Joint Ventures In Real Estate Development; So How Do They Work?

There are many reasons why you would consider joining with another person to undertake a development project in Joint Venture.

Usually the most basis reason reveolves around something you don’t have.

Some of them may be:

1. I own land … have capital & capacity to borrow … but no experience.

2. I have capital & capacity to borrow … partner has land … both have no experience.

3. I am ‘time poor’ … work full time and can’t be personally involved …

Let’s suppose you want to find a land owner who will put their land
into the Joint Venture, (JV) and their land will be their major contribution to the deal, plus some borrowings.

Let’s consider the implications of entering into a JV in the first place.

After all, in a JV you have to take into account another persons attitude, decision making process, (or inability to make a decision), whether they have a logical and sensible mind … the list goes on.

So, getting into a JV must have a good payback for you. Whatever you lack is usually the reason for entering into a JV.

I have noticed over the years that JV’s have a prime motivator, the driver of the deal (you), and the other person is along for the ride.

For example: the other party may have a wonderful property (site) and wants to develop it, but does not have the knowledge. You “love” the site and know that you could make it a very successful and profitable real estate development. You approched the land owner.

Another example: maybe two individuals who have saved their capital, however individually it is inadaquate to undertake a project. Combining their capital and borrowing capacity will allow they to proceed.

I prefer a JV where both parties are equally motivated, have different skill bases, but each regards the other as contributing equally.

You know the feelings that can occur, “I’m working harder that you …
all you do is the phone and number crunching work … I’m always out
and about on site dealing with the real work.”

Don’t forget why you got together in the first place.

So there are many reasons for JV’s. However, you must be clear as to why you are doing it, and it must be secured by a legally prepared JV Agreement.

A lot of ‘practical people’ hate legal documents … a JV Agreement is a legal document and both parties must understand what it says. If one of you is a bit slack on this point, it is up to the other to sit them down and go through it … it’s important!

Why?

Suppose the JV deal hits a rough patch and your partner says, “I didn’t know that … why didn’t you tell me … I left all that legal garbage to you … blah, blah.” Got It, have the arguments at the beginning of the deal … not later.

A JV Agreement sets out what each party will contribute, both money and effort, and sets out each parties obligations. It also sets out what happens if the parties ‘fall-out’ with each other as well as the division of profits or losses.

There is a lot more at stake if you JV with your rother-in-Law, other relatives etc … the term ‘on-going-nightmare’ is a phrase that readily comes to mind.

And if one of those family JV’s brake down, it doesn’t matter how many pages are in the JV Agreement, or what the words say to prove that you are “RIGHT,” … as far as YOUR Brother-in-Law is concerned, you are a ‘expletive deleted.’

Just thought I’d get that out of the way!! OK?

One more thing … doing a JV with a rich person, when you are many levels poorer then them, is also not smart.

Why?

Well, in simple terms, when ‘push comes to shove’ money rules
The golden rule says, He who has the GOLD, RULES.

Also, if the rich guy tell you not to bother with a JV Agreement … he appears to be saving you money … tempting eh? … what he’s really doing is taking away your legal rights.

Yep, you’ll have less rights than an employee. If that’s the deal … better to be an employee!

In my my ebook I emphasise the importance of getting the Structure Work of the business organised – you will build a much better development business from a secure foundation.

When you are doing your interviewing of the associated professionals, try to see if they, personally, have any entrepreneutial tendencies.

They may have land, houses, houses for renovation etc but don’t have the ‘TIME’ or ‘SKILLS’ to do the work themselves.

Don’t come out and ask them straight away … follow my ebook, do the work you want to do; that is assessing them … but keep your antenna out for any signs of a common interest.

OK, back to getting hold of some land.

Get to know the local real estate agents; I mean know them well.
Remember what I say in the ebook.

Call in and buy them a cup of coffee, take them out of their work place;
what about dinner after work; really spread yourself around.

Invest your Time in finding good, well informed, dedicated agents. Believe me they are in your business community … it’s your job to find them.

Appreciate that Agents are essentially self-employed, irrespective of whether they work in a Real Estate Agency … their ‘mind set’ is independent.

They back themselves and their abilities to provide a sales service at a
level that “consistently” provides them with a ‘good income.

That ‘good income’ by the way, will leave most of their ‘client’s’ income
looking a little anaemic.

The ‘good agents’ are busy; their ‘time’ is money; literally. So don’t mess them around.

Don’t talk to them as though you are the Aga Kahn! You’re Not. There’s always a guy richer than you … maybe the Agent!

