How to get started in property development

Have you ever wondered how you get started in property development?

I’ve recently noticed a trend in budding developers – they are looking for an overview of the property development process and they want it in a simple and accessible way.

It’s probably in part because many of the property markets around Australia are flat or falling and these real estate invetsors are looking for ways to manufacture capital growth at a time when general growth is slower or non existent.

That’s why I’ve created this comprehensive guide covering the basics of property development.

I want to make finding the right information as easy as possible.

If you’re in a hurry you can just click sub-topics below and conveniently jump to information that’s relevant to you.

Why Property Development?

I understand why many would wonder how to become a property developer, because when you become a real estate developer, if you get it right you can:

  • Save money – your project could cost 20% below market value
  • Make money – you could make large development profits
  • Get better rental returns – which helps pay the mortgage
  • Obtain easier finance – while it’s a little harder at present to fund developments, on completion you may be able to borrow 80% of the property value, which could be significantly more than your costs,  giving you better much leverage
  • Achieve great tax benefits – from your new property. What is Property Development

Adding all this up means that becoming a property developer allows you to acquire high performance properties “at wholesale” (with built in capital growth) and ones that are cheap to own.

This helps you build your property portfolio faster and safer than the average investor.

What is Property Development?

Property Development involves a wide range of activities and processes from purchasing land to building and developing facilities.

One definition of property development is “the continual reconfiguration of the built environment to meet society’s needs.”

While this can be anywhere from roads to high-rise office buildings, this article will discuss a specific segment – the “average” investor working on small to medium-sized residential development projects.

What’s required of a Property Developer and why get into Property Development? 

how to get started in property development

In order for a Property Developer to be successful, you’ll need to have the ambition and patience that the process requires.

You’ll probably also need more knowledge than you may think – there’s things you already know, things you know you don’t know, but as soon as you get into your first project you’ll also stumble on lots of things you didn’t even know you didn’t know!

As a developer, you’re an investor committing your equity, expertise and talents to convert land from its current use to a higher and better use.

So you’ll need to educate yourself on property, the markets, economics, finance, town planning, the construction processes and the marketing of real estate projects.

Some of this you can learn by doing your homework and other lessons you’ll learn along the way.

In order to be successful, you need to start small and work your way up.

Most of your mistakes will be made with your first few projects so it is important to start small so you don’t ruin your property investment career before it has even begun.

Download our FREE special report for a printable PDF available for your convenience and later reading. It offers information on topics from property renovations to the property development process, plus much more. How To Get Started In Property Development. Get your copy now.

How to get started in property development

Getting Started – Who to Talk To

Who should you be talking to now

O.K.- you’ve decided that Property Development is a smart choice for you and you’re ready to start discovering your options.

So who should you be getting in contact with?

Who will tell you everything you need to know and offer direction?

Depending on the complexity of the project, you may need only some or all of the following team members:

  • Real estate agents – but remember their job is really just to sell you a property, they really can’t even give you sound advice on the “developability” of the property – it’s up to you and your team to determine that.
  • Finance strategists to get you development finance – this is very different to investment finance
  • Accountants – to help you set up the right ownership structures
  • Lawyers – to help with all the contracts
  • Town planners and Urban designers
  • Architects, designers or draftsmen
  • Engineers – civil, structural, traffic, acoustic, environmental specialists
  • Landscape architects
  • Building contractors
  • Project marketing specialists
  • Development managers
  • Project managers
  • Construction managers
  • Quantity Surveyors
  • Property StrategistsThis may be your most important point of contact. The role of a Property Strategist is to help a property developer research, locate and negotiate the purchase of property; maximise investment returns through property investment management, and understand the finance maze. A great place to start is with Metropole Property Strategists – where the experienced team can offer a more structured and predictable approach to property development.

Why not get in contact with a Property Strategist from the Metropole team by clicking here.

We’re currently project managing over 55 medium density development projects for clients.

Metropole provides a complete Property Development Project Management service that allows you to secure high-performance properties so you can take advantage of the benefits only available to property developers.

The Cost of a Project and its Profitability

This is one of the most important aspects to consider before you invest in developing property.

The crucial question to ask is – “Can I afford to undertake this development and will I be making a worthwhile profit?”

Before you commence any development project, it is obviously crucial to first establish how much you can borrow and how you will be able to manage all associated costs of the development.

That’s why always recommend you have finance pre-approval in place before you get started. property house money capital

This way you know your limits are and how much you can actually put towards developing a property.

Financing a property development is more difficult than obtaining finance for a simple investment purchase.

When approaching banks and lenders you have to remember that they have their own safety to consider when deciding whether or not to finance your development venture.

They will want to establish the track record of both you and the people on your team.

It is also important to understand that any project involving the construction of four or more dwellings on the one site will be considered a commercial endeavour by the banks and can therefore be more complex to fund.

Lenders will usually allow developers to borrow up to 70-80% of the total cost of the “hard costs” of the development project – not the end value of the project.

And they often won’t lend money for the “soft costs” – things like architect’s fees, Council fees, other consultants and purchase costs.

