• About The House……..So you want to be a developer?

    Posted on November 13, 2019 by in Uncategorized

    Its everyone’s dream. They’ve watched ‘The Block’, how hard can it be? Money for jam….as they say. I’ll be driving a black Mercedes in no time!

    Well to be totally honest, it’s a trap for young players. So be careful. There are plenty of investment services out there who claim they can make you money through their schemes; and they might when the market is booming and they’re building in hot spots. But markets rise and fall and the current hotspot goes cold. Ask all the people who invested in medium density projects in the Hunter Valley at the peak of the mining boom or in Western Australia for that matter.

    Boom Over = rental property empty = house value plummeted

    You may want to go about it your own way. Here’s what you need to know…..

    1. Understand you local market. Research property prices. Get friendly with some local agents. They’ll do anything for a sale! Do you financial figures and be conservative. Definitely factor in a contingency amount. Something will crop up that you haven’t planned for
    2. Research all the building controls at your local Council. It’s a can of worms, trust me. Its not like building a house. Councils will typically have extensive controls built into their Development Control Plans (DCP) guiding how medium density development is controlled. What is medium density did I hear you say? Medium density may consist of a dual occupancy, a duplex or a multi-unit development.
    3. Council’s can be pretty dour places inhabited by cardigan wearers, so if you want, skip point 2 and come straight to Agcad Design. We know the DCP’s backwards, having done this for more than 25 years and assisted clients in many hundreds of medium density developments. What’s more I have personally done a small development myself each year for the past 5 years. How hard can it be………..?
    4. Agcad Design can guide you through the process and help you become a small scale developer in no time. If you want the big time, that’s up to you but I suggest starting at the bottom rung. Yes…..I know…..that’s doesn’t always work if you’re a Millennial haha. Ok lets get serious
    5. So you’ve engaged Agcad Design to design your development. Great choice if I do say so myself. You’re in good hands. The first thing we will do is engage a Surveyor on your behalf so that we can understand the details of the site including contours, existing structures and landscape as well as adjoining neighbours. The survey may well also pick up the existing services such as sewer and power etc so that we van work around those if necessary. The detailed survey is our most important document at this early stage. Don’t tell the surveyors……they get a big head!
    6. So I have the detailed survey in my hot little hands and you’ve signed up for the ride with Agcad. I’m off to site then to get a ‘feel’ for what’s possible. Don’t be offended if I don’t meet you there as this is a bit of a ‘Zen’ time for me when I sometimes just sit and think about the design and how it may best work. So some quite time is ideal. Don’t worry we’ll talk again soon…..I promise!
    7. Let’s talk! Having been to site I now understand all the site constraints and any potential issues you may face in your quest to be a developer. Most we can work with…..some are more difficult. The main issue ‘developers’ fail to understand is ‘yield’ or the amount of development the site can accept when developed in conjunction with the DCP. So listen to us when we say ‘ I think we can get 3 units on there’. Its based on a heady mix of the requirements of Council, any site constraints and 35 years of experience on my part. Oh bye the way, if I think your site is dodgy for some reason I’ll probably raise it now. Otherwise lets ask you what you need, what you’re hoping to achieve apart from making buckets of money! We call it the ‘design brief’ but its not like designing your dream home. The design of medium density development is a tad more utilitarian. Let’s add the things you like and make it look the way you want but details like private open space, parking and turning as well as orientation to North and floor plan layout are heavily controlled by the DCP. Don’t worry it will still work…
    The inclusion of turning areas parking and courtyards are a fine balance during the design process

    8. Now its time for Agcad Design to do its magic. It’s called the ‘Concept Design’ and its the first exciting bit. We will take all the inputs including the detailed survey, location of services, site constraints, knowledge of the DCP , oh….. and you’re input and we will juggle them around and come up with a solution. I know….clever right! This solution comes to you in the form of site and floor plans and some swish 3D views of the proposal and I’m sure you’ll love it! Of course you may want to change a few things and if we can do that and the development will still fit the guidelines then lets go right ahead!

