plant, leaving nothing but bare earth.

But is this always the best approach? And is it even allowed?
If The Deal's Good Enough, The Money Will Come...Or Will It?
When you've been around the property development space as long as I have, then one thing's for certain - you'll have heard the phrase "if the deal's good enough, the money will come", or something similar, more times than you can poke a stick at.

The idea is that when you find a cracker of a deal, money partners will suddenly come swarming out of nowhere with big wads of cash in their hands, wanting to get in on the action. And while I certainly agree that investors will definitely want to get involved if the numbers for your deal stack up, it's time for a reality check - they don't magically appear...

But I have good news - it's possible to create a situation where you CAN wave the equivalent of a magic wand and have money partners appear for your deals.
Getting On The Fast Track To Development Profits
For budding Property Developers, one of the "hidden" expenses they often don't take into consideration is holding costs...

Given that developing a property can take anything from months to years, it's a cost that can go from being relatively small to suddenly chewing up a lot of your profit.

In some states the planning process is reasonably well-defined and efficient, so you can have a fairly good idea of how long it's going to take, and allow for an appropriate level of holdings costs in your feasibility.

And then there are states (and I'm looking at you, Victoria!) where the planning process can be excruciatingly slow and completely throw all your timelines out the window.

So if I were to tell you there's a way to fast track your development approval, giving you confidence when allocating holding costs and enabling you to reach your profit goals quicker, would you be interested?
The ‘How And WHY’ Of Building Rapport With Agents
Real Estate Agents get a bad wrap...

They regularly rate among the least trusted professions, most recently in Roy Morgan’s 2021 Annual Image of Professions survey. This survey takes a look at 30 professions and ranks them on honesty and ethics. For the fourth year in a row agents ranked in the bottom three, only marginally higher than advertising people and car salesmen.

But despite their terrible reputation, Agents are super-important to our success as Developers. More often than not you’ll have to work with Agents to buy and sell the properties you develop and it makes sense to have a handful of Agents on your side, not only working with you, but working for you.

What exactly do I mean by that?
Choosing the Right Property Manager
It’s Not Just About Price!
You did it. You trusted the process, you followed all the steps, and you've reached the point in your property development journey when you can start holding one or more properties for ongoing income.

Which gives you a new challenge - finding a great property manager!

Most real estate agencies nowadays have a property management division. That's hardly surprising, as the rent roll provides a steady flow of income to smooth out the hills and valleys of sales income for an agency. It's tempting to just hand the property management of your property over to the agency you bought the property through, or the one you used for selling other dwellings in your development.

But that could be a big mistake….
Hiding in Plain Sight...
The "Hidden" Costs of Property Development
I often say, just because it can be done, doesn’t mean it should be done – and doing your numbers is a big part of making the decision about whether to go ahead or not.

But what if I were to tell you that one of the biggest mistakes I see in feasibilities (and I see a lot!) is hiding in plain sight?

Do you want to take a guess at what the biggest hidden cost is….?

Now, if you went for something in the general category of taxes, that’s a good start – land tax, GST and Council contributions, to name a few, are often overlooked by developers. But they’re not top of the list.

Give up yet? Okay, I’ll tell you – the number one hidden cost of development is….
How Do I Decide Which Development To Do? 
You may have heard me say that 90% of the sites out there that are developable are not profitable. My “Rough Cut Feaso” methodology is one way to make short work of finding the 10% of sites that are profitable. But what happens when you find two or more development sites with clear upside? How do you choose between deals?

The key is to figure out which deal will make the most amount of money, for the least amount of hassle, in the least amount of time.
Do You Feel the Need ... For Speed? My Favourite ‘Quick Cash’ Deals
A lot of Property Developers can empathise with Dom, from The Fast & The Furious movie franchise, when he says "I said a ten second car, not a ten minute car!"

The reality of property development is that deals can take a while. And there are periods where there's not a lot going on, because you're waiting for "stuff" to happen.

Alternatively, you may be ready to step up to bigger deals, but need a little more cash in the bank to make that happen.