What this means is that your loan to value ratio for a development is significantly less is than that for a buy and hold investment property.

The bottom line is that you need quite a bit of money saved up to start off with.

By the way…development loans are offered in staged payments finalised at the end of each building stage. These include the deposit, base stage, frame stage, lock up stage, fixing stage, balance of development funds supplied on completion of the project.

Creating a Concept and Determining Feasibility

As different councils have different, and usually strict, guidelines in terms of what can be developed in their municipality – it’s important to understand the principles of town planning and how each Council interprets the overall development code for your State to suit their own local neighbourhood character.

This means it’s important to do your research before buying land.

Remember, real estate agents’ primary job is to sell property, so don’t rely on them for advice on what you can build on a particular property.

Instead consult the town planner or a proficient architect to determine what you can do with a particular site.

Don’t fall into the trap of looking at existing developments in the area and thinking that you could built something similar today – they may have been approved Creating a Concept and Determining Feasibilityunder old town planning regulations.

So some of the important questions to ask are:

  • What can I put on this property – what is its highest and best use?
  • How many units?
  • How big will they be?
  • What restrictions are there?
  • Are there overlays, easements or covenants on the title restricting its development potential?

Some things to consider when looking for site with development potential:

Securing the “right property” is critical for the success of any investment property.

Acquiring a piece of real estate that ticks all of the right boxes according to your investment strategy and long term goals is of paramount importance.

Of course when it comes to property development, site selection is even more critical as a large portion of your profit margin will be determined when you buy the property.

Sourcing good development sites is all about knowing your market and I don’t simply mean having an understanding of the many property markets out there, but the bigger economic picture as well.

Because a development project has a life of at least one year, and more frequently two to four years, if you want to be a successful developer you need to inform yourself about not only the property markets, but economics in general.

Then you will need to make an educated decision about where you think the markets are heading over the next few years.

As always…location is critical when it comes to selecting the best site. 

Properties in prime locations will sell and lease far better than secondary locations, even in bad times when the market is doing it tough.

This could mean you’ll need to invest 15-20% more for land, but ultimately you’ll receive greater profit margins.

You also need to do your research and determine the type of property use people in that area want.

For example, if a suburb consists of an older demographic, single story townhouse may be more suitable than double story dwellings.location map house suburb area find

If the area is popular among families, you might consider building more bedrooms and choosing a location close to schools.

Another critical piece of research prior to purchasing a property is undertaking a detailed feasibility study to determine how much profit (if any) your project will make.

Just to make things clear… Just because you can developer site doesn’t mean it is financially feasible to do so.

One of the reasons so many property developers go broke is that they buy with their heart (their emotions) and don’t complete a property comprehensive development feasibility.

Just like any new business venture you need a business plan, weigh up the pros and cons and crunch the numbers to ensure there will be a profit.

Sure your initial feasibility study will be rough and have many assumptions, but it should give you a reasonable guideline if you include:

  • The purchase price, purchase date and settlement. Stamp duty on the purchase.
  • Your equity in the project which will then determine the size of the borrowings required and interest payable (a word of warning – this is a big one. Your interest cost is likely to be a six-figure sum.)
  • Conveyancing and legal costs.
  • Consultant’s costs, such as architects, town planners, engineers, project managers and surveyors.
  • Construction costs.
  • Rates and taxes are self-populating based on the properties values.
  • A contingency amount (many inexperienced developers unfortunately leave this out.)
  • Income from sales and rentals.

The Process

1. Pre Purchase Stage

Pre Purchase StageThis stage is where the developer investigates properties based on their finance pre approval.

This is also the stage where you develop the concept for the site you’re considering as well is conducting a feasibility study.

During this time the developer should be consulting some of their expert team.

Generally, the following services will be required in order to accurately assess the feasibility of the site:

property development process
It’s also a good idea to touch base with the planning department at the local council.

This department can provide you with an overview of any future planning or zoning changes in the area, which could limit your development in the future.

What you consider a relatively straightforward application, can sometimes be held up in council for over a year due to seemingly minor issues.

A good town planner working in conjunction with your architect, should forewarn you of any possible points of objection from neighbours. With this insight, the town planner and architect will coordinate a design that has greater potential for faster council assessment.

Above all, once you’ve found that perfect block and carefully researched any restrictions, act fast.

If it really is the perfect site for developing, the chances are another developer has their eyes on it too. Don’t allow procrastination to get in the way of a good deal and a great opportunity

2. Negotiating Contracts and Purchasing

Negotiating Contracts and PurchasingThis is the stage where land is bought at a price that allows the developer to make a commercial profit.

You should be thinking about how much you’re willing to pay and the end value of the dwellings at the end of development project.

Negotiating a price is best left up to the expertise of a buyer’s agent (one who understands the development process well.) Don’t take a shortcut here as the fee a property buyer charges is often covered by the savings you’ll make with the better negotiated price.

3. Town Planning and Development Approval

Town Planning and Development ApprovalAt this stage your architect draws up plans to fit in with planning regulations according to council development guidelines. This stage can be complex so this may also require the input of a Town Planner.