    9. So we’re agreed on the concept. The sit back and relax and let us do our stuff. The Development Application (DA) plans will be ready in no time. At this stage we will need to engage any other consultants including stormwater engineers, landscape designers, energy assessors or even a heritage consultant. Don’t worry well sort it out….all you have to do is pay for it!

    10. So its approved! I’ve got some bruises and scrapes but again the mighty Agcad Design has defeated the forces of bureaucracy to win you a mighty victory…………. Steady on its really only just begun.

    11. So during the approval process Hunter Water or you local water authority has provided some conditions to be met when connecting to their water and sewer services. This is part of what’s known as the Section 50 Certificate and you are given a ‘notice of formal requirements’. You will then be required to enter a Developer Works Deed with Hunter Water which basically says you will engage a qualified consultant to design the sewer and water connection, organise for an accredited plumber to perform the works and then have the original consultant inspect it all and provide reports back to the water authority. Simple hey? No not really. This can be a challenging stage of the development process. But of course, were here to help.

    12. So they’ve dug up you’re site and you’ve parted with some ‘lumpy’ fees and now you’re ready to build. But first you need your Construction Certificate (CC). Luckily your highly abled designer has been toiling away in the background for you and has prepared the working drawings and certified engineering drawings. Then its back to Council or as we prefer off to the local Private Certifying Authority (PCA) who will sign off on the CC. Hooray! You’re ready to build. Sorry….did I mention before you can have the CC released you need to pay developer charges to Council. They are not inconsiderate and should be checked online for your area (Section 94 Fees) and factored into your numbers at the start

    13. Hang on. Have you lined up the builder? Hopefully you’ve got some prices from various builders and checked how their timing is so you can make a start. Again we can give you some names of people we trust. Once you’ve made the contact and signed the contract you’re away and you become the builders new best friend. Typically theywill organise most things from there and use the private certifier to sign off on things along the way. You will find that Council will still want to be involved at various stages as well. They will want to look at the stormwater in-situ prior to pouring driveways and they will want to look at the crossover to the kerb. All of which they charge a fee for of course. At this point your bank balance will start to bleed!

    14. So its getting really exciting and the buildings are at ‘lock-up’ stage; a term strangely meaning the buildings are ‘locked up’ but more importantly that the builder can extract that major stage payment from you! Now is the time when you need to get your sub-division application together. The buildings may be Strata Title or preferably Torrens titled but either way an application now needs to be made to council for them to approve the sub-division ‘in principal’. The reality is they get another fee, stamp the plans and you then you have to send it to the NSW Government Land Registry Services (LRS). Our ‘fully trained’ surveyor can help you facilitate this process. Did I mention it involves more fees?

    15. You’re so close now you can almost taste the profit. It takes no time at all to have the development looking like real buildings but it seems to take forever to do the ‘fit-out’. It can be fun if you that way inclined, as you can spend your weekends at selection centres picking tiles and tapware, showers and sh*tters. Oh, and you’ll need a kitchen too.

    16. It might be time to get that Real Estate Agent involved again. You know, the one you promised the sale when you were picking his/her brain at the beginning. Or maybe not that one at all. They’re interchangeable after all. Levity aside, get a good agent and stick with them. They can be a real asset. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hit them up for a discount on their fees! Have them tell you what they think you’re properties are worth and then pick a lower figure so you wont be disappointed! Hopefully these numbers are ‘sweet’ and you’re development is on track. In a good property market the value of your properties may even rise during the approval and construction period but conversely the opposite can occur.

    Image result for for sale sign

    So now the nervous energy kicks is as you are judged by the public at endless Open Homes. With any luck you will sell it early but whether you do or you don’t you will have had the best possible chance by following good processes and by engaging Agcad Design to show you the way