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Buy, Build or Renovate? A Guide to Your First Property Development


apartment sky viewGetting your foot on the property development ladder can be a tough cookie to crack. There are far too many considerations for one person to think about, and the amount of effort, time and money it takes to even obtain your first property can be incredibly daunting. However, for those that manage to get their foot in the door, it opens up a whole new world of financial possibilities and, in most cases, it’s worth every single bit of effort you put into it.

The first thing you should understand is how to start your first property development. Assuming you’ve saved up all the money you need and have contacts that can assist you with getting your property on the market, then here are some considerations to make in regards to buying, building or renovating your very first property.

Buying a property

Buying a home either for the sake of reselling or to rent out is the most basic choice because it takes the least amount of time of the three. It is, however, arguably one of the more expensive options because you have to straight up purchase a home in order to be able to resell it or rent it out to potential tenants. However, you can often get some fantastic deals if you’re an early bird and manage to buy a property or two in a large development project such as a luxury apartment complex. Some of these investments work like trusts; you pay upfront for a property and contribute to the development project, and the company that handles the build manages the rent and everything else. All you do is agree to their terms, allow them to take a handling fee and then you simply sit back and let the money roll in. This is arguably the least effort despite being the most expensive, but it’s almost guaranteed to get you a return on your money assuming you take the necessary precautions to safeguard your money.

Building a property

The next option is to build your own property. This will involve hiring architects and buying a large plot of land to fit your design. This takes arguably more money than simply buying a property because there are more people involved in the overall project. However, this does offer far more control than simply buying a property or just renovating some place. You’ll need to keep a lot of things in consideration so it’s best to get your architect on board as soon as possible. This means you’ll have a trusted advisor to guide you as you go through your designs and plan your structure. You’ll need to do a lot of research on what types of homes are popular in your chosen location and how to make the most of your building materials. You shouldn’t use cheap materials that could cause an issue with the structure in the future, but you also shouldn’t overestimate the worth of your property and use luxury or premium materials that will needlessly bump up the price. You’ll also have to think about interior design. If you’re not too experienced with design matters, then you might need to hire an interior designer to help you work out the best colours and decorations to use for your property, further increasing the cost.

Renovating a property

The last option is to simply renovate a property. This is perhaps the cheapest option of the three because there are many people out there who are willing to put their properties in the hands of experienced property developers that can increase the value of their home. Renovation usually means fixing up the structure of a home and doesn’t necessarily refer to just the interior design. However, it’s a good idea to remember that you’ll need just as much experience and advice as you would when you’re building your own home. It takes a lot of work stripping out a home of all of the existing furniture, which means you’ll need to hire someone if you don’t want to get your own hands dirty. Before you invest money into a renovation project, make sure you understand what you’re getting yourself into. For instance, if the property looks tacky, cheap and uncared for, then you need to value it based on your own judgement. Is the area good? Are there local amenities? What are the chances that this property will sell? These are things that you’ll gradually learn as you build up experience, but it goes without saying that despite renovation being the cheapest option, it’s also one that can backfire the hardest.


Home Building Tips: 10 Tips for Constructing Your Own House


Are you getting ready to build your dream home and don’t know where to start?

Most people don’t realize that building your own home can end up being more expensive than buying a pre-constructed house. There is a lot to consider so you don’t waste money and still get the house you want.

But, you don’t have to overcomplicate things. There are standards you can follow to make the whole process easier for you. This post will tell you what you need to know.

Keeping reading to learn home building tips that can help you build your dream home.

1. Plan Out Everything in Advance

Your plan is the most important thing you will do for your home build.

When planning your home don’t leave anything to chance. Make sure you plan every door, window, bedroom, and bathroom.

There are several design tools available that will help you design your home. If you think you need help, then consult a designer that is an expert in home design. Going this route means all of your bases are covered.

2. Make Sure You Budget Correctly

You are spending a lot of money on your custom home, so make sure you spend your money wisely.

A good rule of thumb is to budget more than you expect the construction to cost. This rule helps prepare you for any unseen situations. Not only will things likely go wrong, but there may also be things you didn’t consider and need to add onto your build.

