The thought of getting into developing excites many of us, but the truth is that developing is riddled with hidden traps awaiting the unsuspecting, and for the unwary and inexperienced this can quickly turn into a costly nightmare. Knowing what to look for in a site is the key. This is Part two of a two part series where John Marquez, a property developer, explores the considerations that one should take in to account when looking for a potential development site.

In the first of this two part series John Marquez looked at the Zoning, Overlays and Sewerage/Stormwater considerations. In this, the second part of the series, John continues his list of things to consider.

Click here to read Part 1 of Considerations when looking for a development site

SLOPE OF THE LAND
A steep block can present its own set of challenges just as a flat block can. Flat blocks may have challenges with not having sufficient fall to discharge water off site. Steeper blocks may incur higher costs in construction as it may require site cuts and retainer walls. Have your builder do a site visit to give an estimate of any added costs.

COVENANTS
This can stop a site from being developed by one single, easy to miss line of print located on your Copy of Title: A Restrictive Covenant. The presence of a Covenant is indicated in only one place: The Copy of Title.

Request the Title from the Agent and have your Solicitor view the it to make sure there is nothing in there that may mean your site cannot be developed.

SIGNIFICANT TREES
It always pays to have an Arborist do a site visit to indicate what trees are protected and need to stay. This can make or break a deal. Once you have an understanding of which trees will be required to stay, gather information on the tree e.g. the circumference of the trunk; location of the tree in relation to the boundary fences; approx. height of tree etc. Forward this information to your draftee so he is able to determine whether they will impact on the design. Also make sure to look at any neighbouring trees that are on the boundary as their TPZ (Tree Protection Zone) could impact on your proposed design.

OTHER SERVICES
Electricity can also be costly if not researched. Where is the power pole located in the street? The cost of relocating a power pole may make your proposed development unviable. So make sure the pole is in a location that will not impact on your development.
Water Services are usually not a problem, if there is a tap onsite and water comes out.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS IN AREA
Look at the Land.Gov.Vic website to see if there are other established unit developments on the street similar in size to the one you are proposing. This does not guarantee anything and is only an indication of what you may be able to do. Beware many developers have made the mistake of thinking they can build 3 unit sites just because there were others established in the area. Many of the established may be old and Council policy has changed since. Check with your draftee on what you can achieve with your site.

This list is by no means exhaustive but forms the fundamental questions I would recommend asking of any potential project.