Finding the Right Land

A person who subdivides land, or develops profits through his/her energies and expertise, must always be on the alert for land to maintain a steady flow of possibilities for new projects. It is my belief that if you deal in land you should always have one or two projects in the approval stage and one or more in escrow. To do this you must continually announce your desire for development property at your local, regional, and national marketing sessions. Another good source is your local planning department. Some developments that are in the pipeline by a proponent, and for whatever reason cannot be completed, can many times be saved if you step in as a partner or purchase it at a discount.

Always stay in touch with the local residential land brokers, especially in a hot market because the opportunities are snapped up before they hit the multiple listing rosters. Most of my developments have been acquired through land brokers, some through talking to planners who know of rezones in the pipeline, or owners of raw land I have contacted personally.

Once you have a property under contract your real work begins. Hire the best engineer, the best contractor, and the best marketing team; and make sure your development / subdivision is not in area where there is a possibility of a moratorium on services or hookups, or a neighborhood association that is against development.

Always do a thorough market analysis and achieve, at a minimum, a preliminary approval of your development prior to closing on any property. Always understand the profiles of your buyers which include all singles, families, or retirees. Understand your impact to the local neighborhoods, determine the need, and understand how condos or a high rise would be received. What is the relationship of your property, and do the external factors of schools, churches, or special use properties impact your project?

You are the expert so understand your competition, implement a correct phasing of the project, and plan the timing to allow for construction and sales. Know exactly what is going to happen in year one, year two, and year three. And as always, location, location, location, and drive time to amenities.

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