8 Secrets behind successful duplex developments

Have you wondered how successful duplex builders make their money?

There are some serious profits in residential property development. Even more so than investing in an existing property.

So if you’re interested in the secrets behind successful duplex developments, you’re in the right place.

In this helpful article, we’ll share how duplex developers make their money. As well as the attitudes and approaches needed to pull off successful development projects.

So, read on to discover more.

1. Site identification

The first step that most duplex developers will start with is by identifying a feasible site to develop.

Now, not all blocks of land are suitable for development. Some may contain easements and encumbrances that make development difficult. Some make it downright impossible.

Others that, to the naked eye, may seem unsuitable might be perfect for a duplex development.

After time and experience, a seasoned developer can identify a perfect site with a little bit of due diligence and research.

Being able to spot a site ripe for development is one of the secrets behind successful duplex developers.

2. Keeping emotions in check

Letting your emotions steer the ship is a straight course for a shipwreck in the property development game.

Successful developers stay calm, collected and keep their heads together. During all stages of a development project.

Also, they don’t let emotions get in the way of their business. In this game, having a hot head can cost you some serious money.

Here are a few examples:

A rookie developer may become attached to a particular site. They become convinced that it’s the perfect spot for a duplex development. However, as we explained above, not all sites are feasible.

Now, if that developer is emotionally attached to the site, they may press ahead with a project regardless. They then run into many problems down the line.

If they’d remained calm and emotionless, they would have spotted the issues and moved on.

In addition, another example is relationship management. As we’ll see below, successful developers have a solid network of professionals in the sector.

If you let emotions get into your work, you run the risk of spoiling a professional relationship due to an argument or disagreement.

Furthermore, it’s OK to disagree with people in your network. It’s how you handle the disagreement that matters. If you fly off the handle and burn a bridge, that’s a solid connection that you’ve lost for good.

The takeaway here is to stay calm, keep a cool head. And don’t let your emotions get in the way of your profit.

Also, speaking of networks…

3. Successful developers have a solid network

You’ve probably heard a few sayings about networks. One is that your network is your net worth. Another is that if you’re not networking, you’re not working.

Both of these sayings are true in the duplex development space.

In addition, your network is your net worth because you can’t manage a successful development without a solid network of professionals. And a successful result means a payday for you.

The other one is true, too, because maintaining a network is a task of a property developer. Without working on this, relationships fizzle out, and you’re left with no one to rely on.

Successful duplex developers have a strong network. This network might include professionals such as architects, craftspeople, and builders.

It could also include real estate agents, wholesale hardware suppliers, conveyancers, and other professionals associated with property development.

In addition, you can leverage a network for cost savings and value for money.

For instance, you may receive discounts due to past working arrangements. Or maybe have access to lower-cost building materials.

Once you’ve established a relationship, a real estate agent may arrange an off-market sale for you. This allows you access to premium sites without competition at auction.

Now you can see the benefits of a network. 

4. They understand zoning and planning overlays

A successful duplex developer has a firm understanding of zoning and planning overlays.

Zoning is how areas of the property are classified for use. For instance, residential, commercial and industrial.

Sometimes houses on large blocks of land sit in an industrial area due to being built there historically.

But there’s no way a developer can knock down and develop such a block. This is because it has since been zoned for industrial use.

Furthermore, a savvy developer understands planning overlays. These are rules that say what you can and cannot build on the land.

Some examples of planning overlays are heritage overlays and vegetation protection overlays.

A decent developer knows how to work with overlays. As they can increase the project’s cost and difficulty.

4. Successful developers know the area

Another tip is to get to know the area in which you want to develop.

This way, your designs can consider the existing area and won’t stand out like a sore thumb.

The majority of objections to planned developments is that they fail to take into account neighbourhood precedence.

This means that you need to have a look around the area and see what type of projects are happening.

After a while, a duplex developer grows a sixth sense when it comes to this.

5. They are committed to their work

Successful duplex developers don’t undertake development projects as a hobby.

They don’t do it on the side as well while holding down a full-time job elsewhere.

They live, breathe and eat property development.

It’s their full-time gig, with every working hour dedicated to their projects.

This means they are fully committed to their work and willing to put in the hours to make it happen for themselves.

Any successful developer works flat out to make their success.

6. Discipline

Furthermore, a successful duplex developer is highly disciplined.

They have a solid structure, routine and way of working that benefits from being strictly followed.

Duplex developers can’t afford to procrastinate or waste time. In this game, every day has a dollar value attached. Delays cost money, and money is the aim of the game here.

7. A Can-do attitude

Do you see a theme emerge from our last few tips?

Successful duplex developers all share a common, can-do attitude.

They stay positive and believe anything is possible with the right approach.

In addition to this attitude, they don’t balk at a minor setback.

A setback is a hurdle to overcome, not something that signals a rout.

Any successful property developer maintains a positive, can-do attitude. And brings it to bear against any challenge that arises throughout a project.

And believe us, a project without a hurdle or a challenge to overcome is an absolute unicorn. It does not exist except in fantasy.

Wrapping up

In this helpful article, we’ve shared eight secrets behind successful developers.

Let’s summarise them here:

  • They know how to identify a feasible site
  • They keep their emotions in check
  • Successful developers have a solid network
  • A firm understanding of zoning and planning overlays
  • They know the area they want to develop in
  • Committed to the work
  • They have discipline
  • And a can-do attitude

With all of these secrets, they go on to earn some serious money. There are other moving parts to manage, sure. But these are the main attributes, skills, traits and attitudes that every serious duplex developer shares.

Peter Kelly
Peter Kellyhttp://www.littlefishproperties.com.au
Peter is a co-founder at Little Fish Property Developments, where he is the senior development project manager. Peter Kelly is enthusiastic about real estate with 10+ year’s experience as a residential property developer in Melbourne, Australia.
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