Either way, maybe it's time to consider a quick cash deal to fill in the gaps of time, money, or both. So let's take a look at my 3 favourite ways to earn Quick Cash using your property development skills.
Why You Need A ‘Success Mindset’ To Be A Successful Property Developer
Don’t know the difference between a splitter and a sub-division? You can still be a Property Developer.

Got no building experience? You can still be a Property Developer.

Got no money? You can still be a Property Developer.

Holding fast to a whole set of limiting beliefs? Hmmmmm.

This is where there’s a good chance you’ll come unstuck.

I'd been running weekend courses for quite some time, teaching people the “how to” of property development, before I realised there was a common obstacle stopping a lot of people from moving forward.

It was the six inches between their two ears that was holding them back. Many people just didn’t have the right mindset: a Success Mindset.

People think mindset is this vague, fuzzy thing, that it’s got no substance, when in actual fact it’s responsible for 50 percent of our journey.

The practical reality of being a Developer is that we make money by solving problems, yet we need to be prepared that some problems can’t be solved. And when you’re dealing with problems all day, every day, it can get you down.

So when you get knocked down, you’re going to need something to motivate you to get back up. And that something is completely under your control – it’s your mindset.
The ‘Stitch in Time’ Principle in Property Development
You probably know the old proverb "a stitch in time saves nine". Essentially, it means doing something small now will save you a whole lot of headaches later.

One of the biggest wastes of time and money when you're developing is having to make multiple amendments to your Council application. So if you can get it right the first time you apply, you save yourself the hassle of continually altering plans and resubmitting them, using up valuable time and potentially adding to your holding costs.

As a result, in property development the best stitch in time you can make is to have a pre-lodgement meeting with Council about your planned development. And if possible, you should have the meeting during your due diligence period.

So what can you do to make your stitch count for nine, or maybe even a few more?
Will Getting A DA Give Me Instant Uplift?
There's a common misconception in the industry that a development application (DA) will give you an instant uplift in the value of a property. I'm here to tell you that in many, many instances, that simply isn’t the case.

I've even seen instances where obtaining a DA has actually been detrimental to the property’s price because it's given insights into a property that have highlighted some issues and challenges.

On the flip side, I’ve also seen instances where obtaining a DA has produced a very handsome profit, so it’s a valid strategy. You can buy a site, put in a development application and then flick the property once it’s approved. Maybe you don't have the confidence or the money to take it all the way through to construction. Luckily, there are others who don't want the risk of the development approval stage. They want to buy a DA-approved site and take that through to construction and completion. Again, a perfectly valid strategy.

Knowing those two kinds of people actually exist, you've got to make sure that each person is going to get fed in the food chain, and still leave enough money on the table for the next person. So how much is that?

Well, that's the million-dollar question…
How Do I Choose A Builder? - Key Tips You Need To Consider
Doing a new build soon? Then you’ll be needing a Builder.

But don’t just pick the first available Builder – it has to be someone you can trust.

A ‘speculative’ build can be a relatively low risk strategy: pick up a block of land, add a house to it and then sell it as a finished product. But to limit the time frame and maximise your profit you need to feel confident your Builder is at the top of his/her game.

You’ll want to find someone who is easy to deal with and good at problem solving. Because there will always be problems!

There are two main choices: Project Builders and Custom Home Builders.
Financial Freedom – What Exactly Is It And How Do I Get It?
When you ask people why they’re interested in becoming a Property Developer, they always say financial freedom. But when you ask them what that looks like, they’re often distracted by someone else’s concept of financial freedom.

How many times have you come across slick marketing material with a property spruiker leaning on their Ferrari or Porsche promising you the world on the next get-rich-quick scheme? I can't believe how many times I've actually seen that out there! They’re promising luxury mansions and fast cars and around the world holidays, and sure, these schemes all look very attractive....

But I want to call bullshit on that…

Because to me, financial freedom is a much simpler beast.

It’s about creating enough passive income to cover all of your expenses so that your day job is optional.
Property Development Success - ‘The Golden Triangle’
It's pushing the memory banks a bit, but some of you may remember an American sit-com called "Married With Children". In the theme song, it talks about love and marriage, and says "you can't have one without the other".