3. Make Sure to Work With Your Landscape

You might think with limited area to work with that you don’t need to deal much with your landscape.

But, things change, and you might want to do something with it in the future. Take the time to plan out areas where you can add landscaping features such as gardens, trees, and shrubs.

Doing so will not only make your home more attractive but help make it worth more.

4. Build to Help Your Home Energy Use

Did you know that you can use your landscape to save energy for your home?

Making use of natural light, shrubs, and trees can help save on your heating and cooling costs.

Natural light helps keep your home warm in the winter when it is cold. When light enters the home, it helps retain heat without the use of a heater. Well placed shrubs will also stop the wind from hitting the house and cooling it down in cold weather.

If you need to keep your home cooler, well-placed trees will stop the sun from entering your home and heating it. This shade will save you with cooling costs.

5. Take Lots of Pictures

You will probably find things that you don’t like. Make sure you take pictures of it all.

When you document everything, you will have the proof to show the people in charge of construction. If something is wrong, they will be able to fix the problem to ease any concerns you have.

6. Keep up to Date on Progress

Don’t let construction go on without staying up to date.

Make sure you are getting regular update from the building managers on progress and any issues that come up. By keeping up to date, you are staying ahead of any problems that will throw a wrench in the building progress.

Never assume everything is fine because you may not always be updated when it isn’t.

7. Find the Right Contractors

A good contractor can make or break a building. Don’t overlook this step. It is one of the most critical steps in getting your home built.

Keep the following factors in mind when finding a builder:

  • Credentialed to build in your area
  • Have the proper insurance
  • Have references to give you
  • Be able to show past work
  • Have a personality that works for you
  • Can give you great work for a reasonable price

If you do your due diligence you should be able to find a great contractor. Don’t be afraid to skip over anyone that doesn’t sit right with you.

8. Don’t Worry About Things Not Looking Right

Sometimes construction will appear to be out of place before it looks right. Don’t be worried if things don’t look like they should.

If you are concerned about the progress, then reach out to the building managers to see what is going on. They will be able to tell you why things look the way they do.

Chances are they will be in a staging or transition spot before moving to the final build.

9. Prepare for Mistakes

If you expect everything to go right on a home build, you’re probably wrong.

Building a home is a long, labor-intensive process. Mistakes are going to be made you need to prepare for them.

You may have some cases where something doesn’t turn out exactly as you want. Other times you may have something turn into something better. Just remember the bigger picture and don’t sweat it if every little thing isn’t perfect.

10. Look Into House and Land Packages

House and land packages have become a new trend in the real estate industry.

These packages allow you to bundle land purchases and a new home together. They offer several home packages that will enable you to customize your build to meet whatever your needs are.

This process allows quicker builds at lower costs that help put you in your new home quicker and cheaper.

Home Building Tips: Final Thoughts

These home building tips won’t tell you everything you need to know, but it’s a good start. Things will vary based on what you want and the location that you are building. Make sure you do all the research to know what needs to be done.

Are you considering a tiny home for your construction? Read our article on tiny houses to learn more about them!

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Sustainability: Good for Profits, Good for the Planet

green building

Chances are you have been hearing about green building practices, especially if you’re interested in building new or buying a new home or commercial building. Resource-efficient buildings that save power and have a low environmental impact are more than a trend and there are many ways to build smarter and greener, from wall gardens and green roofs to harnessing solar, water, and wind power.

Sustainable building reduces humankind’s harmful industrial footprint on the planet, which is important, but it also has become big business, proving itself to be profitable. If you want to increase your bottom line, think about the environment and invest in sustainable construction.

Today’s eco-friendly structures are green in more ways than one, and its thanks in part to technology like the use of robots to manage systems like power and water use.

Sustainable Building Movement

The sustainable building movement has been around for over 50 years, yet it really has only recently gained real traction as we struggle to reduce carbon emissions and provide a safer environment for all living matter.

Therefore, reducing pollution and environmental destruction; protecting those who use the buildings, both employees and customers; and using resources such as water and energy sources efficiently drives the movement forward.

