Location, location, location as the TV show says is very important especially if this if your first property development. You need to have a good idea about the house market in the area you are thinking of buying. Buying locally might be wise for a fist time property developer as you should have a good idea of what areas are being developed and if there is a need for rented accommodation in the area.
If you're unsure of what's happening in an area you will need to do some research. You could ask local estate agents, read local papers and just generally ask people in the area. For instance if there is a university in the town and your planning on renting out the development then find out where it is and check the properties in that area. Also look at local transport and facilities.
A great way to get ahead of everyone else is to know where the up coming areas are in the town. Many towns have regeneration areas where lots of local government money is being spent on areas. A useful tip is to be wary of what estate agents say. Remember they will be wanting to make a sale so may describe an area as up and coming when in reality that might not be the case. Ask them what type of properties have sold recently and for how much.
Another useful tip is to remember to keep your business head on and always follow your
business plan. It is very easy to fall in love with a property which is not going to get you the best return.
Just because you like a property it doesn't mean it will be the right type of property to develop to either
sell on or rent. You should have a list at hand with what you require from the property and stick to it.
Once you have chosen the right property you are then going to need to find the right builder to do the development. This part could make or break your development so it's important to find the right building company.
Hiring a building will only provide you with skilled labor which means you will be acting as your own contractor which means you will have to prepare all the necessary permits relating to the project. This is fine if you have the time to do the research necessary. You will also have to coordinate all aspects of the development which it fine for an experienced developer but not for a first timer. Coordinating the architect, designer, electrician plumber etc could be a right ordeal if not done correctly. It's a bit of a balancing act and shouldn't be taken on lightly.
First time developers almost certainly should hire a contractor and let the experts deal with all of the above. However like the property you need to do a bit of research to find the best one. Check online for building contractors and ask for references.
Like everything we do in life, preparation is the key to a successful project. The more time spent researching every aspect of your property development, the more likely your development will turn out well. At the end of the day you want to make the most amount of profit, and you won't do that if you jump in head first without looking at everything.