How to Source Property Development Opportunities

Last updated 29th June 2022 • JaeVee MarketingJaeVee

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It’s safe to say without securing a property development opportunity for the right price, you won't get anywhere too fast.

One can expect when buying on market to be competing with others, ultimately resulting in paying over the odds!

The most successful property developers looking for sites (believe it or not) tend to find properties without using estate agents…

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Here’s a few snippets to help you along your way:

Keep it local

local property development opportunities

Focus on an area that has strong economic outlook and learn everything there is to know about it…

What’s the current housing stock made up of?

Where’s the most affluent areas?

Where are the offices or schools with excellent ofsted ratings?

Get driving

explore your area for property development opportunities

As inconvenient as it may be, you will need to jump in your car to find property development opportunities!

That pen and pencil comes in handy when writing down the addresses of potential deals, or perhaps, use the good ol’ iPhone to save ‘Notes’.

Be known

make yourself known to property estate agents for leads

Whilst out and about in your car, stop off at the estate agency branches and go talk property…!

You never know they might give you some ideas about up and coming areas yet to be taken advantage of by other developers!

Get creative

think outside of the box to find property development opportunities

There are a number of avenues you can explore that are a great source of property development opportunities but they do require you to get a bit creative.

Repossessed housing needs to be sold quickly and within a set time frame which could lead to a good deal being negotiated.

Short lease properties, problem properties, those that may seem dirty or have been on the market for a long time and those close to the stamp duty threshold could all be explored as sources for property development opportunities.


source property development opportunities from auctions

A great way to source property development opportunities is to go to a property auction.

You can normally get hold of the catalogue beforehand so you can do the necessary research before you enter the auction room, despite a good price it may be a problem area, or have bad neighbours which will mean it will be hard to rent out or sell down the line.

Lots of diverse property types might be listed; those that are ready to go, some that need renovating or refurbishing as well as land development opportunities.

Go in with a fixed idea of the price you are willing to pay and try not to get to carried away with the theatrics of the auction.

The last thing you’d want to do is enter into a bidding war that you may live to regret!

Professional referrals

professional referrals for sourcing property development opportunities

Use existing and new contacts as a source to get ahead in the game with upcoming property development opportunities. Solicitors, councillors, estate agents and other professionals will be some of the first to be aware of the new opportunities and can then pass this valuable information to you!

Property Sourcers

A professional property sourcer will have a number of property developments at any one time.

Buy to lets, HMO’s (Housing with Multiple Occupancy) and development opportunities ready to go which can save a lot of time and hassle for yourself.

They will charge a fee for this service (usually 2% of the purchase price).

This will need to be weighed up against the convenience.

However, a professional company or individual can be a great source for property development opportunities.

Gone are the old fashioned days where you would scour the estate agent window or newspaper property pages.

There are a number of new sources of property development opportunities that you can utilise to your own gain, and they’re improving all the time.

The Four Best Kept Property Development Secrets

property development secrets

All property investors and developers want to know the secrets that will put them ahead of the competition when finding new opportunities that are hidden to all but the smartest of property experts.

We've compiled the top four secrets used for unearthing opportunities to diversify portfolio power.

Nimbus maps

You might be scratching your head at this one, but Nimbus Maps doesn’t have anything to do with Dumbledore.

Instead this is one of the most comprehensive search platforms for developers and investors in the UK.

Tried, tested and trusted by the industry, this offers a database of Ownership, Planning, Availability, Due Diligence, Company Structure and Off-Market site searching - providing practically everything you’d ever need to know about property investment and development opportunities all in one place.

If you still want more proof of the site’s reliability, it uses multiple data sources that have been verified as some of the best in the business, including: the Ordnance Survey, VOA, Environment Agency, Companies House, DEFRA and Experian.

Think infill

Infill, or spaces within residential developments that have been left unused, such as laundries and garages, offer huge opportunities.

This strategy is particularly favored by councils and private developers alike in London, so it's a good sign that this will soon be adopted cross country.

Infill refurbishment is a great opportunity to tackle the housing crisis, without having to commit a whole area to redevelopment.

This strategy also offers opportunities to develop on disused roads and office sites - unlocking these ‘hidden homes’ might be the key to unlocking your own property development potential.

Properties with prior planning permission

Okay, so we know it might sound obvious, but bear with us.

Using a property with planning permission that isn’t currently being advertised on the market will provide extra protection to your investment, whilst cutting through the costs and hassle of obtaining planning permission.

It means you’re empowered to work out your forecasted profits from an already reliable position.

Because these pre-primed properties are harder to find, sourcing one of these rare gems is a great way to find property development opportunities that will prove an excellent asset to your portfolio.

The competition for such properties is low, so you won’t be pitted against amateurs - you’ll just prove a great example of how property investment is done with savvy.

When looking for these, you’ll have to be careful. Check out all of the specifics of the permitted planning permission, so that you don’t fall into any traps like adding a conversion type that hasn’t been permitted.

You’ll also need to check how long the planning permission was secured for, and how long ago - so you don’t get caught out in the middle of conversion.

Industrial properties

Industrial properties can seem like a scary option for residential developers and investors.

But you shouldn’t fear this growing opportunity.

As an area where amateur investors and developers will probably be too scared to dabble in, industrial property provides a whole host of opportunity without the threat of competitors.

And it’s easier to do than you might have first thought.

The government’s permitted development (PD) regulations changed all the way back in October 2017 to allow for conversion from light industrial units into residential developments, using the prior approval process.

This is a step in the right direction to bridge the gap of the housing shortfall, and breathe new life into old properties that might have been sitting on the market for years.

Converting industrial buildings will provide a win win situation for the area, its residents - and you!

Still need some persuading?

These stunning conversions might provide you with the inspiration to kick start this strategy.

Top tip - find opportunities everywhere

Property might seem like a crowded game, with every viable plot of land or property snapped up by another investor or developer before you can even get a look in.

But if you’re clever and confident enough to break the mould and look for opportunities wherever you find yourself, then you’re already halfway there to becoming the expert you know you can be.

It’s all about researching outside the lines, finding areas with great potential before they become over saturated and turning potential threats into opportunities - just like UK investors advise to do with the cheaper properties Brexit provides the market with.

If you look hard enough, you can even find opportunities on your very own street!

Be on the lookout for new land and developments, hunker down to research up and coming areas, and track the progress of local developments.

Think big and be comfortable with taking calculated risks that could pay off with great capital gains or rental yield.

When you think you’ve found some great property development opportunities, why not contact the team here at JaeVee?

We’d love to hear from you to help turn your property dreams into a profitable reality.

Please note, this blog post is not to be considered as investment advice. We recommend you seek independent financial advice and conduct your own due diligence before making any investment.