Some sub-movements have grown out of this umbrella idea of sustainability, including healthy building, which focuses on the physical and mental well-being of employees. This fits in with the idea of gentler treatment of the planet and all living upon it.

Another category within green construction is natural building, which focuses on reclaiming used natural materials and using new materials that are renewable, recyclable, and minimally processed.

Sustainability for Resiliency

In the aftermath of multiple natural disasters ranging from hurricanes to floods to fires, green building practices are helping real estate developers weave resiliency into building plans. This is true for both structures and overall patterns of urban improvement.

As state and local governments increasingly strengthen regulations and building codes, architects and developers will work together to build cities that can better withstand extreme weather and recover quicker in the aftermath of natural disasters.

Adapting Through Sustainability

Green building certainly helps mitigate extreme elements of climate change by using natural resources and reducing waste and destruction.

The sustainable movement is not a wave of the future. It is here now as the clarion call to adapt is sounded.
Many factors about the corporate world are becoming more fluid, from where employees work to how building spaces are used. These also are powerful examples of direct adaptability in the face of necessity. Reusing and repurposing individual materials as well as spaces within buildings does help the planet, but it also makes good financial sense.

  • Purchases can be reduced, saving money
  • Natural light and energy lessen dependence on electrical grids
  • Fewer long commutes diminish the carbon footprint and help individuals save on fuel costs

Green building is offering up lots of new career opportunities.  It’s an exciting sector, and it’s where new graduates in engineering, construction, and architecture want to be. roof down. Today,  careers in real estate industries like residential development, and the front end occupations like sales, corporate body property management are also winners with the sustainability movement.

A Bright Green Future

While green building can help the planet and all those living on it by reducing the effects of climate change and preserving natural resources, this movement also has become big business, thus showing itself to be sustainable, as well. By improving the bottom line, green and sustainable building will put down firm roots and grow strong.

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Pre-Fabulous: 8 Fabulous Reasons to Buy a Prefab House

new vs existing home purchase

Are you thinking about building a new home for you and your family?

If so, you have the option of buying a piece of land and building your home from scratch on site with the help of a general contractor. It’ll allow you to completely customize your home, and despite what you may have heard, it won’t necessarily cost you a fortune to do it. It costs about $290,000 on average to build a new home in the U.S.

But you should know that that’s not your only option. You can also buy a prefab house and have it placed on your property. Prefab homes, which are also commonly called modular homes, are houses that are designed and built in a factory before being transported to your land and positioned wherever you want it.

Here are 8 fabulous reasons to consider going with a prefab home.

1. Allows You to Design Your Home From Top to Bottom

One of the reasons so many people are building new homes these days as opposed to buying existing ones is because they want to be able to design their homes to look and feel like whatever they want.

A prefab house will give you the opportunity to do this. From deciding how many bedrooms and bathrooms you want to choosing the best materials for your countertops and flooring, you can do it all with a prefab home.

The company that provides you with your prefab house can set you up with a design template and help you along the way. But it’ll be up to you to learn more about everything you can put into a prefab home and design your home the way you want it to be.

2. Saves You Time by Delivering a New Home Quickly

Building a new home from scratch on site usually ends up taking a lot longer than people expect.

At some point in time, the weather doesn’t cooperate, and it forces contractors to delay home builds. This can turn a project that was supposed to take a few months into a project that lasts for more than a year and, in some cases, even several years.

This is something you won’t have to worry about when you buy a prefab house. Prefab homes are built in climate-controlled factories, which means the weather won’t ever be a factor. And they can usually be built in just a few weeks tops, so you won’t have to wait around for months and months for your new home to be done.

3. Ensures Your New Home Is Completely Up to Code

Unless you work out some kind of arrangement with the company building your prefab home, you’re probably not going to see it get built.

But you can rest easy at night knowing that the company is doing everything in its power to ensure your prefab home is up to code. Reputable builders have quality control systems and on-site inspectors in place to make sure of it.

4. Typically Costs Less Than a Traditional New Home Build

Prefab homes aren’t always less expensive than traditional new home builds. It all depends on how you design it and what you decide to put on the inside and outside of your prefab home.

