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Old vs New: How Property Development Has Changed Thanks to Technology

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Technological evolution has a huge influence on the property development sector. There’s a new wave of property developers that do things differently and get better results.

Any property developer will tell you that an enormous amount of work goes into what they do. In particular, developers have to carry out a lot of research. That means many hours spent before they even break ground on a project.

They’ll examine a location in depth to understand the site itself. They’ll examine demographics and determine the types of property that people in a location require. Furthermore, they have to look at what the location itself has to offer.

After all, you can build an amazing property that doesn’t attract buyers. The location has to be suitable for the property to succeed.

That’s all before they even consider contacting architects and construction crews. In fact, you could argue that the bulk of a developer’s work takes place before they even know what their buildings will look like.

In the past, all of this research took a great deal of time. Old school developers would spend days, weeks, or even months researching a site and location.

But technology has brought about change in the sector. In this article, we’ll examine the differences between the old and new school of property developers. You’ll also learn about a platform that makes things a lot easier for you.

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The Obstacles Facing Old School Developers

Regardless of the era, time is the most valuable resource that a property developer has. Old school developers had to manage their time effectively. If they didn’t, they might not be able to dedicate enough time to a specific area of research. That could lead to them missing things that might hurt their investment.

So, how do old school developers find a good site?

Here are all of the obstacles they have to overcome.

Obstacle #1 – Physically Scouting a Location

Before modern technology, you couldn’t get an idea of what a site had to offer without visiting it. An old school developer would have to take time out of their day to travel to the site to examine it.

This would be the case for every project they worked on. There was no quick method for scouting a site. As a result, developers had to spend days visiting every site they had in mind to determine its suitability.

Imagine that you’re a developer with multiple projects in the pipeline. The days that you spend scouting sites is time that you can’t dedicate to projects you have in progress.

Obstacle #2 – Waiting on Estate Agents and Sellers

For many old school developers, scouting the site wasn’t the biggest problem.

Finding suitable sites to scout in the first place was a much bigger challenge. The most industrious old school developers would take this matter into their own hands. They may personally visit agents and property owners to find out who’s selling.

Of course, that takes a lot of time.

But the alternative is no more of a timesaver. Many old school developers simply had to sit around and wait for people to get in touch. They may go for weeks without hearing from an estate agent about a potential site. That’s more time wasted that they could have spent working on a new opportunity.

Obstacle #3 – Talking to Neighbours

Property development requires a lot of personal interaction. Old school developers had to be particularly willing to engage people while doing their research.

For one, they needed to talk to home and landowners to try to convince them to sell. This would often require personal visits as well as discussions over the phone.

Old school developers also spent a lot of time talking to people in neighbourhoods. If they didn’t, they’d have no idea what a location was like to live in. This might have involved the developer visiting many people over the course of a couple of days. Again, it was an inefficient process.

Obstacle #4 – Creating Lists of Sites

This comes back to the research aspect again.

Before choosing a site to work on, developers will have to shortlist potential sites. In some cases, this list could extend to cover hundreds of locations.

For old school developers, crafting that list took a lot of time and research. They would need to make constant enquiries to even find out about the potential sites.

Then, they’d have to research each individually to compare them against their own set of criteria. Again, this was a manual process that might take several hours per site. With a list of 100 sites, that’s several weeks of work.

Obstacle #5 – Doing the Sums

Let’s say that a developer finds a few sites that have potential.

They then need to look at the numbers. They need to consider the costs involved in buying the land and completing the development. Furthermore, these sums need to consider the earnings and profit forecasts.

Old school developers would have to complete all of these sums themselves. That raised the possibility of human error. As clichéd as it is, forgetting to carry the one could result in a poor cost analysis. Insufficient budgeting and eventual losses could result from such mistakes.

Obstacle #6 – The Rules and Regulations

After all of the work involved in finding and assessing a site, you’d think things would get easier.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for old school developers. They’d need to consider all of the rules and regulations that apply to their potential development. Again, that means many hours spent researching. Worse yet, each state has different regulations. That means the information from one project may not have carried over into the next.

Again, old school developers ran into the problem of making mistakes. Missing a regulation during the research process could lead to them running into issues once building started. If that happened, they lost time and money trying to fix the problem.

Obstacle #7 – Getting Feasibility Studies

Even after all of that, old school developers faced another challenge.

