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As a professional property developer, mastering the tricky business of finding a suitable property development site is essential. In fact, it’s nothing short of an art. There is a plethora of things to take into account before you get the ball rolling. Without conducting thorough research and due diligence, your entire property development project could encounter obstacles at any point.

Don’t let that put you off though; the challenge is worth the reward and we’re here to guide you through the intricate process.

Key Site Considerations

Before you consider buying a property, you must find out everything you can about a property development site. Australia’s urban planning laws are fussy, but if you take note of them from the beginning, your project will be much smoother.

Your best bet is getting hold of both state and local scheme maps. These maps may be available on government websites, but they may not have been updated to reflect recent changes. Good property development platforms, however, will aid you in this regard. Archistar is one of these platforms; it includes access to Australia’s largest zoning database, which is updated weekly.

Scheme maps as features on Archistar help you in finding potentially profitable sites. You will be able to find out the zone, density, flood risk, fire risk, contours, and heritage overlays of sites. These factors will significantly affect the properties you can develop and how profitable your project will be.

Outside of zoning, there are other essential things to scrutinise:

  • What is the best use of this property?
  • What are the site restrictions?
  • Site orientation
  • Site dimensions
  • Encumbrances
  • What does the local community need: is there a demand for the type of property you want to develop?
  • How will the local economy affect the success of my project? What is the local unemployment rate? What is the median income of the population?
  • Will residents rent or buy property?
  • Will the development be close enough to local amenities such as healthcare, education, shopping centres etc.?

Property Development Sites To Avoid

You may think you’ve found the perfect site for development, but sometimes things can be too good to be true. There are often hindrances that you would be unaware of without due diligence.

Avoid properties which:

Have the potential for road resumptions – this means you land has been earmarked for future roads. These roads could negatively affect the amount of developable land on your site.

Do not have compliance certificates – is the property approved for its current use? The property must be certified and compliant with the local council to ensure it is not used illegally.

Have vegetation protection – biodiversity and environmental protections preserve vegetation and habitats, increasing the cost of construction.

Have unpaid land tax and council rates – if you buy a property with such outstanding fees, you may be liable for these costs and have to deal with the administration too.

Have easements – an easement means that a section of land gives another party the right to use the land for a particular purpose even though they do not own the land. This is often done with shared driveways and telephone or power lines.

Now that you know what to look for and what to avoid in a property development site, you can start planning your project.

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