How to Start Your Real Estate Project?

by Albert A. Sanchez on Oct. 21, 2015

Business Real Estate Real Estate  Construction 

Summary: A property owner or developer must make important decisions as to a design team when planning a construction project in order to create a good project budget and achieve a good return on investment.




Good Design, Good Designers and the Correct Budget Process


  There are many decisions that a property owner or developer (let’s call them owner) must make when creating a plan to build a residential or commercial building(s) on land they own.  None are more important than the determination of the project budget and the selection of the design team.


The Budget


  Whichever approach the owner employs to determine the amount of the project budget, the ability to achieve the budget target and the quality of the completed product, will be significantly affected by the process the owner adopts to:


· Assemble a good design team to include architects, engineers, interior and landscape designers

· Ensure intentional costs fall within the targeted budget and avoid unintentional costs which can increase total project costs dramatically

· Follow a process of maximizing good design and quality building materials by making selections with the design team that are thoroughly vetted; and minimizing total project costs by requiring detailed, complete construction documents and rigorous bidding


Good Design, Good Budget, Better Return on Investment


  Good designers create attractive, functional and livable buildings with great curb appeal - all of which inevitably enhance the value of the property.  Good designers also produce detailed and complete drawings which are essential for successful bidding and the avoidance of unintentional costs.  It is almost always the case that people prefer to occupy and visit appealing projects; and those projects therefore enjoy greater occupancy rates and resale values than inferior designs and lesser quality buildings in otherwise comparable locations.


Unintentional Costs


  In order to achieve the best possible project budget, the owner must recognize that added costs are not limited to choosing more expensive materials or larger square footage. Added costs can occur unintentionally because:


  • The construction documents, including plans, specifications and shop drawings are not clear, are incomplete, or are inconsistent with other drawings. As a result, the contractor, owner and subcontractors engage in disputes during construction regarding change orders; the project budget is increased and the completion date is delayed.


  • The designers do not recommend alternative selections for materials and hence selections of very pricey items for which there are less expensive, equally acceptable alternatives are not available to bid.


  • The owner's representative does not require several bids from either the contractor or each subcontractor and supplier; or employs the use of allowances without detailed analysis of the assumptions inherent in the allowances.


How to Start


  The process of building a residential or commercial project should start with an architect or where appropriate, a design-build contractor.  Phase One of the process is to obtain conceptual exterior elevations and interior floor plans. 

  Armed with conceptual plans, the owner should add the interior design and landscape architect/designer to the design process

  Once the owner has provided the architect and interior designer with general ideas of building material selections, (e.g. flooring, cabinetry, countertops, plumbing, appliances and woodwork preferences), and the landscape designer has received input regarding site design, the owner can obtain a rough estimate of total project costs.

This rough estimate provides the owner with feedback to better understand what the budget will likely amount to, at minimum, and information to develop a plan for final decisions and bidding.


Now it’s time to build


  Once the owner, design team and contractor have designed an attractive, functional, livable building, with  curb appeal; and selected the best bids for the final budget, the parties can move into the construction phase of the project knowing they have  enhanced the value of the project before it is even built.

Legal Articles Additional Disclaimer is not a law firm and does not offer legal advice. Content posted on is the sole responsibility of the person from whom such content originated and is not reviewed or commented on by The application of law to any set of facts is a highly specialized skill, practiced by lawyers and often dependent on jurisdiction. Content on the site of a legal nature may or may not be accurate for a particular state or jurisdiction and may largely depend on specific circumstances surrounding individual cases, which may or may not be consistent with your circumstances or may no longer be up-to-date to the extent that laws have changed since posting. Legal articles therefore are for review as general research and for use in helping to gauge a lawyer's expertise on a matter. If you are seeking specific legal advice, recommends that you contact a lawyer to review your specific issues. See's full Terms of Use for more information.