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The 10 Steps to Development Success

brought to you by Reno Kings, Geoff Doidge & Justin Eslick


  1. The right site

Finding the right site can be harder than it looks, as everywhere you go you can be given wrong information and it can often be little things that make the difference between a highly profitable site and a nightmare!

The right site not only needs to be appropriately zoned, but will require minimum setbacks, needs to be able to be connected to sewer and be able to drain the stormwater from the site, as well as numerous other development killers.

Profit:  There are development bonuses available for the right site that are not often known, which could turn a site into a winner! Learn these bonuses and apply them to your situation.

Pitfall:  Just because a site it zoned for units, doesn’t necessarily mean it works for units!

Discover the key locations and situations where development bonuses can often be found and who gets it wrong a lot of the time – in one instance a site was purchased at 60% below the true market value because of this mistake!

For more information click here.

  1. The right strategy

Buy, build, sell or hold. What is your strategy?

Having a clear-cut strategy from the start can mean the difference between making money, or breaking the bank. Changing strategies during a development can be equally as disastrous.

All developers, regardless of their strategy and regardless of the property need to consult an accountant from the start and right through the course of a project. The advice you receive from them prior to purchasing a site can largely influence the profit (or lack thereof) at the completion of the project.

Profit:  Developers look too often only at a ‘buy and sell’ strategy. Do the numbers on a ‘buy and hold’ and see the multitude of potential benefits.

Pitfall:  If you develop your principal place of residence and don’t contact your accountant first... you could receive a nasty surprise!

At “Developing for Profit” Geoff Doidge will reveal how one small comment from Michael Matusik turned a break even ‘buy and sell’ development into an income producing ‘buy and hold’ development with great equity to boot.

Paul Eslick will also divulge his strategy on ’buying renovators to develop’.

For more information click here.

  1. The right structure

This goes hand in hand with the right strategy. Specific strategies work better in the long run with specific structures (i.e. purchasing entity).

The right structure is also required for asset protection. Think about it, the purchasing entity is buying initially a development site, but will eventually hold the whole development. The exposure can be far greater than people realise at the beginning.

Profit:  Have your strategy determined before you start looking and therefore have your structure in place, allowing you to quickly purchase sensational development sites!

Pitfall:  Your exposure is the value of the end product, not the initial purchase price.

Come to “Developing for Profit” and be educated by the solicitor who trains the Real Estate Institute of Queensland agents as well as a top class accountant who is also a qualified solicitor. You can’t get more qualified than that!

For more information click here.

  1. Feasibility

Carrying out a feasibility is one of the most important pieces of the development puzzle. There are two types of feasibilities that the Reno Kings use. The first is a Back of Envelope (BOE). This is one that they can do in under 10 minutes at the very start to know whether they should continue to look at a site or move onto the next. The second is a more detailed feasibility, which they start to use once the property is under contract. This second feasibility is very detailed and can take many hours to complete (and requires continual review throughout a project). It is not recommended you use this feasibility for every site you look at... you will end up spending a lot of wasted time on bad sites and in a hot market this can make all the difference! This is known as ‘analysis paralysis’.

The other main thing to remember when carrying out a feasibility is that there are reliable sources for costs and unreliable sources for costs. A builder, for example, can talk to you about the cost of construction but do not ask your builder how much council development charges are... these differ from site to site and are determined well before the builder becomes involved!

Profit:  Know the rough cost per dwelling for approvals, consultants, council charges and construction before you start looking. A quick buyer has these at their disposal and can quickly carry out a Back of Envelope Feasibility.

Pitfall:  Using your consultants to determine the construction cost is very unreliable. You must be speaking to builders and other developers.

Get the right costs from the right people. The “Developing for Profit” workshop speakers includes a quantity surveyor, a town planner a buyers agent and successful developers.

For more information click here.

  1. The team

Your team consists of many players. This is because each has very specific roles. Just like you wouldn’t ask the smallest man on a football team to perform the role of a big guy, you wouldn’t ask your accountant to provide their recommendations on what size the balconies should be in a development.

Your team needs to be in place and at your disposal to answer any questions you may have that are relevant.

Your team may consist of (but is not restricted to):

Accountant, solicitor, 4 to 6 different engineers, town planner, financial planner, designers/architects, landscape architect, surveyor, builder, quantity surveyor, certifier, sales agent and property manager.

That’s a big team!

Profit:  One of those consultants recently gave Geoff Doidge a $15k tax write off, which he nearly missed!

