Category Archives for "Developers"

Hamptons International – Centuries of experience and thousands of sales

Hamptons International – Centuries of experience and thousands of sales

Working with Hamptons International

We’ve actually worked with Hamptons for around 5 years now and assisted in the off market side of many of their developments on behalf of developers. They have recently restructured their London Residential team and are posed for growing under the direction of Countrywide.

Get To Know Series – UK Developers

In this series, we showcase many of the UK Developers work with. The UK market is full of quality developers with proven track records and who are working hard to solve the housing crisis, despite the hinders placed by Government at every level.

The power of an estate agency network in action

Hamptons Internationalis one of the oldest estate agents in the UK, with 85 offices around the country. Having been acquired and sold several times during its history, it is now owned by Countrywide, the UK’s largest estate agency. Hamptons offers a number of property services including sales, residential development services, new home sales and property investments. The company also has a global network and offers an extensive portfolio of properties abroad.

Award-winning end-to-end investment property solution

Hamptons International Residential Development works with housebuilders and developers and sells more than 5,500 new homes each year.

In 2015, Hamptons International was awarded Best Large Agency for the fourth year running at the Estate Agency of the Year Awards.

Its service provides an end-to-end solution to developers, buyers and investors. It provides advice and a complete range of services on UK property developments of all sizes, marketing to investors at home and abroad. Its network of 85 UK offices is enhanced by operating with several long-standing partnerships. These are key to facilitating its incredible sales numbers, with partnerships aiding the marketing of projects ranging from full-scale developments to mixed-use schemes.

The Land team – the experience to guide

Hamptons’ Land team has over 30 years of experience as specialists in identifying, advising and acquiring sites with development potential. They help release the land, arranging the sale and acquisition of properties and building land. Services include:

  • Land sales
  • Site acquisitions
  • Feasibility advice
  • Site assembly
  • Strategic land
  • Targeted research and marketing support
  • Securing of development partners
  • Joint venture arrangements

Specialists in London

Hamptons is particularly strong in the London property market, where it has 22 offices and more than 140 years of experience.

Offering privileged access to investors

The PRS market is developing rapidly and offers some exciting investment opportunities. Hamptons’ Investment Consultancy team has an enviable track record of advising on and transacting residential property investment opportunities. It works with property companies, institutions, private equity firms and specialist PRS developers.

Investor clients also include family trusts, high net worth individuals, and international and sovereign wealth funds. Working closely with the investment team, Hamptons’ clients receive privileged access to new off-plan deals, income-producing portfolios, and build-to-rent opportunities.

Live with passion,

Brett Alegre-Wood

Colliers International – a global property advisory with marketing focus

Colliers International – a global property advisory with marketing focus

Working with Colliers International

We’ve been working with both the Singapore and UK team at Colliers to assist their developers to sell more stock, re-launch sites and finish off the remaining units in a development. Our off-market approach means that we do not compete with their above-the-line sales.
The team are very professional and in the past years have proven to be very successful in securing many sites across London and more recently into the rest of the UK.

Get To Know Series – UK Developers

In this series, we showcase many of the UK Developers work with. The UK market is full of quality developers with proven track records and who are working hard to solve the housing crisis, despite the hinders placed by Government at every level.

Teaming up with a global giant could boost profits

Colliers International is an industry-leading real estate company, with 15,000 employees operating in 68 countries. It provides a range of services for property investors, and markets for property developers using a ‘go-to-market’ strategy. In the UK, Colliers operates across several sectors from 12 regional offices.

A truly global property company

For more than two decades, Colliers has been delivering real estate services to owner-occupiers and investors as one of only a handful of global real estate advisory companies. Its workforce is highly trained and extremely passionate. They put clients first, and enjoy the success they have because they enjoy what they do. The company has returned an average of 20% per year to its shareholders.

