Property Development: 8 steps to success

Property Development: 8 steps to success

The thought of being a property developer and turning a huge profit may seem a glamorous one, however there are lots of things to bear in mind when taking the plunge into the world of buying, renovating and selling.  

We spoke to Steve from Steve Gilbert Building Services, who has more than 20 years' experience in the industry, for his pointers and words of wisdom.

Follow these steps to property development success:

Remain impartial

This is important whether you are hoping to renovate and sell for a profit or rent out as a longer-term investment. These decisions are not about your personal preferences, so you need to adopt your mind frame to that of a potential tenant or buyer. Think about your target demographic - if you are aiming to let to a family think about what needs they will have e.g. parking and outside space. Treat a property purely as a business asset, and you're on the right track. 

Location is EVERYTHING

Location should be a top priority when looking at a property to invest in. If you're purchasing a typical family home, then are good schools located nearby? If it's a starter home, what are the transport links like? Build up a persona for who the home would typically fit and question whether this location would fit their lifestyle. If it doesn't fit the template, find something else.

Will you make a return?

You also need to ensure that the area you are buying in isn't so expensive that you won't make a return on your investment. Look at areas of growth, planning proposals and the local community. Are there plenty of amenities, restaurants, sports, and leisure activities? These factors usually provide a good indication as to whether a location is on the rise and attractive to investors, tenants and buyers.


If you're going to have to spend a lot of money just to make the property structure's safe, will you make as big a profit as you hoped? However, you still need to make sure that any work you carry out has been done by so a qualified builder to ensure that the property meets building standards. A bargain is a bargain for a reason, so do your research.

Size and features

How are the rooms proportioned? Think back to your homeowner persona; will these rooms cater to their needs? Is there a toilet downstairs and a bathroom upstairs? This is particularly one to remember if you're choosing between an older or a modern property, where layout could impact whether people can realistically live in the property.  

Other things which are often important to homeowners include garden size, whether the home has a garage and what the parking is like outside the property.

Take your time

It's important to seek the proper planning permission you may require in order to renovate your investment. Even if you don't require permission, it's always advisable that you start work with proper plans in place. The more detailed your plans, the more likely you are to stick to your desired budget and timescale. 

Quality matters

When you're looking to make a profit, it can be tempting to carry out your renovations on the cheap. However, by investing in a qualified builder and fixtures and fittings, you will ensure that your property will stand the test of time and guarantee a true market value.

It's also worth taking care of the outside of the property too, and taking pride in your kerb appeal. You'll find that the majority of buyers have normally made their mind up on a property before they have even stepped through the door, so make those first impressions count.

Keep it neutral

Potential buyers or tenants are going to want a blank canvas so that they can input their own stamp on the place when they move in. Avoid adding your own personal tastes to the mix when renovating or decorating a property - again, this is about maximising the property's popularity with buyers and tenants.

Keep rooms as light and bright as possible; creams and whites are the best shades to pick for walls. Always choose neutral kitchen and bathroom fittings, too. Meanwhile, inbuilt appliances are another big selling point for tenants.

How financially sound is your investment?

After taking all of the above factors into consideration you need to be confident that your purchase will bring home a healthy return on investment. Both your time and money are limited and precious resources. By carrying out your own due diligence on a property, you will be much better off in the long run. 

For bespoke advice on selecting a property to renovate to sell or to let please contact your local Whitegates estate agent. Our helpful and friendly teams across the region are ready and waiting for your call! 

Finally, for investment tips, legislation updates and landlord news make sure you subscribe to our monthly landlord newsletter. 

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Disclaimer: Guest blog posts on the Whitegates blog are written by external companies. Whitegates do not endorse the products or services of these companies.