‘Your First Time’ Why Most Developers Avoid the Planning Stage

Most property developers simply do not understand the first stage of developing; the stage of sourcing the appropriate land, and planning and design. We have all heard the stories of disappointments, setbacks, long delays, and Planning Application refusals from Council. There are losses, which could have been avoided if only developers had a broad understanding of planning rules and regulations, and their consultants and contractors had abided by the planning regulations correctly and performed due diligence before applying for permits.

Most developers find this stage too difficult and try to avoid it. Instead they only purchase land with planning permits ready to go; even if they are forced to pay a premium for the privilege. That’s fine if you want to spend more than you really should and not willing to take the challenge.

However, I can tell you with confidence that if you are willing to grasp the planning stage of developing, you will make more profit on your projects.

Setting up the right structure

First things first. Before you start the development process, you need to decide if you are going to hold or sell the property. This is even before you start looking for a site. Different structures can lead to different tax outcomes – be they income tax, capital gains tax or GST implications. It is important that you seek advice from your tax specialist and legal advisor on what sort of structure best suits you. I can’t stress enough on the importance of seeking that advice at the start of the developer’s journey.

Many times I have seen successful developers complete a project only to have most of the profit handed back to the ATO!

A little bit of well-spent time at the start can save you a lot of money at the end.


When it comes to consultants, it is imperative to deal only with those who are qualified to give advice. Ask to see their credentials. Ask revealing questions like: Have you developed property yourself? What type of developments do you specialise in? Ask about other clients of theirs who are in the property field. This also goes when you are looking for lawyers, conveyancers, builders and accountants. Don’t be afraid to ask to see their qualifications.

Having the right advisers will not only save you money but can help you grow by building your network of contacts who bring you business.

Adviser’s fees

I’ve been asked many times about the huge fees associated with consultants and advisers and my answer is always the same; if you pay the right people the right amount of money to do the right work, you’ll be successful. If your advisers have given you the right advice and you have made a better return than initially envisioned, then pay them what they are worth. I rely on my consultants and advisers to do what it is they’re good at and I pay them handsomely for it.

Starting out, the benefit of an experienced company or developer

As I mentioned, to be a successful property developer, you need to be aware of the pitfalls associated with starting your own project. Many have decided to follow their dream of being a property developer, thinking they can go it alone, only to find it is not the easy street they thought it would be. If you want to be successful, you need to seek the services of a people or company’s who is experienced, and who is knowledgeable in all aspects of subdivision, developing, building and all matters associated with it.

There is too much time and money involved to start a project without the advice of experts.

CEOs of the most successful companies are successful because they engage experts help them reach the company’s goals. They know it can’t be done solo. Seek help, get the best advice and you will be successful. The journey today’s successful CEO undertakes is more than just making money or as Henry Ford said “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business”


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