And the best part is that you don’t have to shell out for their services personally; their fees will be paid for by the development finance.
Now, while this picture looks quite rosy from a distance, you probably think there’s a fairly large elephant in the room. Because the truth is, while your professional team may have lots of experience in development, you feel like the odd one out since you’ve never done a single day’s property developing in your life. Ok, it’s time for a quick reality check to calm those newbie nerves.
Let’s think about cruises for a moment, not that you’ll have been on many of those recently. You may have noticed that Richard Branson has recently launched his first cruise line, and you won’t be surprised to learn it’s called Virgin Voyages. But he didn’t start this venture, having spent thirty years in the cruise line industry, rising from cabin boy to captain. Instead, he’s simply an entrepreneur who saw a great opportunity and who used his existing CEO skills to pull together a team that already has all of the experience necessary to make it a success. Did he attend that first board meeting thinking, ‘I hope no one asks me what the front end of a boat is called or what it costs to build a cruise liner?’ Probably not. He has a team of people sitting around the table that can answer those questions for him. But what he does have are the skills necessary to see an opportunity and build a team capable of taking advantage of it. And, of course, you wouldn’t bet against him succeeding.
Now, your role as a small-scale property developer is of the same mould. Nothing quite as grand as running a cruise line, but the principle is the same. You’ll be playing the role of Richard Branson in your (much smaller) property development business, and your extended team will be on hand to deal with the details and the technical stuff.
So what exactly will you, the developer, be doing? Well, at a high level, your job breaks down into several key roles:
- You’ll need to establish your business, strategy, and brand, and decide what type of development you’re going to tackle.
- You’ll have to recruit your team of professionals, including architects, solicitors, project managers, structural engineers, etc.
- You’ll need to be able to find a supply of good quality, profitable deals. These will need to be analysed to sort the wheat from the chaff and decide which ones are worth pursuing.
- You’ll be arranging the finance for your first project, working with both commercial lenders and private investors.
This is all well and good, but what skills do you need to be a property developer? Surely you can’t expect to earn the sort of money developers make without having any talent or knowledge whatsoever? Well, I’ve been training and working with developers for nearly 40 years, and here, in my opinion, are the essential skills that you need to do the job well.