Why am I making such a big point about agents.

I believe “people” get the agents “they deserve.”

I have heard people talk to Agents as though they were some grubby leech on society and are doing them an honor even to talk to them.

To be a successful agent these days you have to be very good. Many are highly educated and choose real estate as a career for the freedom,
individual reward and great returns.

What comes out of your mouth + body language tells an agent a great deal about you. They then wonder why the Agent never calls then … Dong!!!

Keep your ‘ego’ under control. Their sales success rests on their ability at ‘reading people.’ Remember what I say in my ebook!

When you are in the development business, you are in the business of:

Getting People To Do … What You Want Them To Do
Within The ‘TIME’ AND ‘Costs’You Set.

That means that you have to be in control of ‘How You Treat People.’
Agents know a lot of people … maybe, they even know those people who want to JV with you.

While you are doing this “work” don’t forget to do what my ebook tell you
to do about research.

Last idea for finding JV people – talk to your friends – put an advert in the local newspaper seeking expressions of interest from people interested in doing what you want.

OK, you’ve found a partner who has the land and you are comfortable with the relationship after several meetings.

Important question! What value does your prospective partner put on his land that will be put into the JV?

Just throwing a few figures around to give you an example.

Let’s say that market value for his land right now is $300,000. But he wants to put into the JV at $400,000. So if your JV Agreement involves you gaining a share of the profit, your share will be $100,000 less. Got It?

Now let’s say that part of your skills contribution to the JV includes a
rezoning of the land to a higher level and you achieve that for the JV.
That rezoning may take the land from a single unit (house) dwelling zone to a six dwelling unit zone.

Your efforts have increased the land value significantly … no, not six times, as house properties are valued differently to multiple unit properties. But it may have increased by 3 or more times, depending on your market.

Once again the $100,000 will come off your share. Now that may be OK by you, because you are just starting out on your first development … it is always better to KNOW what you are agreeing too.

I hope this information helps you in your consideration of entering a JV.
but please remember, don’t just read my eBook … study it … take notes in a special hard cover Development Copy Book that you will buy.

Writing things down is an aid to learning and remembering.

My LAST DON’T … Don’t start any of this JV stuff until you know my eBook
inside out. You must not just be able to ‘talk the talk’ – you must know what you are talking about.

What I am all about, is helping you to do residential development with the RISK reduced.

If it takes four years study to get a basic Degree and say another five years to get some experience, why would you think that you can enter the development business with little study — no experience and expect to be profitable?

The 4 Principles of Securing Real Estate Development Finance

Unless you’re one of a very privileged group of people and you do not need to seek Real Estate development finance, getting the cash you need is probably one of the most influential aspects of whether your real estate venture will succeed. That said, even if you don’t need to borrow money for a development, it usually makes business sense to borrow at least some of the cost anyway (that point is for a different article!).

Make no mistake, like all investment – real estate involves an element of risk to a lesser or greater degree. And like all businesses, risk should be managed. However, it could be said that ‘risk’ allows profit (or loss) to be made. If a real estate Investor or Developer has no appetite for risk, they may as well stuff their mattress with cash rather than putting it into Property. If there were no risk involved, wouldn’t everyone be a Property Speculator?

So it could be said that Risk is nothing to be intimidated by, but that it should be monitored so you don’t lose the shirt off your back (and with property, it’s possible to lose an awful lot of money in a short space of time if ridiculous mistakes are made). A philosophical attitude to this is quite important, because the truth of the current situation is that banks would really prefer the customer to shoulder as much of the business and project risk as possible. Let’s face it banks are in a powerful position, they have the money that the Developer wants…they call the shots. If you haven’t got the nerve to take on the risk, the bank will lend the money to another Developer who is prepared to take the risk.

I personally don’t think that this is a bad situation. It could be argued that the current/recent financial crisis who due in part, to excessive lending to people who should have been subject to greater scrutiny.

The 4 (very) basic rules to consider before approaching banks for Real Estate Development funding are:

1. Make sure you have access to people with experience! It is often said “never invest in anything you don’t truly understand”, if you are a novice Developer you should not be attempting to learn everything my your mistakes….they will be too costly. Speak to people with experience. The bank will insist upon you having good and regular access to appropriate professionals such as Architects, Structural Engineers, Realtors/Estate Agents or Building Surveyors.