The role of a Town Planner includes offering feedback during the design process, writing the development application, handling further requests, objections, cases in the appeals court.

Find out more about what enlisting the help of a Town Planner here.

You’ll also require the services of a Land Surveyor who will establish the title boundaries of your property, conduct a survey of the neighbourhood properties and how they will impact on your proposed development, consolidate a number of titles into one title for you if you have bought more than one block and draw up a plan of subdivision.

4. Working Drawing and Documentation

Working Drawing and DocumentationOnce you obtain a development approval your plans stage is where plans for the build are finalised and will require the involvement of a number of consultants including an Architect and an Engineer.



The role of the Architect

Architects are the creative designers of your project but they can also do a lot more your development process.

The three essential parts to the architect’s role are:

  1. Town planning,
  2. Preparing working detailed drawings which also requires coordinating necessary consultants such as geotechnical, structural and civil engineers. And…
  3. Administrating the building contract. Preparing The architect may also assume responsibility of administrating the building contract and supervising of the construction.

Find out more about working with an Architect here.

behind a building but they also have to work closely with engineers in order for your build to be structurally sound. Depending on the complexity of the build you may require more than one type of engineer.

At this stage you may need a consult different types of Engineers including:

  • Geotechnical or Soil Engineers – who test the soil to establish the conditions necessary for a structural engineer to design the footings or foundations of the building
  • Structural Engineers – who work above the ground to develop a structural design that is both functional and cost effective. They work with the architect considering the weight of materials (eg. concrete and steel), furniture, windows, cars and many other factors.
  • Civil Engineers – design the roads and bridges. For a residential property this role may not be necessary but civil engineers will design systems to help cope with heavy periods of rain and retain water onsite slowly allowing it to seep through into the council’s assets.
  • Hydraulic & Fire Engineers – work on high rise apartments or commercial buildings that will require design for pipes for water, gas, waste as well as fire hydrants, hose reels and sprinkler systems.

Find out more about the different engineers and who you should be working with here.

The role of the Quantity Surveyor

While the architect and engineers make your building look good and make sure it will actually stand up, they have little consideration for the cost of your build.

During the Design phase the Quantity Surveyor or QS – not to be confused with a Land Surveyor –  will ensure the design remains on budget through cost management and suggest alternative ideas to other approaches in the construction to save money. A QS isn’t usually required for small developments, but for construction costs that exceed $2 million lenders often require a report from a QS.

Once everyone on the team is happy with the plans (the developer included) obtaining a Building Permit is your next step. This process can take a month or two.

5. Pre Construction

Pre ConstructionNow it’s time to obtain quotes from builders and finance for your project.

How do find the right builder

Finding the right builder can be daunting.

There are so many options out there making it difficult to know who is best for your project.

One of the best ways to find reputable builders for your development is through recommendations.

These recommendations may be from friends, family, colleagues, or even your architect or development manager (who may know best because they work on developments all the time).

Only employ a registered building practitioner and be sure to request a copy of all the builder’s insurance certificates prior to hiring them for the job – this includes public liability insurance that notes you and your job as being covered for an amount of $10,000,000, WorkCare insurance and completion guarantee insurance.

Above all, look for evidence that the builder you are considering is able to deal with the type of project you are proposing. Determine this by visiting previous projects completed by them and speak with their previous clients to make sure they can deliver on promises.

Builder’s Contract and Specifications

The contract should include overall terms agreed to by you and the builder, including the price and payment arrangements; outline the scope of the project, who is involved and what each party is expected to do to support the other (providing access to the site, providing accurate working drawings, etc).

It should explain what will happen in the event of a dispute between the developer and builder and incorporate a time line that has been agreed to by both parties into the contract.

It will also state that work is to be done in compliance with specifications, drawings and calculations to comply with the relevant building regulations.

Read more about the Pre Construction stage in the 19-part process series:

Digging in the Dirt

Preparing the Site

6. Construction

Building has now commenced and you’re well on your way to completion.Pre Construction

Do bear in mind that the construction phase can take anywhere from six to twelve months depending on size and complexity. You should also account for poor weather and other disruptions to building time.

Paying your Builder

Paying builders throughout construction and the specifics of this will have been included in the contract.

Payments are usually broken down into six instalments:

  1. An initial deposit to confirm acceptance of the contract and commence construction,
  2. A payment at the end of the base stage,
  3. A payment at the end of the frame stage,
  4. A payment at the end of the lock up stage,
  5. A payment at the end of the fixing stage,
  6. Final balance on completion of the project.

If a Quantity Surveyor has been involved in the project, they will oversee these progress payments at regular intervals. During construction the QS will also value changes or variations or additional works required and if disputes arise, the QS is called on as an expert witness or as an arbitrator.

At various stages of the building project a building surveyor will need to certify that works have been completed in accordance with regulations and to specified building standards.

7. Completion

CompletionNow you almost done, the building is finished and your project almost complete.

This is the time to submit the plan of subdivision to obtain separate titles for each dwelling and to either refinance and lease your completed project and hold in the long term (my preferred strategy) also your project for a profit.

