New construction -first crack at developing

8 Replies

I own a lot in fishtown where new construction sells high.

It would be cool to build and sell but I've never done that before. My experience is limited to rehab/renovation.

I own the lot but would have to finance the construction.

What should I be doing and I. What order? I know I need to secure financing, find an architect, and a reputable general contractor.

If you know of anyone who can help I would appreciate their contact information in a private message.

Lot is 14x63, zoned rsa5 single family residential. It is adjacent to a rental I own with an FHA loan, so I expect that a refinance on that would be part of the process.

I used to build homes. If you are hiring a GC and an architect, I am not sure you will realize much profit in your venture. Have you looked into something like  They walk you through the process and supply the knowledge, from what I understand. I have never used them so I do not warrant their capabilities. 

The lot is 14' x 63' correct? That is 882 Sqft. First I would look into the requirements in that zoned area such as how far a home must be from property lines and then how far it must be off of the road or ally. After you subtract those distances from the lot there may not be a lot of room left to build. Are you sure it is 14 x 63?

@Blake Taelman thanks for the advice.

I have not heard of that site but will check it out.

I have received offers between 45-55k for the lot so maybe selling it will be a better option. I still want to look into developing it as the comps sell around 360k.

@Graham Max this is philly so row homes are the norm. The lot size is correct and identical to all or mostly all others on the block. The full width can be used for construction. A certain percentage is required by the zoning code to be open space, but that is small. 3 stories is permitted which would accommodate at least 2000 sq feet. There are a ton of comps recently sold and on the market as this is a hot neighborhood right now.

@Max Tanenbaum take the money and run, you will most likely not make that amount on your first new construction 

Oh wow. Ok well I had honestly never heard of a home being built on that small of a lot.  Good Luck Sir! 

@Max Tanenbaum

Though I understand your wanting to try to develop it, I think I'd sell the lot. Mistakes can eat profits fast, and with no experience, mistakes WILL happen.

However; forget the architect, find a builder that works that area, and get together with him to find out what construction costs are. You may be able to find a builder that will joint venture with you. If so, make sure you cover all the angles in a written agreement, and get legal advice. Good luck. 

It really depends on what your long term goals are.  A quick buck is safer and may be financially more wise in the short run.  However, if you are looking to getting into development, you are going to have to cut your teeth eventually.  As a new developer, it is likely that you will pay some dumb tax.

I would highly recommend partnering with an experienced developer that has built homes in that area on your first go around.  Going solo even well researched is very risky.  Consider your first project a learning experience.  You might make some money, but better still you will learn the trade and how to build again even better or possibly on your own without training wheels.

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