But generally speaking, you can usually save somewhere between 15 and 20 percent when you go with a prefab home instead of building a home on site. That could result in you saving tens of thousands of dollars.

Prefab homes are usually a little bit more affordable than traditional new home builds because prefab manufacturers buy up the materials they use to build their homes in bulk. This keeps costs lower than they would be otherwise.

5. Makes Your New Home More Energy Efficient

Most of the companies that make and sell prefab homes have taken steps to make all their homes more energy efficient. They know that people want to keep their heating and cooling costs low, so they go above and beyond to create energy-efficient homes.

They do it by finding innovative ways to insulate the homes they make. They also do it by utilizing materials that are more eco-friendly than some of the alternatives.

6. Provides You With a Stronger and More Durable Home

All new homes are going to be strong and durable to some degree. But prefab homes are made to be extra strong simply because they need to be able to withstand taking a trip to your property.

A prefab home will usually be delivered to you on the back of a large truck. In order for it to survive the transportation process, it needs to be as durable as it can be.

7. Reduces the Amount of Time and Money You’ll Spend on Maintenance

Once your prefab home arrives on your property, it’ll be set up so that you can move right into it. After you do, you shouldn’t have to do any maintenance to your new home for a long, long time.

The high-quality materials that are used to build prefab houses are engineered to last you for a lifetime. This means that you won’t have to spend any time or money maintaining your home or doing costly repairs to it.

8. Gives You More Control Over the Entire Homebuilding Process

When you build a home on site, you usually won’t feel like you have very much control over the homebuilding process. Your contractor will wield most of the power and determine how quickly your home gets finished and when you can move into it.

But when you invest in a prefab house, you’ll put a lot of the power into your own hands. You can tell the company building your prefab house when you want it finished, when you want it delivered, and how you want the process as a whole to play out.

You’ll feel much better about going through the process when you feel like you’re in control of it.

Purchase a Prefab House Today

If you’re going to be building a new home soon, give some consideration to making it a prefab house. As you can see, there are so many reasons to fall in love with the idea of owning a prefab home.

Just make sure you work with an experienced company that specializes in building prefab houses if you ultimately decide to go in that direction. It’ll ensure the homebuilding process goes smoothly and gives you exactly what you want.

Check out our blog for more information on prefab homes.

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Considerations for Demolishing and Building a New Home


The realtors have always said: when it comes to buying a home, it’s all about location, location, location. Many homebuyers prioritize finding an area in which they prefer to be or a lot that catches their eye over the house that goes along with it.

Unfortunately, growing needs and situations often undermine a homebuyer’s efforts over time. Growing families or improved income can necessitate a different living space. If you want to stay in the same area and have little room for renovations, a demolish and build approach might be for you.

What is Demolish and Build?

Demolish and build is as it sounds – you destroy your old house and have a new one built in the same spot. This is a viable option for people with growing families in a desirable area, rather than looking for a larger home in the same school district. Demolish and build is also an option for someone on a small lot that has limited room for renovations or those who wish to add a second floor to their current abode.

How Does Demolish and Build Work?

The first step to having a demolish and build completed is to figure out what you want for a new house. For example, if you’re looking at replacing your single-story house with something larger, you’d look at various display homes to see which style appeals to your desires and requirements. Having an idea of what you want will open better channels of communication with the contractor handling the project, which leads into the next step.

To handle a project of this magnitude, you’ll need to find a contractor who has ample experience with demolishing. This is integral if you want to maintain the quality of your current lot and ensure the project is handled correctly.

A reliable builder will talk to you about your goals, take the time to look at the space before providing a quote, and provide you with a complete outline of costs and time expectations. They may even be able to walk you through the process of obtaining approval and remaining in adherence to community bylaws and regulations.

The Pros of Demolish and Build

The main benefit of the demolish and build process is the ability to keep your land. Highly-desirable areas fill up quickly, driving market prices sky-high. If you’re in an area that’s convenient for commuting to work, getting your children a quality education or has sentimental value, a demolish and build project can help you get your dream home without moving away.