What to Do with Your Completed Development Property

Essentially, you have two main options:

  1. Selling your newly built development for a profit or
  2. Holding on to it as an investment property.

But which is the right option for you?

There isn’t really any right or wrong answer. It is dependent on the developer and their circumstances.

  1. Selling the Development

Selling the DevelopmentMost developers have a “trading mentality”  – developing for short-term profits rather than long-term asset growth.

The advantages of selling your completed development is that you’ll make a profit straight away, pay off the development loan quickly and be able to move onto your next project with a bit more experience and money up your sleeve.

The disadvantage to this method is that there is no potential to make more from the property – it’s a short-term gain.

Apart from paying tax on your development profit you will also be required to pay GST (Goods and Services Tax), selling agents commission and stamp duty on your next purchase, significantly eroding your profit margin.

2. Retaining your project as a long-term investment.

This is my preferred option.

The advantage of holding onto a completed development is that it becomes a long-term investment.

You also benefit from:

  1. Higher rental yields as the tenant pays you retail rents (not knowing that you your investment property wholesale.)
  2. Great financing options – on completion of your project the bank should refinance your property based on its market value (which should be considerably more than what you paid for it) allowing you to withdraw a substantial amount of your funds used for the development.
  3. Substantial depreciation allowances – meeting your property should the tax effective.
  4. Strong capital growth – because you bought in a great location – didn’t you?

Putting this together means you have a high growth high yield investment property that is cheap to hold on to.

Who could ask for more?

Relevant Resources:

Making Your Money

At The End of your Development

Hopefully, you’ve learnt something from this comprehensive guide and are now well equipped to start thinking about your own property development goals.

Your next step should be to read my FREE special report – How To Get Started In Property Development  – click here now and get your copy.

How to get started in property development

If you’re serious about getting involved in property development, why not have a chat with Australia’s leading Property Development Project Manager – the team at Metropole Property Strategists.

We have been helping ordinary investors become “armchair” property developers since 1998.

Click here now to find out how you can get started in property development.


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Bryce Yardney


Bryce is a property development specialist, having successfully sourced, project managed and completed hundreds of development projects for Metropole’s clients, helping them create substantial wealth.Visit

'How to get started in property development' have 96 comments

  1. Avatar

    January 31, 2019 Ilse

    This is a really good article. Knowing how to develop the right property projects is important for developers. Usually we conduct surveys for development. Surveys are conducted by finding strategic locations, such as close to public centers and facilities, competitive land prices, methods of payment that are not burdensome and have sewerage.


  2. Avatar

    January 22, 2019 Ram Patel

    Thanks for the informative article, it is great to know the starting guide for property development.


  3. Avatar

    January 11, 2019 klassicz

    do you have to have any sort of license ( i.e real estate ) in order to start as a developer


    • Michael Yardney

      January 12, 2019 Michael Yardney

      No you don’t need a license- just a lot more money than you think you need and knowledge as well as a great team around you


  4. Avatar

    January 7, 2019 Stjosephs Online

    That’s what we call a comprehensive and prefect information one should be required for property investments. Thanks for sharing


  5. Avatar

    December 7, 2018 Brent from Property JV Partners

    This is probably the best breakdown of property development I have read. Our business helps developers find JV partners to do developments with, so should be an interesting read for some of them too.


  6. Avatar

    November 29, 2018 Sam

    Bryce that’s a great post – covers the whole gamut of topics that fall under property development. Particularly like the advice to look carefully at the location, and then modify your project based on that.


  7. Avatar

    June 21, 2018 AirKeeper Australia

    Awesome blog. I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for everyone. Thanks for sharing.


  8. Avatar

    April 18, 2018 Sam

    I would like to understand whether a developer should advertise a residential project before deciding to purchase the land or not? In my case, there is a great piece of land in a good location, but not sure whether the residential properties will be sold at the target price… what do you suggest?


    • Michael Yardney

      April 18, 2018 Michael Yardney

      You can’t advertise the residential project as you have no idea what the council will allow and you can’t make presales unless you own the land
      Knowing the end product and sale price is an important part of your pre purchase due dilligence


  9. Avatar

    March 20, 2018 Bryan Mahkota Amira

    Great ideas for beginners to create more benefits.


    • Michael Yardney

      March 20, 2018 Michael Yardney

      Bryan – sorry to disagree – property development isn’t really for beginners – it’s best to get some experience before venturing into development


  10. Avatar

    February 15, 2018 Alex

    Thanks. Will speak to my accountant and get back in touch with you.


  11. Avatar

    February 14, 2018 Alex

    Sorry I didn’t anticipate property development is that complicated even with your help?
    Yes, I do have the mentioned equity and good income though. My intention is to utilise my equity and minimise my tax but honestly I don’t have any experience in property (nor time, as I work full time) and thought I can engage property specialist like Metropole for this.


