real estate development or land development

Are you considering developing Georgia land into residential or commercial properties? Real estate development can be a profitable business venture if you know what you’re doing and have the right experience. However, it’s important to note that the state of Georgia puts strict rules and laws on real estate development projects to protect the general community. We’re here to provide you with a checklist to help guide your project.

Review Available Land or Project Foundations

Georgia has many land development options, depending on your project goals. Your level of experience may also determine the best foundation for your intended project. For example, some developers may prefer purchasing vacant land with trees and woods. Others may prefer purchasing a plot of land that has already been cleared. Another less common option is land with existing structures.

Of course, you’ll want to complete your due diligence when it comes to zoning laws. Zoning laws set limits on the types of buildings that can be built and their purposes. Additionally, just because a property is listed as residential doesn’t mean it’s accurate. It is the buyer’s and developer’s duty to ensure it’s zoned correctly.

Exploring any potential tax liens on the property before closing the deal is also a good idea. Having a good understanding of real estate and business laws can also help guide your project.

Identify Land Access

Vacant land may not yet be set up for utilities, which can make your project even more expensive than intended. Make sure you check land access and plan ahead for the installation of necessary utilities if there aren’t any so you can get a good idea of expected costs. Confirm access to existing utilities and take note of any necessary upgrades before starting real estate development.

Plan for Construction

Once you acquire the land for your real estate project, it’s time to begin planning for construction. You may want to work with an architect or land planner to design your intended project. You may also need a land surveyor to plan the different aspects of your project properly. This is also when you will bring on a contractor and any other professionals to your team.

Some developers may also consider using test prep courses for obtaining a GA general contractor license so they can have more control over their projects. A general contracting license allows you to work on almost any project type up to a set financial limit. The only exclusion for those with a Georgia contractor license is the ability to work on projects requiring specialized certifications, like electrical contracting, plumbing, or low-voltage contracting.

Keeping an organized database of required tasks and completion dates can help keep your project on your timeline. This also helps team members avoid overlooking necessary tasks, like scheduling an inspection or ordering construction materials.

Begin Building

The building phase of your project is when the walls and ceiling are built, and windows, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical are added. The length of your project until completion will depend on various factors, including crew availability, the size of the building, whether or not utilities are needed, and permitting processes.

Speeding up the building process is another reason many land developers opt for their own general contracting license. A license allows you to complete minor projects, meaning you don’t have to wait for crews and fall behind your building schedule based on their availability. A general contractor license also means you can work right along with your crews.

Monitoring work as it’s completed can help prevent issues. Tracking your project budget at different increments throughout the project’s completion can also help keep everyone’s financial expectations realistic.

Complete Post-Construction Checklist

It’s normal for projects to move between the active and post-construction steps. Following the project’s completion, you’ll need a sign-off from the city. This frequently leads to minor repairs or improvements, which, again, is where having a license can help keep your building development timeline on track. This is also a good time to have your marketing or sales teams visit the property so they can begin contacting leaseholders or renters to earn profits from your project quickly.

Complete your own inspection walk-through of the project before finalization. Then, schedule a final inspection of your property to ensure all loose ends are tied up before opening your doors to residents. Receiving final approvals from the many city planners and inspectors can take time, so be sure to allocate sufficient time for this step. You’ll need a certificate of occupancy (CO) to open your doors.

Taking a vacant plot of land to a fully erected building for rent is a lengthy, in-depth task. While this task may be time-consuming and oftentimes frustrating, it can also be highly profitable. Making a checklist and acquiring your own state general contractor license can help deal with any last-minute issues, helping to keep your project within your planned timeline.



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