Property development tips

Do you love buying and selling property, and are prepared to get your hands dirty? Then property developing could be for you. Read our top tips to find out.

Property developing can be a lucrative business if the project is planned thoroughly, but never stretch your finances and never underestimate the cost of a project. Read our top tips to help you on your way to becoming a successful property developer:

1. Investigate the market before you buy

Get to the know the sorts of buyers looking for property in your area. It's wise to develop a property with the profile of a potential buyer in mind. Look at websites such as
for a low-down on the local area, schools, crime statistics and average incomes. There would be no point developing a high-spec bachelor pad in a neighbourhood that's popular with young families as you would be limiting your market considerably.

2. Think about the investment

Look at other properties for sale in the area and see what newly renovated homes that are similar to yours are selling for. This will indicate if there is an investment to be made after the house has been finished. This will also indicate roughly how much you have to, or don't have, spend on the renovations work itself.

3. Set yourself a budget

Developing a property is different to buying something that you will be living in, and it's important not to make design decisions that are based on your style and taste. High-spec kitchens and bathrooms might look great but they will take an enormous chunk out of your budget and your target market won't pay extra for something they don't need like a coffee machine or limestone tiles. An affordable and practical design will be much more marketable and less likely to cost as much to install. Add a 20% contingency on top of your budget for unforeseen costs.

4. Find a reliable builder

Be realistic with your own skills and call in the professionals for jobs you can't tackle. A bodged job will only end up costing you more in the long term.

Working with a reliable builder is key to getting the job finished on time and within budget, and if you can project manage the renovations yourself, this will save you money and will help decisions to be made quickly.

Get quotes from builders to get the best price and try and see samples of their work to save so you know what level to expect.

Draw up a realistic time line of the work involved and try to stick to it as much as possible.

5. Make your property irresistible

Curb appeal is vitally important to get the buyer immediately interested, so clear rubbish and create a welcoming entrance.

Dress each room with borrowed, hired or good second hand furniture so that the buyer can easily visualise how each space is used. Keep schemes fresh and neutral, and don't go over board on design features as this may scare off buyers.