Often, developers would try to get feasibilities for free. They’d offer future work in exchange for the architect putting in the early legwork. That created an awkward situation for any architect. They’d have to accept work with no promise of payment to land the project. This could create early tensions that might escalate into the project later on.

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The Advantages That New School Developers Have

Technology is the big game changer when it comes to the advantages that new school developers have.

New platforms, such as Archistar, bring technology to the fore to help developers make decisions. The following are just some of the benefits that these new technologies offer.

Benefit #1 – Viewing Instant Building Designs

Requests for free conceptual designs are a sticking point between developers and architects. Developers don't want to spend before they have something to work from. But architects don't want to work for free.

Modern technology eliminates this issue to the benefit of both groups.

Developers can use modern technology to generate instant conceptual designs. Obviously, these designs aren’t fully fleshed out. But they give the developer a good idea of what’s achievable.

Architects benefit because they’re no longer asked to spend time on working for free. A developer can come to them with a conceptual design in hand. From there, the architect gets paid to flesh everything out and bring that design to life. They no longer have to waste time coming up with ideas that don’t earn them any money.

Benefit #2 – Aerial Imaging

Aerial imaging technology has eliminated the need for preliminary site visits. The technology has advanced to the point where it can provide developers with accurate imaging. Better yet, they can access these images from the comfort of their offices.

Nearmap’s aerial imaging offers a great example of how this technology has progressed in recent years. They offer high-definition shots that help developers make decisions. Better yet, they constantly update their images to provide the most accurate information.

Developers can use this technology to save time in several ways. They no longer have to visit sites physically to inspect them. Plus, they can track construction progress remotely.

Benefit #3 – Filtering Systems

Many new systems can identify potential sites based on the criteria that developers enter.

A new school developer can use this feature to find sites that meet their exact requirements. These filtering systems also offer instant feedback.

This saves time in two ways. Obviously, the developer becomes more efficient because they have instant access to information. However, effective filtering software also means they don’t waste time on researching sites that don’t suit their needs.

Benefit #4 – Easier Identification of Hotspots

Identifying property market hotspots is an issue that wasn’t mentioned above. Old school developers would have to examine years’ worth of market data. They’d then use this data to estimate where the next market booms would occur.

Identifying these property hotspots is much easier for the new school of developers. The right software can give them access to all of the data they need. Better yet, automation allows for the quick analysis of this data. New school developers no longer have to spend weeks poring over facts and figures. They can rely on technology to provide them with an overview to work from.

Better yet, they can also access development information using such software. This helps them to determine the viability of a site quickly. New technology can also tell a developer if a site already has a development agreement in place. This means they can eliminate sites that are already under development from their list.

Benefit #5 – Cloud-Based Technology

The cloud also provides plenty of benefits to developers. It allows them to access important information remotely on a mobile device.

This is a huge timesaver. The developer no longer needs to be on-site or in the office to check a development. They can access the information they need on a phone or tablet.

Benefit #6 – Instant Access to Rules and Regulations

This is a simple benefit that is a big timesaver for new school developers.

Modern development software provides instant access to a location’s rules and regulations. That means that developers don’t need to spend hours on research and visits to city offices.

The most advanced modern technologies go a step further. They can inform the developer of how different regulations affect their plans. This automation prevents human errors that could lead to delays in the project.

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Introducing Archistar

There is one major obstacle that new property developers face. They need to bring together several platforms to gain access to all of these benefits.

Wouldn’t it be better to have all of the information you need in a centralised location?

Enter ArchiStar.

ArchiStar brings all of the benefits of modern technology into a single platform. Using artificial intelligence and Big Data, it’s a property intelligence platform for new school developers.

The platform makes use of Nearmap’s aerial imaging to provide up-to-date site information to developers. It also provides market activity information. This helps you to identify hotpots as well as seeing which sites already have development applications in place.

Better yet, it helps you with conceptual building design. ArchiStar can generate dozens, even hundreds of building designs automatically. Each of these designs take the location’s rules and regulations into account.

ArchiStar provides valuable information quickly. It cuts down on the weeks’ of research that old school developers had to complete. You get all of the information you need at your fingertips. Plus, you can conceptualise site designs in a matter of seconds.

Archistar is a world-leading technology that aims to usher in a new era of property development.

Do you want to find out more? Get in touch with the Archistar team today to learn how you can use this platform to your advantage.


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Posted on 14 Feb 2019



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