    • Michael Yardney

      February 14, 2018 Michael Yardney

      Alex, The development process will be really simple if you engage our serives – we do it all for you – all the things you mentioned in your previous question – and we’ve done that for hundreds of other investors.
      Why not have an obligation free chat with one of our property strategists – just click here and organise it. It would be our pleasure to be part of your wealth creation journey


  12. Avatar

    February 13, 2018 Alex

    Looking to invest in property – property development. Can you help? you mentioned about Metropole as a Property Strategists? what’s your role in this process? are you a builder? project manager? Thanks.


    • Michael Yardney

      February 13, 2018 Michael Yardney

      Alex – our role is as project development managers – we an handle the whole process from concept to completion and have done so now for ourselves for 30 years and for clients for 18 years. Currently we’re project managing 52 medium density developments on behalf of clients . I’m laso personally involved in 4 development projects – You can find out more about Metropole Project Management services by clicking here


      • Avatar

        February 13, 2018 Alex

        Hi Michael, thank for that. I know there are similar companies out there which offer similar services. Yours really stands out with good track record.
        So, do I have to contact ‘the team’ that is: Real estate agents, Finance strategists, Accountants, Lawyers, Town planners, Architects, designers or draftsmen, Engineers, Landscape architects etc directly or indirectly? or you speak to them on my behalf without me seeing or meeting with them at all?
        And do I see the development plan and its potential return before I invest in the project? what’s required of me then as an investor in terms of ‘time’ and ‘funding’? Thank You.


        • Michael Yardney

          February 13, 2018 Michael Yardney

          Alex – you’ll probably need more money that you think – for an investment grade 2 townhouse development you’ll need at least $500,000 in available equity and a substantial income to prove serviceability.
          Do you already own any investments – development is not for beginners


  13. Avatar

    January 23, 2018 Siyabonga

    Good day,

    i am thinking of doing development finance studies, but i was just wondering if that will assist if im interested in becoming a property developer ?


    • Michael Yardney

      January 24, 2018 Michael Yardney

      Siyabonga – while finance is a critical part of property development, it is not really enough to get you started in development- there are many other fundamentals you’ll need to understand first


  14. Avatar

    January 18, 2018 Matthew Trim

    Thanks for advice.


  15. Avatar

    August 9, 2017 Andy

    I have been looking at developing a huge plot of land into low cost affordable but luxurious housing estate for low income families (overseas) currently have a few designs from architect and planned layout of the estate. My biggest issue is funding, is there any information you could give me with how to fund the idea?


    • Michael Yardney

      August 9, 2017 Michael Yardney

      I don’t understand – is this in Australia or overseas? This make a big difference to funding. Lenders will also look at your experience, your serviceability should there be cost or time over runs and the profitability of the project.


      • Avatar

        August 10, 2017 Andy

        The project idea is all based overseas, I will be looking for funding overseas. The biggest hurdle I face is how to fund it, I have already received huge interest from public willing to purchase, would that help in funding from lenders? Still working towards an accurate cost and profitability of the project.


        • Michael Yardney

          August 11, 2017 Michael Yardney

          It really depends on the projects profitability, your experience (banks won’t back inexperienced developers – too risky) and the country


  16. Avatar

    June 13, 2017 Mark

    Good read thanks Michael. We got out of property just before the bubble burst in Port Hedland. Getting into property development would be a great idea in the bigger cities.


  17. Avatar

    March 18, 2017 Jason

    Hi Michael,

    I have a few years working experience in funds management/asset management sector, but didn’t get any chance to explore the property development business. May I ask what are the biggest challenges you came across? As the development period is long, how the property development business overcome the economic cycle or unfavorable market conditions? Thanks!


    • Michael Yardney

      March 18, 2017 Michael Yardney

      Property development is a very sophisticated process and the 2 big challenges are:
      1. inexperience – everyone wants to be a developer and they don’t realise how complicated the process is.
      2. finance- the banks are very cautious who they lend money to for property development


      • Avatar

        November 26, 2018 Matt


        This makes sense, but say I do want to be in the position to get a loan from the bank, how do I be credible and be experienced? I currently work in IT, saving every dollar I can to deploy into my own RE development project but I am not sure how to break into this to get experience and than venture off to do my own project.


        • Michael Yardney

          November 26, 2018 Michael Yardney

          WIth no experince you’d be crazy to try and do it on your own – however if you engage a proficient project manager you can leverage of their experience


  18. Avatar

    February 1, 2017 Angus Reed

    Thank you for sharing this great article, it is Helpful for those people who want to invest their money in property development, your article provides very useful information for investors take an interest in property development.


  19. Avatar

    February 1, 2017 Emaar Ali

    Love this article. I considered getting into development a few years ago but getting the correct information was rather hard. In the end it just became a bit too overwhelming. This I’m sure will help plenty of aspiring developers.


  20. Avatar

    July 26, 2016 profitable property education

    Great article Michael you summarize it very well this will definitely help beginners.


  21. Avatar

    June 2, 2016 Kellie

    Hello Michael,
    I am inquiring about the process in relation to the property development process when there is multiple lots on one property and the obligations as a property developer in setting up Owners Corporation. Do you have advice regarding the steps that follow or where to get the appropriate information or resources?


