TV is rife with property development shows. Programmes like Homes Under the Hammer and Grand Designs leave viewers exclaiming “That’s easy, I could do that!”. While the closing credits run down the screen, many viewers’ thoughts are cast to if it really is something that they could do.

What may appear simple on TV is, in fact, a challenging affair. These programmes are often limited to a half-hour or an hour time slot, thus giving the impression that doing up a property is an easy way of making large sums of money. The truth is that months, maybe even years, of hard work goes into these projects.

Property developers create structures or renovate areas that already exist. Unlike landlords, their work leads to transformations of the building; sometimes this is done beautifully and sometimes it’s a disaster with much left to be improved.

What does it take to succeed as a property developer?

For such a diverse and varied task as property development, a successful property developer requires a broad range of skills. For example, the ability to spot an opportunity, financing, planning, knowledge of design and interiors, architectural knowledge and construction skills.

Despite skills that can indeed help, the beauty of the trade is that anyone can be a property developer. For the novice, much of the work can be subcontracted to experts in the area: bankers, estate agents, planning consultants, architects and builders. All of these do however need to be guided by your vision. After all, it is your investment.

Because property development is open to anyone, perhaps the most important attribute is the ability to spot and act on an opportunity.

This is shown by New York’s most famous skyscraper, the Empire State Building. Was it developed by a famous architect? No. Was it developed by a politician and businessman? Yes. Neither Al smith nor John Raskob had undertaken a real estate project before building, at the time, the tallest building in the world.

First steps as a property developer

What’s your goal?

Short-term goals may involve renovating the property for a quick sale, while long-term goals cover rental income and capital growth.


Property development is investment heavy. Not only in terms of buying the property, but also the development work that you’re planning on carrying out. Before starting a project, work out how much is needed and what you believe it will be worth to sell or rent once it has been developed, to ensure that you will get the return on investment that you need.


Invest in an area that is on the rise. Property here could have the potential to deliver high returns over a longer period.

Buy cheap

Money is often made on the purchase and not the sale. It’s your first opportunity to maximise profits. To have the best chance of picking up a bargain, research the market, attend auctions and create a profile of your target buyer.

If you are interested in property development in the Harborough district, Naylors Estate Agents can help. With unmatched knowledge of the area, we’re able to provide advice on development opportunities, appraise development costs, and work closely with investors as project managers.

Get in touch with us today on 01858 450 020 to discuss how we can support your professional needs.