How to Become a Property Developer

Last updated 21st September 2020 • JaeVee MarketingJaeVee

Developer, Guide, Property

To get into property development; you must first decide on what kind you will be, compare the potential of opportunities and exit strategies, learn how to best leverage property development finance and go pro by diversifying a property portfolio.

It can seem as though getting into property development is a sure thing. Buy a run down house, do it up on the weekends and sell on for a profit, or don your landlord hat and reap in the rental yields each month.

Despite popular TV shows making it look simple, there are questions that need to be answered.

Property Development Guide

 

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Where do first time property developers start?

Prepare yourself to be patient and to work hard; many property developers maintain a full time job during their projects, backing themselves up as to have a regular income.

You will need to assess the pros and cons for each company structure, depending on your circumstances and experience levels.

Setting up a property development company

When you're getting into property development for the first time, you will need to ask yourself if you will do this:

  • As a sole trader
  • As as business partnership
  • As a limited company, etc.

As an example, setting up and registering as a limited company has its own advantages, such as being able to claim against tax for costs and materials.

Weighing up the pros and cons

It may be worth noting that a limited company structure, making you a company director, could affect things you might not expect like child tax credits, general benefits, the way you receive your income and so on. Each avenue needs to be thoroughly explored when you're getting on the road to becoming a successful property developer.

Plan, plan and plan again

Make a business plan of your short and long goals, aims, potential costs, income and any other factors that need to be considered.

Your plan should encompass all of the research and knowledge you have of your given strategy and the area you are operating in.

Your chosen path should be at the centre of your plan as well as weighing up all of the risks.

Once you have determined how you're going to move forward, be it on your own as a sole trader, with a partner or as a limited company, then the next stage of your journey is to research and understand the variety of development opportunities at your disposal.

Sourcing profitable projects

There are so many angles you can take as a property developer or property entrepreneur to source property development opportunities.

Infinite possibilities.

What's your local area like? (amenities, transport links, economy etc.)

Are you able to convert some run-down premises into a high yielding HMO development?

  • Is there a run down office block in your town or neighbourhood which could be used as a commercial conversion and transformed into serviced apartments?
  • Can you gain the planning in your area?

It's important, especially on your first development, to have clear direction and a road map of how you're going to approach your given opportunity and consider what exit strategy you're going to use.

The most popular development strategy for many first timers is the typical residential buy to let. This is where one buys a residential property with intent to let it out for tenants to live in.

Some larger properties can be made into HMO's (Houses with Multiple Occupancy) which means you double down on your income and generate multiple rental incomes each month.

You could also buy a house, renovate it, and sell it quickly to make a speedy profit, otherwise known as a 'flip', or 'property flipping'.

Think outside the box

Commercial properties can be purchased and made into residential properties.

Other options include buying land to sell onto a developer, or buying land to build a development from the ground up.

You could even build a second home on your property, a value adding extension or knock it all down and go bigger.

The doors open the more you consider your options and keep your wits about you. Empower yourself to make highly informed decisions by ensuring you're educated and equipped with the knowledge it takes to create and seize opportunities as opposed to sit and wait for them.

To summarise: If you're getting into property development for the first time, you must have a clear idea of the type of development projects you would like get into and research potential outcomes and options thoroughly.

Talk to Estate agents, investors, financial experts, councillors, builders and property strategists.

JaeVee may be able to help you get started with any project development ideas that you get.

Browse online

Use online sites and tools as well as estate and letting agent’s local knowledge to gain invaluable research on the market, the upcoming areas, planning permission applications and rental prices.

This should be reflected in your business plan.

Learn who your target market is (as it will differ geographically) and what is in demand in the local area.

Choosing finance

It might be said that no experience is needed to become a property developer. One simple ingredient is a critical; money and development finance.

You need to ask yourself whether you have the finances to get into property development for the first time.

  • Do you understand enough about how the financials work behind a property development? - Could you put down a big deposit or qualify for a mortgage?
  • Would you be successful in applying for a bridging loan?
  • Have you incorporated Stamp Duty Land Tax into your workings?

How to finance your first property project

Within your plan, you should feature how you plan to fund your property developments.