    • Michael Yardney

      June 2, 2016 Michael Yardney

      This process requires the input of both a surveyor and your solicitor


  22. Avatar

    March 18, 2016 Justin from the Property Developer Podcast

    This is a good article on getting started in property developing. I think if you are serious about doing developments you should pay for some mentoring as the opportunities to make costly mistakes are many, especially compared to the cost of education. If you are up for the challenge it is a very rewarding experience, not just financially.


  23. Avatar

    January 6, 2016 paul dawson

    There are plenty of new developments in sydney at present, but with a shortage of tradies a lot of what ive seen is shoddy to day the least, im a tradie , and the building industry is ive heard is pushing to lower the warraty period for defects??


    • Michael Yardney

      January 6, 2016 Michael Yardney

      This happens every property boom -t here are not enough good tradies to cope with the work


  24. Avatar

    May 22, 2015 Nath

    Hi Michael thankyou for the great read.
    I’m 22 and currently working full time in construction. It is my dream to become a property developer one day so to get my foot in the door, I’m considering a degree in construction management at university. By completion i will have accrued a debt of around $80,000 which will be payable through HECS. I guess my question is, would it be wise to go ahead with study to increase my knowledge of the industry and increase employability but get in a fair bit of debt? Or continue to work full time for increased capital and try to get in contact with the right people to make it happen.


    • Michael Yardney

      May 22, 2015 Michael Yardney

      Bryce, my son who’s know working in our development projects division did a project management course, but your proposed course will also be helpful.
      You need some formal qualifications to get you started


      • Avatar

        November 12, 2015 [email protected]

        Hi Michael my name is Nathan. I am the director of an insulation company and am looking to become a property developer. I am currently in the process of building 2 units and have another 4 ready to go upon their completion. I am backed by asset and equity to the tune of $1000000 and have a large cash flow generated by my business. I live off the income/wage generated through my business and the development is simply an investment and retirement plan for the future. My brother is a builder and we have access to good trades and prices as we are already in the industry through my insulation business and his building business. So with so much mixed advice out there on whether or not to keep or sell, a wealthy person once told me to keep everything you possibly can, keeping in mind the LVR’s are in check – approximately 70%. Can you offer some advise and give me some direction as to where I should go from here. Thank you for your time.


        • Michael Yardney

          November 12, 2015 Michael Yardney

          Thanks for your question, of course I can’t give individual advice, but soem thoughts:
          1. start small – you’ll make most of the mistakes and learn the most in your first 3 or 4 developments
          2. Allow a suffcient contingency – unexpected costs always crop up.
          3. Develop properties to build your asset base (your investment properties at wholesale) rather than to trade – assets grow wealth.
          4. Get a good team around you – if you’re the smartest person in your team you’re in trouble


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    April 29, 2015 First National Real Estate Bennetts

    This is one great site for seasoned and newbie investors alike. Great article!


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    February 19, 2015 jj

    Hello Michael, my siblings and I recently inherited property from my father in another state. My father and his siblings leased the property to oil and gas company and they have been drilling on it for years. We do get royalty checks for gas since my father passed away. The land also has lots of timber and we believe gas. Not sure. Anyway my sister recently formed a LLC and the LLC will manage our holdings. We have no clue as to where to begin to develop this property. Some people want to sell it and others refuse. Some family members want to build…but I told them they need a lot of financial backing and management savvy for that. Is there something that we can do that involves leasing to timber companies perhaps…something simple? Any ideas. Please email me. Thank you!


    • Michael Yardney

      February 19, 2015 Michael Yardney


      Sounds like you’re overseas, not in Australia is your incorporated a LLC. A development requires significant funds and agreement between all parties – it doesn’t sound like an option you should explore.


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    January 5, 2015 Dmtiry

    Hi Michael,

    Could you help be understand a rough figure of how much money I need to have in my pocket relative to the money required to do a development? E.g. If the development + land is around 1 million, do I need to have 20% cash (i.e. $200 000) so that I can get the rest from the bank?

    Thank you!


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    September 30, 2014 sal

    Great reading and I’m keen to take the next step. What is the minimum cost to buy, develop and build in Australia? Depending on the amounts involved, I’ll need to check my borrowing capacity.


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    July 7, 2014 George

    I would like to become a property developer but I do not have funds , what can I do to make my dream come true because I’m so much willing and looking forward into becoming a property developer. Please help me


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    July 1, 2014 Bourn

    Interesting Read


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    April 8, 2014 Kayla

    Hi Michael

    Does your e-book detail the step/sprocess and legalities involved in developing an estate property. We are a family of four siblings who intend developing a fully fledged estate for all of us to live on and not for sale. We envisage the estate to be quite expansive and possibly include a church as a subdivision.

    What is your advice i.r.o. our plans?


    • Michael Yardney

      April 8, 2014 Michael Yardney

      No it doesn’t – you’re looking for a lot of very specific information from a free ebook aren’t you?
      However it gives a great introduction to the process of property development


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    March 27, 2014 Graham

    Hi Michael,

    Great article!
    I live in Brisbane and always thinking of buying a plot, pull down and rebuild.
    1. Could you list the advantages and disadvantage of developing in the CBD fringe vs suburbs (say 20km from CBD)?
    2. Do you think $800k is enough for a small project on 600-800m2 land?