Another benefit of this process is that it’s efficient. A skilled builder will set up the project timeline so that the demolition is being handled during the preconstruction phase. That way, when you receive building approval, the lot is ready to go.

The Cons of Demolish and Build

The primary concern when conducting a demolish and build is cost. You can expect to pay more for this approach than you would for building from scratch. That being said, it may be more cost effective to do this than to move to a new home in a highly desired area. Furthermore, the demolition may not cost as much as you would expect.

The other con is that people often struggle with the idea of knocking down a sturdy house to replace it with another. It can seem wasteful and unsustainable. Fortunately, there are a lot of nonprofits (such as Habitat for Humanity) that can use leftover construction supplies and scraps. Think about it: all the appliances, doors, door handles, windows, fixtures, etc. can be given to these organizations rather than heading to the dump.

With land costs on the rise and people flocking to already populous areas, the demolish and build approach to homeownership is becoming more popular due to the many benefits for homeowners.

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Building or Buying a House: Which is Better for Your Family?


In 2017, the U.S. real estate saw a whopping 5.51 million sales of existing homes. That’s a monthly average of 460,000 sales!

The new home sector was also pretty booming that year, having sold an average of 51,000 units every month.

But these figures don’t signal an already cold market. In fact, at the moment, housing inventory is still low.

So, what does this all mean to you as a potential home buyer?

First, that you may still have a hard time finding your dream home. Second, that building a new house may be your better option.

Building or buying a house is a dilemma that many people – not only in America but all over the world – face. Both have advantages over the other, so it’s best you arm yourself with that knowledge.

Those pros and cons are exactly what this post will cover, so be sure to keep reading!

The Cost (AKA Your Budget)

The cost to build vs. buy a house depends on many factors. There’s size, location, architectural features – the list goes on.

To give you an idea, the average cost to build your own house in the U.S. is $288,309. Now, compare this with the $271,900 average price of existing single-family homes in July 2018.

That’s a considerable $16,409 price difference, isn’t it?

As you can see, buying will cost you less than building. But the latter’s extra cost affords you one huge benefit, which we’ll discuss next.

Customization and Personalization

The higher cost of building your own home gives you much more flexibility in terms of design. That means you can incorporate as many features as you want in your to-be-built home!

Take the project homes Sydney, Australia is now quite known for. They’ve become popular over the years because they’re flexible and economical. Their versatile designs help builders meet the unique needs of the homes’ occupants.

There are even home builders who specialize in constructing living walls. If you want an ultra-comfortable and stylish patio, home builders can set you up with that too.

The bottom line is, building gives you greater control over how you’d like your home to look. This is something you can’t get right away if you buy an existing home. Yes, you can renovate and remodel, but that’s going to cost you a lot.

So, if home features are that important to you and your family, consider building.

Maintenance Costs

When considering whether to build a house vs buy a house, think of maintenance costs.

As you can already guess, an existing house is much more expensive to maintain.

For the simple reason that it already has wear and tear. In fact, some of these properties may also have outdated crucial systems. Worn plumbing and aged electrical wiring can be expensive to repair or replace.

When you build a house, you know that most, if not all parts are spanking brand new. Even the contents, like appliances, are fresh from the factory. That means they all come with warranties.

What’s more, reputable home builders also offer long warranty periods on their projects.

Let’s say a structural issue (think drafty windows or sagging floorboards) occurs. You won’t pay for the repairs. The warranty will cover repairs or replacements for you.

Consider Your Needs and Wants before Building or Buying a House

The bottom line is, before building or buying a house, consider your family’s unique needs and wants. If you have specific or special living requirements, it may be best to build. If you have a tight budget and are fine to compromise certain home features, it may be better to buy.

Looking for more real estate insider info like this? Then feel free to head over to our blog! We’ve got more nifty tips to share with you.

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Build Out Your Bistro: How to Pick a Restaurant Construction Company


Owning a restaurant and becoming a restauranteur is a dream of many. But before you make people happy one bite at a time, you have to get the restaurant built.

If your restaurant plans are in the final stages and all you need is a contractor, the work is not done yet.

In this post, we’ll share some tips on how to find the right restaurant construction company.

