The term “property developer” doesn’t always have the best connotations in many people’s minds. However, if you want to work with a developer to get a building project idea off the ground, then you have to know how to spot the good ones, and there are both good and bad. For most people, it’s about finding a competent, reputable, and ethical developer who can get the job done right and in a way that doesn’t work to the detriment of any stakeholders.
So, how does one find this holy grail of property development? We’ll try to offer some key insight below:
Start at the Financial Foundation
At the heart of every successful development project is secure and watertight financing. Let’s say you’re looking at firms in Victoria, and you were checking into developer finance in Melbourne. The best developers are the ones that can secure all necessary funding — and sometimes more — the most easily and with the least fuss. Why is this? It’s because they have the kind of track record of success that instantly tells financiers “this is a safe bet.” If you can work with the developers that the financial teams like, then you’re off to a good start.
Reputable property development firms will go out of their way to try and promote their track record, showcasing their past projects prominently on their website and in any print literature that they produce for marketing purposes. If you’re looking for a developer, then start at these points to look at what they’ve achieved, and how it looks. See if you can spot patterns in their style or what types of projects they engage with. It will give you important insight as to how suited they are to your own project.
Outside of this, be sure to check online for signs of client reviews. It shouldn’t be hard to find some trace of public feedback, either through Google reviews, comments on their Facebook page or other social media channels, and possibly even through their LinkedIn page. Investigate as thoroughly as you can.
Positive Problem Solving
When you meet with developers, talk about issues you’ve had making choices about materials, location, design, style, all kinds of things. See how they respond. Are they just yes men encouraging you to make any choice? Do they push you towards expensive options that they just happen to have “easy access” to? Or, do they offer constructive and objective feedback clearly meant to try and help you find a solution that works for you? Aim for the last one, there.
No Compromising on Sustainability
Working with ethical developers is important, so always be wary of those that would try to do some kind of “nod nod wink wink” kind of signalling about eco-friendly and sustainable practices behind closed doors. The kind of developer you want should be as genuinely passionate about sustainability as you are, and will give pointers and suggestions on how to make your project more sustainable. They certainly will not casually abandon these principles when a question of more profit, or a faster lead time, or some other convenience arises that suits them.
Adding to this point, the kind of developer you want is one that is passionate about adding value to a community with a new construction or renovation project. If they talk a lot about what this building will give back to a community, then you’re with a good developer.
Strong Team Management Skills
Pay close attention to the leaders of the team you speak with. Do they keep appointments? Do they stick to deadlines? Do they seem to treat their staff well? When you meet with them as a team, does everyone get a chance to speak? Or, is one person dominating the entire narrative. It’s always better to work with developers who listen to ideas and are open to discussions.