    Thank you.


    • Michael Yardney

      March 27, 2014 Michael Yardney

      Some areas in Brisbane are ripe for development and others are not – this is not the forum for this type of advice.
      If you’re interested why not contact our Brisbane office on 1300 203030 and speak with Shannon Davis. he knows the Brisbane market backwards


      • Avatar

        January 16, 2017 met

        hie Michael
        very intresting article .im in South Africa and have vast experience in the property development and management sectors as a career .i would now like to start my own company starting from management of properties then getting into development of residential and commercial properties to let and sell .any advice you can offer will be greatly appreciated


        • Michael Yardney

          January 17, 2017 Michael Yardney

          Met this is not a forum for individual advice. However I suggest you find a great mentor and listen to his advice. By the way you will usually have to pay for good advice, but this isn’t an expense, it’s an investment


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    March 27, 2014 Caleb

    I think the first step of the process outlined above is very important. Answering the question of “Why” you are getting involved in property development will lay the foundation of how you will proceed with the process.


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    March 26, 2014 Cordelia

    Hi Michael,

    I am a property economics student in Sydney and I am currently undertaking some research into the development process. Yours and Gavins articles are both great. I just have a question. It might be a little too specific, however we have been reccomended to ask professionals in the field for their advice. From planning to handover, how long do you think it would take to complete a residential development project with 30 lots each comprising 450m2? I understand there would be some variables such as council approval and market factors contributing to how successful the house sales are, however, what would your rough estimate be?



    • Michael Yardney

      March 26, 2014 Michael Yardney

      Thanks for the kind words and your question.
      It’s not really something I can answer in this forum – too many potential variables involed


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    March 9, 2014 Ben Everingham

    Hi Michael.

    I really enjoyed this article and your approach to development.

    I just finished one of your books which has helped shape my entire investment strategy to buy and hold.

    Please keep producing this great content!


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    March 8, 2014 Brendan

    Michael, what advice would you give someone like me who is looking to move from the UK to Melbourne to do Property Development – which is what I am doing now. I will be looking to invest around A$ 1.3m. I understand the business in the UK as I started it in 2010 with no funds and have developed and built the business to date. I agree with what your saying about starting small and building up. Any help would be appreciated.


    • Michael Yardney

      March 8, 2014 Michael Yardney

      Some of the things you’ve learned in the UK will definitely be translatable to here, but there’s a lot to learn about how the system works here.

      While the funds you have are substantial, in my opinion, you’ll need more than that if you plan to make property development a full time living


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    March 3, 2014 Kristy

    Hello, I have read all these posts, some great advise in their. I myself am busting to start developing property. I am coming form a complete different field but I’m obsessed with real estate. I am wanting to start small by buying blocks of land building houses and renting them out, and selling some.
    my dream is to buy big land and doing subdervision to Make lots of smaller blocks. I am about to start a cetrificate 4 in real estate to give me some knowledge, before i start but reading previous posts should I also look into project management courses as well.? Any advise please?


    • Michael Yardney

      March 4, 2014 Michael Yardney

      The advice is start small as you’ll make most of your mistakes and learn many lessons in the first few developments and you’ll need much more money than you think


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    February 8, 2014 Marei

    Hi Michael,

    I’m 19year old German student and finished school last year. I’ve just figured out that I would love to work in property development later on. Reading our article just confirmed my interest. However I’m very incertain which would be the right bachelor study to get there. Economics, architectectur, urbanistics? Can you help me? Thanks!


    • Michael Yardney

      February 8, 2014 Michael Yardney

      There is no specific course for property development, however architecture or project management are good starting qualifications to get a job with a property development company and lean on the job


  39. Avatar

    January 21, 2014 Private Building Certifiers | Building Certifiers - Certification Brisbane

    There is no doubt that when great minds are put together to formulate a response to an issue they can achieve anything.


  40. Avatar

    January 17, 2014 Weighbridge Suppliers in Doha

    there are a variety of factors that the designer has to get right. Regardless of what industry one is in, it is always complicated to offer something if it is the incorrect item, if it is the worng time or if the industry is over-supplied. The basic principles of busness implement to growth as well, which they should.


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    January 14, 2014 Caleb

    Thanks for the article. This will definitely help in the process of real estate development. Great guidelines to follow.


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    December 31, 2013 Building Certifiers Brisbane

    Wow! What a great post.


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    December 26, 2013 Johannes

    Hi I have been an eastate agent for long and have been woeking with property developes and I also want to become a property developer. I have learned how property developers do and working as one them. With this experience, can I be able to become an independent developer


    • Michael Yardney

      December 26, 2013 Michael Yardney

      Working with a developer as an estate agent is very different from being a developer and having your own money on the line.
      A property developer needs a myriad of skills over a number of disciplines. My best piece of advice- start small because you’ll learn 80% of your lessons in your first 2 or 3 developments.
      If you make it through those, you’ll be well on your way


      • Avatar

        August 18, 2014 Elissa

        Hi, I want you to be brutally honest, I live in Toronto, Ontario (Canada). If I want to become a property developer how much money will I need to start out?