Take Your Time with the Selection Process

Finding the right contractor for your restaurant will require a lot of research on your part. You shouldn’t settle for the first construction company you find in the yellow pages.

Nowadays, there are many ways to check the legitimacy of a construction company.

If you’re already in the business, then you might have many connections that can refer you to a contractor. You can ask your suppliers or fellow restauranteurs for a reputable contractor.

Word of mouth is still a powerful thing.

Although getting a contractor referred to you is an option, this might not work for everyone. Always come up with some options on your own before you settle for a contractor.

Take your search online and search for construction companies that specialize in restaurants. Not all commercial contractors have the expertise to build a restaurant.

Most businesses have a website these days, so make sure you check theirs out and look through their previous projects. If they don’t have a website to show their projects, you might want to steer clear of them.

Or openly talk to them about why they don’t have one. But, a professional and legitimate construction company will most likely have a website.

You Need to Prepare The Materials Before the Meeting

Once you weed out construction companies and you have a few choices, you have to prepare for the initial meeting.

A restaurant construction project is a bit more tricky than any other type of construction project.

For example, do you really want a big kitchen and a smaller dining area? Probably not. You want to build a decent size kitchen and have a larger dining space so you can maximize on revenue.

On top of that, you should examine current dining trends to determine what people are looking for in a restaurant. Are they turned off by big restaurant chains? Do they want a restaurant that sources their ingredients locally?

Keep all these things in mind before your meeting with potential contractors.

Before the meeting, you should bring in your floor plan materials as well as an equipment list. You could send these to them beforehand, so they have everything they need before the first meeting.

It might also help them make a better pitch if they know what you’re looking for.

Compare Contractors & Estimates

Yes, picking a contractor that fits your budget is very important, but it shouldn’t be the only deciding factor.

Check for chemistry and rapport when you meet with the contractors. Do you like how they treat you? Do they respect your vision?

Are they communicating with you in a way you understand? Keep in mind you’ll be working with them for several months. So, if you don’t have chemistry, the professional relationship might not work.

Now that you’ve sorted that out, it’s time to pay attention to the estimates.

Make sure you ask important questions about the estimates. Ask them to break down each cost so you can reference and compare others.

You need to look at an estimate in detail to see what you’re actually getting. Looking at the overall total won’t help you with the bigger picture.

Some contractors might be cheaper, but they could be using lower quality materials.

The Contractor Pays Attention to the Compliances

While most commercial construction projects require you to have a number of permits, restaurant construction projects are a bit riskier.

Restaurants have to adhere to health codes, safety, and be ADA Compliant. They need to have the appropriate parking and entrance accessibility for people with disabilities.

You must comply with the local health department and be on good standing with the fire marshall.

Restaurant projects also require the kitchen to have specific mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP).

The restaurant construction company you select for this project must know all about these requirements. They should know the difference between “front of house” construction and “back of house.”

If you want to know how important compliance is to the contractor, you should quiz them a little bit. But in order to do that, you must be knowledgeable about the subject.

Once the contractor knows what your expectations are, it will keep them on their toes.

Do a Background Check on the Top Choices

After you’ve selected a lucky few contractors, it’s time you perform a background check on all of them.

Depending on the area where you live, contractors and builders are required to have specific licenses and permits. Make sure your potential contractors are up to code with all of their licenses with the specific local authorities.

Check to see if their licenses and permits have ever been revoked or suspended. Also, check to see if they’re insured. The contractor you choose should be insured to protect both of you in the event of a liability.

Check Their References

The last thing you should do is check their references personally. They shouldn’t be opposed to this if they’re proud of their work.

Call a few restaurant owners that have worked with them in the past and ask them about their experience with the contractor.

If they have anything negative to say, ask them to elaborate more on the issue. Also, asked them how the contractor handled the situation.

You can also check some online reviews, such as Yelp or Google, as another point of reference.

Make Your Restaurant Construction Easy

Picking a restaurant construction company might seem like a long and difficult process, but you’ll be glad you did your homework.

Select a contractor that has experience in the industry, is concerned about the compliances, and is happy to share their past work.

For more building tips, check out this section of our blog.

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