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How to Find a Property with Development Potential

How to Find a Property with Development Potential

A lot of work goes into finding a good development site. Before you progress into a detailed feasibility study, you will want a quick method to rule properties in or out of further consideration. To do so, the first thing you need to ask yourself and the most important question to get started is ‘What is possible on the block?’. 

Here are some of the many strategies that you can use to find potential development sites. 

1. Online

Real estate portals – such as and – allow you to search for potential sites. The trick is to not limit yourself by just picking ‘land for sale’ as houses for sale on large blocks of land also have development potential. 

Bargain hunters should try looking online at the National Mortgagee and Deceased Estate Data website. Properties listed as mortgagee and deceased estate sales from across the nation can be found on this website.  

A suitable sized block of land will vary depending upon factors, such as minimum site area per dwelling and frontage. Make some inquiries with the local council for help in determining these requirements.  

2. Public Trustee

The public trustee is a state government body that deals with matters including the sale of property for those who died without a will. Quite often, beneficiaries want to sell the property as quickly as possible, providing a bargain opportunity for astute buyers. 

3. Newspapers

If you are scrolling through newspapers for potential sites, make sure to look into both state-based and suburban channels. Though an old-fashioned method, it is a great way to find a gem before anyone else.  

4. Drive Around & Get Active

If you have done your adequate research enough to know that you want to develop, then you should at this stage have a solid understanding of good locations. First, you should contact local real estate agents and inform them that you are looking for development sites. Don’t just contact one, contact at least four or five. Second, drive around and look for sites for sale. If something looks promising in person, research more about that property online. Third, if you find a great site, which isn’t currently for sale, it does not necessarily mean that the owner isn’t willing to sell. You can approach the owner of the property with an offer.  

How to Know What the BEST Site Is for Your Development

Not all sites make for profitable developments. There are a number of factors to consider, including:  

  • Location – Is it in a good suburb, close to schools, shops and public transport? Many potential buyers place great importance on proximity to amenities. 
  • Topography – Is it a flat block of land or is it on a slope? If your site isn’t level, you need to seriously consider the extra costs involved. The difference in elevation of just one metre can add tens of thousands to your costs. A buyer won’t care that you had to spend an extra $15,000 leveling the site, so it’s important that you make sure that you have a flat block. Or, if you decide to go ahead with a sloping block, that there’s enough profit in it to outweigh the expenses of leveling it. 
  • Size – Is the site large enough and wide enough for multiple dwellings? You also need to look into the zoning regulations of the local council to make sure that you can develop on that site. 

If, after you have considered all of the factors about that site and examined the surrounding developments, you are happy to go ahead with the site, then you should begin a feasibility study. 

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