        • Michael Yardney

          August 18, 2014 Michael Yardney

          Elissa, thanks for your comment. I’m sorry I don’t know the Canada market so why can’t answer the question, what I can say is that it is likely to be considerably more than you expect. Property development requires deep pockets.


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    November 7, 2013 Unique Property Management services by Bunbury Real Estate

    Gavin has a good experience in the field of real estate. His property strategies are beneficial for property investors.


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    November 1, 2013 Expert Real Estate advisor in Illawarra

    Recently I invested a hefty sum on a property. Thanks for this information. I guess it’s high time for me to start a property development business.


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    October 25, 2013 Lauren B

    Thank you for this posting. I am a master student of real estate and have decided to become a developer. I ultimately want to manage the entire development process and my own company, but first I need experience with each detail of the process so thank you for beginning to break it all down. What roles I should take on in order to learn the most and get the widest and deepest amount of experience is my next Q. I was surprised to see you had a product to sell at the end of this article because it was so informational for me. I think information and offering real value is the best way to attract your customers. 😉


    • Michael Yardney

      October 25, 2013 Michael Yardney

      IF you’re serious about getting involved in property development as a career you’ll find your theoretical education will only get you so far. Find an internship with a property development company and learn on the job – it’s the best way to do it.


      • Avatar

        October 27, 2013 Henry

        Hi Michael, re your reply to Lauren, can you priovide a list of property development company? Thanks


        • Michael Yardney

          October 27, 2013 Michael Yardney

          Thanks for reading this post and your comment Henry. You don’t really expect me to list all the potential employers Lauren could approach do you? I don’t know where she lives, her qualifications or aspirations. I’m sure if she’s studying development she’ll know where to start


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    August 22, 2013 Dr Thabane Ocean Malatji

    i am a young dr who just started with internship this year january. i am being paid well and saving enough but i want to be a property developer in 4 to 5 years time (e.g building town houses) and the reason for my saving is to build myself a capital in the form of money. i can see that with the little i am saving i wont be able to make my dream come true at that given time since i would have saved about R500000. how will i go about finding augmentation once i’ve got the money I mentioned? or is there any other way that i can be funded even before i reach that 4 or 5 years period, please help me


    • Michael Yardney

      August 22, 2013 Michael Yardney

      Thanks for the comment.
      Many investors want to get involved in property development, but it’s the peak of the triangle, something only really available to a few who have developed years of experience, built a large asset base and have good cash flow.
      It’s unrealistic to expect to achieve this in 5 years


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    August 5, 2013 joseph obakeng nkwe

    how do i go about buying a block of flats, and were can i get funding if i don’t have any


    • Michael Yardney

      August 5, 2013 Michael Yardney

      Hi Joseph
      We’ve bought 28 separate blocks of apartments for clients over the last 5 years – it’s a great investment strategy.
      But it requires a substantial amount of money and if you don’t have any, you shoudl probably set more modest goals to start with


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    February 28, 2013 clive

    I have already built an sold one property and now I am building a second one here in South Africa but my concern is that I do have an idea and a potential to become a registered developer and grow in this industry because I have got so much interest,please guide me as to where and how to get started,your assistance will be of great apreciation.


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    December 18, 2012 ndumiso

    hi, i found this to be a very interesting field to explore. any tips on someone like myself who’d like to grab the opportunity of property development? It’s always been my dream to build apartments for sale or rental. Your advice will be greatly appreciated.


  51. Avatar

    November 17, 2012 George33

    One can get a vast knowledge from this topic about building and acquiring property. Thanks for the post.


  52. Avatar

    November 14, 2012 Real Estate Professional in Illawarra

    I think you have a great knowledge about the development of property . Will you please share some more reviews ?


  53. Avatar

    May 11, 2012 Gavin Taylor

    Great insight, Asaf –
    What you say is true – and it has everything with getting the right product to market at the right time. Town planning is part of preparing the right product. So there are a number of variables that the developer has to get right. No matter what industry one is in, it is always hard to sell something if it is the wrong product, if it is the worng timing or if the market is over-supplied. The fundamentals of busness apply to development as well, which they should.
    As Michael has noted, there is a lot more detail available in other articles.
    Thanks for your feedback.


  54. Michael Yardney

    May 11, 2012 Michael Yardney

    Thanks for the comment Asaf
    If you check out some of Gavin’s other articles in the property development section of this website, you’ll find he goes into much more detail about each stage, including the challenges.

    You can find our property development articles here:


  55. Avatar

    May 11, 2012 Asaf Brukarz

    Great summary Gavin, but you’ve glanced over the two most difficult property development processes: (pre)sales and funding. The reason many developments never get off the ground in not due to poor town planning or delays in getting development approvals – most developments never get off the ground because they can’t secure funding or they can’t them sold.


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