Few will have the cash to buy the property outright which means you will need to look into leveraging debt so you will need to know what development finance options are available to you.

Seek financial advice from a professional and together you can explore buy to let mortgages, bridging loans, development finance and commercial term loans.

When you work with JaeVee, we provide 100% of the funding in the form of a joint venture therefore taking care of the funding side leaving you to concentrate on finding profitable property development opportunities.

Be patient

It can take 6-18 months to see a visible return on your investment in the property industry.

  • Can you handle a long-term investment?
  • Have you factored into your budget all potential expenses and scenarios?
  • If the construction work took longer than expected, what are the financial ramifications of this?
  • What if you needed more materials for construction due to inaccurate planning?

Do your maths

With simple maths, you can factor in all of the fees and extra costs, the taxes and payments that go with buying and selling or renting out a house.

These costs may include;

  • Purchase of property
  • Paying builders and materials
  • Changing utilities and services
  • Decorating the property
  • Insurances
  • Solicitor fees
  • Legal fees
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax Hiring tradesmen or materials to make it liveable.

A quantity surveyor, an architect, a contractor... the list is expandable.

Can you really afford to have the property sit empty?

What happens if the tenants in the property cannot afford to pay the rent and you have an outstanding mortgage to pay?

If the market fluctuates will your investment really hold out? There are a lot of costs involved, and you will need to rely on profit from the rental yield (the income from rent each month) or capital gains once the property has had value added to it and you sell it on for a profit.

Know your tax

There are many types of taxes and reliefs that you need to know about in advance:

  • There are buy to let tax implications, such as the HMRC viewing rental income as a form of income and subject to the relevant tax band.
  • If you are buying property to sell on then you will be subject to capital gains tax and of course stamp duty.

Why diversify

One of the most spoken about steps you need to take to be an expert property developer is to diversify your portfolio.

Start by looking at different types of property, different opportunities such as commercial or industrial properties to minimise your losses and gain experience.

The skills required to become a property developer

You’ve watched the right programmes, you’ve read all the blogs and now you feel that you can make the leap into property development. But, what skills do you really need to becoming a property mogul?

Multitasking

You really do need the skill of multitasking as the likelihood is that you will be spinning a few plates at the same time when managing a property development project.

Keep calm

Do you worry? Or get stressed easily? One of the main skills you need to become a property developer is that you can keep a cool head during high pressure situations. Never get too high, or too low.

Numbers

Do you have a basic handle on numbers?

A key skill in becoming a property developer is to keep the numbers in check and be able to produce various financial reports on expenses to the relevant parties.

Know the right price

Quite simply, in property you make money when you buy.

It is essential that you learn how to get a property at the right price.

If you get it wrong, the results could be catastrophic.

Don’t allow emotions to cloud your judgement and stick to the ceiling price.

Handwriting

Filling a form out may not seem like a skill, but realising the legalities and obtaining the correct forms for licences and planning permissions is.

Communication

You will likely need to communicate with a number of people and good management skills are essential.

Sales

Fancy yourself a budding salesperson? Or a marketing whizz? You will certainly needs these skills in becoming a property developer because ultimately you will need to sell or rent properties to achieve exit strategies.

Project management

You will need to oversee a number of projects from renovations to expenses and much more so it is essential that you have the skills to project manage. You will also need to be a team player and work well with others.

Budget

When you get paid do you spend it all in a day? Or are you a keen saver? Being able to control your finances, keep to budget and keep track of your expenses is a necessary skill in becoming a property developer.

Hard work

It goes without saying that one of the fundamental skills of property development is hard work. Long hours both on and off site and sometimes in conjunction with your other obligations as well.

Entrepreneurial

You will certainly need to demonstrate some entrepreneurial skills should you choose to go into property development, an understanding of the economic market and some business savvy too.

Recommended property courses and finance

Your Property Partner - JaeVee; has designed online property courses that enable you to learn at your own pace in a way that you want; whether watching videos, reading text or listening to audio books.

Once you’re able to source and present profitable property development projects, don’t forget that JaeVee offers 100% joint venture equity finance.

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