In our last post, we discussed ‘the who’ of your property development team, so in this post, we will tackle ‘the how’ [aka the property development process].

From small-scale renovations to large-scale construction projects, the property development process involves a series of steps.

So what steps are involved in property development?


step 1 – site acquisition + feasibility

Finding the right development site is often one of the trickiest parts in the development process and it’s important you engage with your team early on. Speak with your lawyer and make sure they review any proposed site and acquisition contract to determine what conditions you will require. For example:

  1. if you haven’t completed your feasibility/due diligence you need to make sure the contract is subject to a due diligence condition, so you have time to complete this before you are bound to complete the Contract;
  2. you will need access provisions so your team can conduct inspections, prepare quotes etc. to help with step 2 below;
  3. you may need a clause requiring the registered owner of the site to sign documents as part of your applications – for example, a landowner’s consent if your application involves a material change of use;

During this phase of the development process, you will be working with your town planning team. You will be looking at the zoning of the land, council planning requirements and any other factors such as demand in that area for a particular type of housing, all of which may impact your decision to purchase the proposed site [more on this in part 3 of this series].

Before you commit to purchasing the site, you should also conduct a feasibility study to assess the viability of the project including construction costs and your financial resources and ability to purchase the proposed site. This process is critical as it determines whether the project is economically viable and whether it is worth pursuing.


step 2 – design + planning

Once you have conducted your feasibility, the next stage is to design the project. This involves creating a detailed plan for the development including the design of the building, any communal facilities and the landscaping.

The process of preparing the design and plans will be completed with a town planner, surveyor, architect and builder to make sure that they are compliant with the local planning scheme [or likely to be approved] and financially viable..

Obtaining approvals can be time consuming so it’s often important to get this process underway as soon as possible – ideally while the Contract to acquire the site is still conditional.


step 3 – marketing + sales

Often developers will look to sell the development ‘off the plan’ and it is crucial you engage an expert property development lawyer to prepare your off the plan Contract and disclosure statement as there are strict requirements under various legislation which you must comply with. If you fail to comply, a buyer may be able to terminate the Contract at a later date.

We discuss some of the contract and disclosure requirements later in the series, as well as the risk of getting it wrong.


step 4 – finance

Once you have your development approvals in place and commenced your marketing, the next stage is to obtain your construction finance. This is a crucial step [and can be started earlier] however for the most part, your financier may want to see you have a certain number of sales contracts signed and under your belt before committing a large sum of money towards the development.

This gives them some security that you will be selling the development for a profit and will get repaid. Your financier will review all pre-sale contracts prior to providing any funds, so again it is crucial that your sale contracts are compliant as even one contract with a minor error can be the difference between you obtaining funding for the project – or not!


step 5 – construction

At this stage, you may have commenced some minor construction by clearing the site, removing any existing dwelling or even laying the foundation.

The construction process can be lengthy and can take several months or even years depending on the complexity of the project.

It is important you have engaged trusted professionals to carry out the construction and have a realistic timeframe and financial expectations around this stage and have a contingency plan should the construction phase take longer than expected.


step 6 – titles registration + settlements

As you near the end of the construction process, there is a flurry of activity as you get ready for the most exciting part – settlements!

As you start to approach the end of the project it is recommended you speak with your surveyor and town planner to ensure you can get your final survey plan issued and submitted to the council at the earliest opportunity as any time waiting for this step to be complete is time wasted.

Once the local council has given final sign-off on the plans, known as ‘plan sealing’, you can then lodge the plans along with any other documents required to establish the development to the title’s office for registration. Again, it is crucial you move swiftly at this stage as third parties can have processing delays which can impact your settlement timeline.

When the individual titles for the development have been issued you can officially notify buyers and call for settlement, which will be a minimum of 14 days from when you issue the notice. Your lawyer will help you throughout and liaise with all necessary parties to ensure you are ready to settle the Contracts on time.


planning is key!

The above outlines some of the most common stages of the development cycle. Some key takeaways here are:

  1. Planning is key – keep all stages of the process in mind throughout and ensure you have a trusted team of experts to help you; and
  2. Make sure you know what the next step is and when you can commence that step, because this can save you time and money.

we’re here to help!

As always, at businessDEPOT we are all about helping business owners to turn ideas into action and make ‘it’ happen in their business. If you’d like to have a chat, give us a buzz on 1300 BDEPOT or send us an email at


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general advice disclaimer

The information provided on this website is a brief overview and does not constitute any type of advice. We endeavour to ensure that the information provided is accurate however information may become outdated as legislation, policies, regulations and other considerations constantly change. Individuals must not rely on this information to make a financial, investment or legal decision. Please consult with an appropriate professional before making any decision.