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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Evening everyone,
I am new to this forum, Just found it yesterday and have been reading through alot of the posts.
I have been involved w/ the cont. industry for quite a few years. I work with alot of general contractors on commercail buildings which I design for my customers. I am now in the process of getting my contractors license.
I am wanting to develop some land that I will soon own. I have had it all checked out and I can build 22 houses on this 12 acre parcel.
Where do I start on getting the land developed?? I know I will have to get all this passed through the MPC, City and county officals and get there blessings, But that should not be to big of a deal. There are sub-divisions popping up everywhere within a couple of miles.
How do I go about getting all of this portion done?
Clearing of tree's for the roads? Sewer lines, Storm drains, under ground elec,phone and cable?? And what is the normal cost per sq ft. to do this? I know there are a thousand possible variables but any insight would be helpful.
Thanks, Chuck
 

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1BADF350 said:
I know I will have to get all this passed through the MPC, City and county officals and get there blessings, But that should not be to big of a deal.
Chuck - regardless of what you see going on in the vicinity, jurisdictional approvals CAN be a big thing. Where I am, a good civil engineering firm (good = keyed in to the local action and a well established track record of similar succesful projects) is critical to making any project work. The Engineer knows what needs to be done in terms of plan development and approval and they'll know the nuances of the various agencies you'll be dealing with. The Engineer will make the site work best for you from mass grading, to utilities, through paving to landscaping. Get a good Engineer! Ask the county agencies whose plans they're seeing most often and check the local builder associations for engineer members. A good engineering firm will really serve to smooth out the bumps that are inevitably in the road. A bad firm will make small bumps seem huge and will actually make their own bumps along the way.

1BADF350 said:
Clearing of tree's for the roads? Sewer lines, Storm drains, under ground elec,phone and cable?
Some companies will do it all 'turn-key'. Others, like mine, specialize in
various aspects. Until you have some experience, or unless you're personal friends with the specialty contractors, I would say that using a 'turn-key' contractor on the first several projects is the way to go. There's lots of coordination that goes on between the trades that's not obvious to the untrained eye.

You will also need a good geo-technical engineering firm (usually seperate from the civil engineer). They will test trench backfill for proper compaction, test site concrete for strength and test paving subgrades for bearing capacities. Again, a locally experienced firm can save you a lot of grief.

1BADF350 said:
And what is the normal cost per sq ft. to do this?
Your Engineer should be able to give you good numbers for local costs. It's usually measured 'per lot' for 1/4 acre, 1/2 acre, etc.

Don't foget ...an attorney that is experienced in developer / builder transactions can help you through that process. Builders, to whom you will presumably sell the lots, usually demand a schedule for 'taking down' lots from you. That is you'll have to give them dates upon which you can deliver some number of buildable lots. For my developer customers, it's all about delivering the lots to the builders on time and on budget.
 

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A neighbor of mine from years gone by works for the Tennessee Road Builders Association (in Nashville @ 615-255-5751). TRBA might be a good source for names of reputable site work contractors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the information so far,
Thats also is another good thing Grumpy, These lots will only be sold to the home owner, I already have a general lay out of how this sub-division is going to be set up.
I also have the 12 differant homes layouts that I want to use. they range from 1200 sq. ft single stories to 2700 sq. ft 2 stories. Home owner will have a list of pre approved upgrade's they can make to the house but no major structure changes, Due to the plans are some what site specific.
I what to start around Jan. or Feb. when things seem to slow for alot of the sub's around here due to weather. And I figure if there good/hungry and willing to work in the cold/bad weather those might be the guys I stick with for future developments.
Any other info? Thanks for the responces so far. Chuck
 

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If you're talking about building houses for customers by Jan, Feb, that is pretty ambitious. You're going to need the land developed first aren't you? I can't see how that is going to be complete, plus marketing and selling the first units in about a month.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I am wanting to start devoloping the land then. Working with the city officials now. Land deal should be wraped up in the next 2 weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I also want to build a model home, Which will be sold last so that I/we can show the differant stages and quailitys of our build! 2x6 exterior walls, Real stucco versus syn. stucco, and so on. How do you feel about this as a form of advertising?
 

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I haven't seen a development by the big boys that didn't have model homes. If you can do it and it makes sense financially with the small amount of potential homes in this development I don't see why you wouldn't.
 

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1BADF350 said:
I also want to build a model home, How do you feel about this as a form of advertising?
The new home market is so hot here that a 22 house subdivision would probably be pre-sold by the time the sewers were half-way in. I've literally been installing water services on one block with a paving machine coming up the next. Absolutely no need for a model home.
I live close-by to a 1000+ unit 'neo-classic' community where 3rd floor condos sell for $300K, street front townhomes are snatched up at $500K+ and 3000 SF singles with a 'zero lotline' footprint go for upwards of $800K. Most of the homes were bought / built without the benefit of a model home. Go figure.
 

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Hey 1BAD-
Do you have to set up a homeowners association? I've heard from several developers that can be a big learning experience in and of itself. One guy was forced to take it back over after it was conveyed to the homeowners, re-capitalize the association (read - dump money into it) and then convey it all back to the residents.
 

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hmmm, that' s actually the opposite of what I am familiar with. My experience is that the builder sets up a HOA which is usually horrible and when the development is done the homeowners inherit it, along with the weak by laws and then usually spend the next 10 years discovering one problem after enother and finally end up ammending everything to get a real HOA in place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
We are not going to be putting in a pool, or club house or any of these things. The Lots will be big enough that if a homeowner wants to put in a in-ground (Only) pool there is ample room.
I do want to have a nice entrance to the sub-division and at this point it is undecided what it will be/look like. I have also not figured out yet how the maintance fee will be paid for the upkeep of the entrance. Things like mowing, landscape etc.
So I think some type of fee/HOA fee is going to have to happen.
I have thought of adding an additional expense to each home and have those funds put in a mutual fund of some type if the interest generated could cover the expense's. (This idea is a ways off. I have thought about when all homes are finished to have a meeting with home owners and let them design entrance/figure out ways of maintance and so forth. But I would like to have the entrance done to use as a selling pointe. (Not sure of this portion yet)
 

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UPS almost expect to see the entrance done as well as work in progress really improves closing percentages.

You might already know this, but we always tryed to get as many UPS looking as possible at the same time. Even bump them into one another.

Bob
 

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Mike Finley said:
My experience is that the builder sets up a HOA which is usually horrible and when the development is done the homeowners inherit it, along with the weak by laws and then usually spend the next 10 years discovering one problem after enother
I agree that's more typical. Having served as treasurer for a newly formed HOA for the first three years I've seen it up close and personal. The horror story I sited arose when a developer relinquished control of the HOA to the residents before his last county development bonds were released (his mistake) and subsequently got into a p__sin_ contest with the HOA about who was responsible to undertake various future maintenance items. The County ultimately forced the two parties to take drastic steps in regards to restructuring the HOA before it would release the development bonds.
 
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