Which got me thinking about Property Development. A lot of the people I talk to view it as a very linear process - you buy a property, you do something to it to make it worth more, then you sell or hold the end result. A line.

But I believe successful property developments occur in the form of a triangle.
What’s The Deal With Commercial Loans And When Will I Need To Get One?
For anyone who hasn't done much in the way of Property Development, the concept of commercial lending is probably a bit vague. Most of us rely on residential lending.

But when you get into development there’s a good chance that as your projects scale up in size, you’ll eventually scale into commercial lending. The good news is that unlike standard residential loans, the terms for commercial property loans are often negotiable.

But before we break down the key differences between residential and commercial, let's take a quick look at what both you and the lender need to think about when it comes to loans.
Driveway Crossovers -
Don't Wait To Reach That Bridge Before Crossing It!

I talk a lot about finding sites that are both developable and profitable, because a strategy that works in one area might be a dud in another. It's the reason I developed my ‘Rapid Elimination Method’.

A standard ‘rookie’ mistake however, is to look at the size of the lot, look at the Council guidelines around lot sizes, do some maths and assume you will automatically be able to create that many new properties.

Reality is a little different, and it's often what's going on out the front of your property that's your biggest hurdle to developing a site.

So let's take a closer look at the humble driveway and surrounds…
Why Are Vendors Like Clothes Shopping?
Have you ever noticed that dealing with Vendors is a bit like clothes shopping?

People tend to fall into two camps when it comes to clothes shopping - love it or hate it.

There are certain stereotypes around this, generally that women love clothes shopping and men hate it. And yet I know quite a few people who don't fit those stereotypes at all...

Well, it's the same with Vendors.

I talk a lot about working with Vendors to get special terms and conditions for a sale. Whenever I do, I can almost guarantee someone will say "But why would a Vendor do that? Wouldn't they just want to sell their property the normal way? It's so much easier."

And they're right - a lot of Vendors don’t want to do something different - they fit the stereotype. But that's where you have to be wary of falling into the trap of assuming all Vendors are the same...
Wreck-It Rob Is On The Job
Go on, admit it. There's nothing quite like the sight of a bulldozer hard at work, demolishing an old house. The crack of timber, that last dizzying moment just before the final upright beam falls. It's even better when it's your very own development site.

BUT...before you get on the phone to the demolition company, STOP!

Timing the demolition of a house is a decision that requires preparation, both in terms of things you need to do, and in deciding the best timing as part of your strategy.

And as a sideline? If you or someone else is removing the existing house from the site, rather than demolishing it, it's still classed as a demolition and the steps below will still need to be followed.

So let's dig a little deeper on this…
Should It Stay or Should It Go?
You've done the learning. You've done your research. And now you've found a cracker of a site. With a house on it. What now? Should you keep the house or get rid of it?

That's a question I get asked a lot, and the problem is, it falls into the "how long is a piece of string?" category of question. Because the answer is inevitably "it depends"...

So let's take a look at the various things "it depends" needs to tick off before you can make a decision...
Vendor Financing 101
So you’ve found a great development site.

It ticks all the boxes for delivering a profitable project. You’ve done your due diligence and you know you can get Council on board, the Builder lined up and the Buyers excited. It’s taken months of research and expert consultation.

But there’s one BIG problem.

You can’t get finance.

The banks have said no, your brother says no and your investment buddies don’t have any spare cash to send your way.

The property deal of the year is slipping through your fingers and it’s making you think this whole development caper is just too hard.

You could walk away. But I’ve got a better idea….

How about you get creative?

One of the strategies you’ll hear me talk about a lot is no (or low) money down deals. They’re a magical method for getting deals over the line when you don’t have enough of your own funds to put into the deal.

And one of the best no money down strategies is to get the Vendor to finance the deal directly...

How Do I Get Started In Property Development?
If I had a top 10 list of questions I get asked most often, then "How do I get started in Property Development?" would definitely be in the TOP 3, and possibly TOP of the list. Which is a good thing, as finding out what you don't know is better than just deciding it's too hard and not bothering to start.

So, do you want the good news or the good news? Okay, let's start with the good news...