Contributions from all 68 countries in which it operates enabled Colliers to post record profits in 2016 as:

  • Global revenues reached $2.6 billion
  • Property under management totaled 2 billion square feet of property around the world
  • 72,000 lease or sale transactions were completed, with a total value of $105 billion

Colliers Residential

The Colliers Residential team is based throughout the UK and offers a comprehensive residential agency and advisory service. Its representatives are knowledgeable and enterprising. With a global platform at their fingertips, Colliers advises both the sell side and the buy side of the property market. It represents a wide variety of companies, from global brands to family-owned businesses.

Renowned for its corporate responsibility

Colliers has a renowned corporate responsibility mission that has been recognised with many industry awards and certifications. It aims to uphold three pillars of the community, people and the environment. To this end, Colliers has:

  • Been Investors in People accredited since 2005, in Human Resources Management
  • Been certified by DNV GL in environmental management; business management; business continuity management; and health and safety management
  • Chosen to support several charities through 2017, including Cancer Research UK; LandAid; Alzheimer’s Society; Children in Need; and Comic Relief, among others.

Live with passion,

Brett Alegre-Wood

Berkeley Group – the innovative urban property developer

Berkeley Group – the innovative urban property developer

We’ve worked with Berkeley for over 15 years now

The team have a long association with Berkeley being responsible for over 500 sales in the time we have worked together. They are one of our most respected and closest Developer Partners and we continue to sell their developments through each phase. We cannot speak highly enough of their quality build, attention to detail and all round value for money. They are masters at large scale regeneration and this above all else is the reason I hold onto their coat tails.

Get To Know Series – UK Developers

In this series, we showcase many of the UK Developers work with. The UK market is full of quality developers with proven track records and who are working hard to solve the housing crisis, despite the hinders placed by Government at every level.

Moving forward with creativity focussed on the customer

The Berkeley Group is one of the UK’s most innovative development companies. With a strong land bank including quality brownfield sites, its focus is on developing sustainable communities. Its bias towards urban regeneration is central to its business, with a target of building over 95% of its development of luxury properties on brownfield land. Home buyers and property investors know that when they buy a Berkeley home, they are investing to withstand the test of time.

From humble beginnings, a world-class developer grows

Today, Berkeley is the leading developer in the South of England. When it was founded in 1976, not even the founders could have envisaged how big the group would grow. In that first year, the company built four single homes. Its turnover was £121,000, and it made a profit of £21,000. Within ten years, Berkeley was listed on the London Stock Exchange with a market value of £67 million.

Today, the group consists of six luxury property developers: Berkeley, St George, St James, St Edward, St William and St Joseph. Though each group is run autonomously, they all strive for the same results –­ the creation of new homes, in mixed-use developments of exceptional quality in the most desirable locations.

Where you invest in a Berkeley home, you can be assured it is built on a development that has been designed to establish a sense of place. These are not simply developments. They are communities, whether medium to large-scale developments in towns, cities and the countryside, executive homes, mixed-use schemes, riverside apartments, or refurbished historic buildings and urban loft spaces. Whichever type of property is developed by Berkeley; the name is synonymous with quality and excellence.

A southern developer expanding into the Midlands

Berkeley’s traditional strength has been in the development of quality homes in the South of England. It’s different brands has been developed to highlight their strengths and geographical prowess. For example:

  • St Edward was established as a joint venture between Berkeley and Prudential. It delivers unique residential developments in London and the South of England.
  • St George specialises in transforming brownfield land. In London, this brand is identified with producing high-quality, mixed-use sustainable regeneration.
  • St William is a joint venture with National Grid. It will leverage off National Grid’s amazing brownfield portfolio in London and has plans to develop 7,000 new homes in the capital over the next 14 years.

Its latest brand, St Joseph, has been created to expand Berkeley’s reach to the attractive development markets in Birmingham and the West Midlands.

Berkeley – a property developer at the forefront of innovation

Berkeley’s reputation for build excellence is matched by its reputation as an innovator. It set up an innovation fund, encouraging pioneering ideas to help the build process and reduce construction-related risks. To date, this fund has awarded more than £1 million to 10 pioneering ideas. These include a device to prevent back injuries and a detector of hand/arm vibrations – a problem which affects more than 300,000 workers in the UK.