Pitfall:  NEVER take the word of the selling agent on what can be developed on a site. They are not qualified to answer the question! Many times we have seen agents both under quote and more often over quote the development potential for a site.


For more information click here.

  1. The approvals process

This can often be the most painful part of any development... it can be very slow!  Not to mention costly.

There are essentially two types of approvals, the first being Development Approval (DA), which is when you lodge a proposed development with council. It can take 4 to 12 months to get through the approval and legislative process, so be ready for it!

The main thing is to do everything to ensure the delays are not at your end. This includes having the right people designing the development, writing the application and having any supportive items (such as from engineers) included.

Typical delays caused by the developer occur when they are trying for too much on the wrong site, have employed the wrong consultant for the wrong tasks, have not provided all the right information in one complete package and have not completed a checklist of approval stoppers before making their submission.

The second approval is a Building Approval, which is somewhat quicker as it comes from your certifier, not council in most cases. Building Approval is for the actual construction, where Development Approval is for the use.

Profit:  Carry out a checklist of ‘Approval Stoppers’ before lodging your application.

Pitfall:  Some development sites have no income and every day of delay can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Know how to minimise delays.

Get the exclusive list of ‘Approval Stoppers’ at “Developing for Profit”.

For more information click here.

  1. Construction finance



Construction finance costs more that a straight home loan. This is because lenders typically treat development as having higher risk.

Construction loans are often paid in instalments and because they want to keep a buffer of funds to complete the project, a developer will often need to put in funds from another source throughout the construction.

Some construction lending is on the basis of ‘pre-sale’ of some of the units in the development, which will mean the develop needs to have an accurate feasibility and allow for marketing of the project at an early stage.

For smaller developments it may be beneficial to look at alternatives, such as using a line of credit from available equity.

Profit:  There are opportunities to refinance development sites well before construction begins, which may help pay for the consultants.

Pitfall:  Developers know they need equity to cover the deposit during the initial purchase of the site, but they regularly fall short when it comes to providing funds for the consultants during the design and approval process and then also for construction.

For more information click here.

  1. The tender process

The tender process is where you select your builder and can take a number of forms, the most popular being 1) Public tender, where any builder can tender for the job. This can be a good option if builders are fighting for work. 2) Private or selective tender, where a small number (usually 3) of builders are asked to quote or 3) Selected builder. Often this can be the most expensive, but at the same time you can work closely with the builder from the start, so they can have input with the design to reduce construction cost and they can help with some parts of your feasibility at an early stage.

Profit:  The right builder not only provides the right price, but has the right experience, has trades people in your area and can build when you want to.

Pitfall:  Employing a builder based simply on recommendation may mean you pay too much for construction, especially if they are busy and reluctant to quote in the first place.


For more information click here.

  1. The construction process

You are finally building! The right builder will have minimal delays and a logical sequence of events. Inexperienced builders can often experience very frustrating delays due to poor management, which will often filter back to the developer as excuses such as ‘the kitchen mob are 6 weeks behind in the factory’ or ‘the concreters had a 5 week break over Christmas’. A good builder would have ordered the kitchen 6 weeks earlier and scheduled the concreting around the Christmas break or with a different concreter.

Your builder should also be able to supply you with a detailed timeline, allowing you to monitor progress and organise in advance things like marketing, valuations, etc.

Profit:  Time is money! The right builder will be able to provide you with an accurate timeline and keep to it. Check out their other work before employing them.

Pitfall:  Christmas... many, many developments stop for 4 to 6 weeks as builders and tradesmen take lengthy breaks.


For more information click here.

  1. Marketing and/or Leasing

The end is in sight. You are now ready to market or lease the property. This step is more reliant on the previous steps than any other stage. The wrong site and you don’t have a market for the end product. The wrong structure or strategy and all your hard work may be for minimal or no profit. The wrong numbers in the feasibility and suddenly things are looking in trouble!

You should have already carried out extensive research into the price you can achieve for the end product, whether you are selling or holding. Now you need to confirm your numbers (it has taken a long time to get to this point, so perhaps they have even gone up in value?) and select a property manager or sales agent.

Depending on your product you may require a specialist agent to sell or let the end product. You may also require a hefty marketing budget, especially for high end, highly original or highly competitive markets.

Profit:  A good profit margin is 20 to 30% before tax. Don’t forget though, the wrong purchasing entity for that strategy may severely eat into that profit with tax!

Pitfall:  You are often bringing onto the market a number of dwellings at one time. A few are likely to rent or sell immediately... some may not. Developers often forget to allow for the ‘stragglers’.

If you'd like further information on how to develop property successfully click here.


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