Getting started in Property Development is easy if you have a process to follow. That’s why I developed my 'Rapid Elimination Method' for finding deals that are both developable and profitable.

4 Words Guaranteed to Strike Dread Into Your Heart - “One Size Fits All”
All vendors just want to sell their property the normal way, right? The human equivalent of “One Size Fits All.”

And yet we’ve all seen an item of clothing we like, picked it up, and discovered the dreaded "One Size Fits All" tag. We feel an immediate chill. Because although something like a scarf might manage to deliver on that promise, pretty much anything else won't. Humans vary too much in height, weight, shape, bone structure, and a whole lot more.

Vendors are much the same - in that they're not all the same size. I talk a lot about doing deals with no money down, and often that involves talking to the vendor about ways to get a deal across the line with their help.

That help can happen in many different ways, and there are 6 main ways that I share regularly. My 3 favourites, though, are vendor finance, delayed settlement with early access, and doing a joint venture with the vendor. I like these the best because they provide the opportunity to pay more for the property (which makes the vendor happy) without affecting profitability (which makes me happy!), thanks to the savings in holding costs .

Let's look at those one at a time...
Don't Give Up Your Day Job - Yet!
Financial Freedom. Don't you just love that phrase? I hear it a lot - mostly when I ask people what they want to achieve by becoming a property developer.

But there's a problem - what exactly IS financial freedom? And it's when I ask that question that people start to stammer, and look confused, and don't really know what to say. They’ve heard the phrase mentioned, they know they don’t want to work in their job anymore, but don’t have any actual numbers or plan to make that happen..

So let's take a look at what you need to do if you want to transition from your day job into property development...
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What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?
We constantly ask our kids what they want to be when they grow up, and the answers can be pretty amazing. But as adults, we don't often stop and think seriously about our dreams and goals.

I often ask people this sort of question, and given what I do, it's probably not surprising to find that the two most common answers I hear are "property developer" and "property investor".

And although you might think the two are interchangeable, it might surprise you even more to discover that they're actually quite different.

Let's take a look at the 5 main ways they differ...
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Why Can’t I Find A Site To Develop?
There’s a great Henry Ford quote you may have heard -
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

I’ve found this to be especially true when people are starting out in property development and they’re on the hunt for development sites.

Those who feel confident they’ll find a site put in the hard yards and, in due course they find a site. Those who are convinced they won’t find a site, and tell themselves there are no deals to be had for love or money, well, guess what? Somehow there are no opportunities. It’s basically a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Mindset is a key ingredient for success in any endeavour, it doesn’t matter if you’re an athlete, a CEO or a salesman. If you don’t believe you can do something it’s going to be truly difficult to get it done.

Sir Walter Scott believed that success or failure in business was more the result of mental attitude than mental capacity and I’m inclined to agree with him. That’s why the Property Developer Network has such a focus on the psychology side of the business....
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Help! How Do I Choose A Council To Farm?
If you’re going to make it as a property developer, you’ll need to be able to sell the blocks of land and new dwellings that you create. So you don’t want to take pot luck on location – you’ll want to take a careful look at which area has the most potential for success using your chosen development strategy.

You’ll quickly discover there are 537 councils in Australia, and because each council has its own rules and regulations, that means there are 537 different ways of executing your chosen development strategy.

Whether you intend to do sub-divisions or splitters, duplexes or townhouses, brownfield or greenfield development, the best way to maximise your opportunities is to choose one council and become an expert in the development rules of that council.

But how do you pick just one council when there are so many to choose from...?
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6 Mistakes Rookie Property Developers Make
I get it. Starting out as a property developer can be a scary thing, mostly because you don't know what you don't know. You know?

Seriously, though, it makes sense that if you haven't developed property before, there are lots of things you're going to come up against that you haven't faced before. And when you step out into unknown territory, there's the risk of making a mistake.

So I'm going to make it easier for you, and share the 6 mistakes rookie property developers make. That way you can leapfrog over all the other rookies who don't have a clue, and make sure you don't fall into any of the really basic potholes on the road to development success...
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"I've set myself a personal goal of setting 1,000 people financially free by the year 2030 through my education and mentoring programs.

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Rob Flux
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