2. Don’t expect to borrow too much against the project! As a general rule, a bank will expect you to put up at least 25% of the combined total of initial project purchase and build/development costs. You should also include a contingency fund of around 5-10% of the total build cost figure. It’s also a good idea to have enough working capital to be able to fund the initial stages of the individual build stages just until the bank releases funds in a staged-payment arrangement.

3. Don’t use a Limited Liability Company when you are starting out! The primary purpose of a LLC is to limit the personal risk of the company owner(s), this is not what the banks want to see. They will want to ‘facility’ to pursue you to recoup losses if it all goes wrong. This may sound dramatic, however I am talking worst-case-scenario! In reality, banks would far rather work with you to sort out problems than immediately enforcing their agreement covenants.

4. The CV of the individual Developer. When you begin to establish a good track-record in property development, the banks will tend to be far less nervous about lending you money. It’s never a good idea to take on a huge project that the banks knows will challenge you. It’s far better to gain experience by carrying out light work (such as modernisation and redecoration) rather looking for a substantial rebuilding project as one of your first attempts. ‘Easing yourself’ into the field of Property Development is the way all very successful professional developers have done it. It’s not a way of life that should be entered into on a whim; if a Developer gets in ‘above their head’, they are far less likely to continue in the field. Completing a Real Estate development is a very satisfying thing, it’s much more sensible to complete several ‘quick refurbishments’ than jumping straight into a substantial project requiring specialist structural work.

To conclude, banks are willing to lend at the moment. they have simply become more scrupulous with who they lend to. If you have prepared yourself properly to begin your venture (and you’re creditworthy), then you will find that the banks are far more likely to accommodate your requirements for Property Development Finance.

Real Estate Development – How to Choose a Site With Great Development Potential!

We can’t tell you the number of times we’ve seen inexperienced property developers rush in and buy a development site because it looks like a great opportunity, only to find themselves struggling, and regretting their decision, further down the track.

We believe that it’s essential to perform proper due diligence and a thorough site evaluation before making an irreversible commitment to acquire a site, preferably using a checklist.

When we’re satisfied we’re able to develop a site and we’re happy with our initial ‘back of envelope’ calculations, we don’t immediately acquire the site. Instead, we come up with an initial concept. This is where we do some rough sketch layouts (we may even come up with a number of different options), using the Local Authority Planning Codes and Policies.

In most situations, depending on the local authority planning codes, the area of the proposed building will be based on the land remaining after allowing for required boundary setbacks, car parking and maneuvering and open garden landscaped space.

This, together with the preferred unit size (determined through our initial Marketing Research) will indicate the number of units that can be accommodated on the site. To get the maximum benefit out of a site, a competent and experienced architect should be engaged to create these initial concepts.

As we haven’t gained control of the site yet, we can still back out of the deal. We prefer to quickly prepare schematic drawings to determine the true potential of a particular site. Because if we don’t, we’re just gambling with usually very high stakes.

As soon as the concept drawings are finished, we fine-tune our ‘number crunching’ by undertaking a proper financial feasibility study. The purpose of a feasibility study is to establish whether a project is a viable proposition or not.

If the concept doesn’t pan out, we consider the time and effort we’ve put in to be our “insurance premium”, which has just saved us possibly tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, and untold stress, by helping us to avoid a problem site.

We use “Feastudy” property development feasibility software that allows us to work backwards to evaluate what the land is worth to us with development approval – this is called the Residual Land Value. This number is very important in calculating what we would be willing to pay to acquire the property.

We use Worst Case scenarios to do our calculations, which means we are conservative in the values that we input. We include anticipated time scales, all costs including consultants and construction costs, as well as likely end sale values, our minimum profit margin, plus a contingency allowance (depending on circumstances especially site conditions).

It is critical that this feasibility calculation is performed correctly.

If we try to develop a site which is not actually feasible, we are setting ourselves up for stress, disappointment, and possibly even large financial losses.

The feasibility study is also invaluable when putting together a JV or Loan Application Proposal as mortgage lenders or other investors can instantly see whether our project will be successful and the level of risk involved.

A lender will only fund a project which can be demonstrated to be financially feasible – however, if we are funding the development ourselves, we need to be just as certain that the numbers stack up.

So many newbie real estate developers miss out the detailed feasibility step, and the really sad result is that they end up suffering, emotionally and financially, and often give up on real estate development completely because they conclude that it “doesn’t work”.

We know that it does work. But only when the detailed feasibility study says it will work. Anything else is simply guesswork and high-stakes gambling. You may get lucky, but the reality is, you could also end up losing your shirt.