Real estate development is a complicated capital intensive process and there's a lot you need to know and do before you put a property under contract or close on a property you plan to develop.

First you need to do a quick feasibility exercise to determine if the project will work financially. Start with the potential net income to determine the value and work backwards from there subtracting development costs, building costs, commissions and interest expense.

If the project looks feasible from a financial standpoint the next step is to check with the city or county planning and zoning department to get an idea if your concept will work, if you can build what you would like to build and what is required for all approvals including site plan, building permits, proffers, water/sewer tap fees, bonding requirements, inspections, setbacks, lot coverages, parking requirements, height restrictions, C/O process and time frame for all approvals.

You also need to check with the utility companies and get an idea of availability and cost estimates from them for water, sewer, power, gas, cable, installation and connection requirements, tap fees, hookup charges, transformer location and relocation, power line and power pole relocation issues. Check to see if you have to install any manholes, fire hydrants, curb, gutter, sidewalks, street signs, street lighting any specific street design or access requirements, Check DOT requirements for access, stop lights and permits, traffic studies, DWQ requirements for permits, permit fees and time frames.

Once you have an idea of what you can build and what is required in terms of permitting and infrastructure you want to talk to some civil engineers, architects and commercial general contractors that do the type of projects and build the type of buildings you want to build so you can get an idea of costs, time frame and requirements.

This is a brief and broad overview of how the development process works what's required before you get too far down the road or purchase a property.