Berkeley moving into the modular home building will excite many property investors. Rooms will be designed and built in a factory, before being shipped to the development site and erected by a traditional workforce. Build time will be reduced by 19 weeks. The first such homes will receive their debut at Berkeley’s Kidbrooke Village development, where they will sit alongside traditionally built homes.

When announcing the plans, Berkeley’s Karl Whiteman told The Times: “Our ambition is that the finished quality will be as good as traditionally built homes that have been built on the site. They look exactly like a traditional home. The customer will not be able to tell the difference.”

Berkeley’s focus on excellence is regularly recognised

Berkeley’s developments have been awarded numerous accolades. Most recently, at the Evening Standard New Homes Awards on May 19th 2017, Berkeley Homes, St Edward and St James were successful in winning awards for:

  • ‘Best Conversion (Large Scale)’, for St Joseph’s Gate
  • ‘Best Conversion (Small Scale)’, for Fitzroy Gate
  • ‘Best Luxury Home’, for Abell and Cleland Penthouse

The group also won a plethora of awards in several categories at the What House Awards in November 2016. These included awards for Best Public Realm, Best Regeneration Scheme, Best Luxury Development, Best Large Housebuilder, and Best Mixed-Use Development.

A property developer focused on the customer

In 2016, Berkeley won the ‘ABa Quality Monitoring Customer Focus Award, Large Enterprise’. The judges said, “Berkeley shone through because of its complete customer-centricity. Customer service is the responsibility of everyone at Berkeley and is underpinned by a professional and efficient Customer Charter.”

Little wonder that Berkeley won several awards at the British Homes Awards in October 2015, including the coveted prize of ‘Homebuilder of the Year’ – the second time it had been named as such.

Where can investors buy a new build Berkeley home?

Berkeley builds homes across its brands in a range of price points. It has dozens of developments underway in London, the South East, and now Birmingham and the West Midlands. These include gems such as:

  • The Waterside at Royal Worcester
  • Victory Pier in Kent
  • Royal Arsenal Riverside in London
  • Kidbrooke Village in London
  • Beaufort Park in London
  • One Tower Bridge
  • Wimbledon Hill Park
  • Vista
  • Chiswick Gate
  • Heritage Walk
  • Fitzroy Gate (houses)
  • Brewery Gate (houses)
  • 375 Kensington High Street

Berkeley is Britain’s fourth most admired company across all sectors and has contributed more than £2 billion to community facilities in the last five years. With land suffice for around 40,000 plots, you can be sure that Berkeley’s potential to deliver quality homes in quality locations will remain undiminished.

Live with passion,

Brett Alegre-Wood

Barratt Developments – the Real Madrid of UK property developers

Barratt Developments – the Real Madrid of UK property developers

For build quality and customer satisfaction, invest in a Barratt home

When you want a quality-built home, Barrat Developments is a name that springs immediately to mind in the UK property development market. One of Britain’s largest companies, and its biggest housebuilder, Barratt prides itself on the quality of its traditional housing, apartments, and collaboration with urban regeneration programmes which are reshaping city and townscapes across the nation. Its reputation precedes it, which is why we’re always happy to work with Barratt.

Get To Know Series – UK Developers

In this series, we showcase many of the UK Developers work with. The UK market is full of quality developers with proven track records and who are working hard to solve the housing crisis, despite the hinders placed by Government at every level.

Ambitious vision from day one

Founded in 1958, Barratt now has a network of 27 housebuilding divisions across the UK. Its key brand names are Barratt, David Wilson, and Ward Homes.

Barratt started life as Greensitt Bros. When Lewis Greensitt and Sir Lawrie Barratt bought the Newcastle-based company in 1962, they immediately put in place an aggressive five-year expansion plan. It was so successful that the company floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1968. Greensitt left shortly after the float, and the company assumed the name Barratt Developments.

In the 1970s, Barratt began acquiring other builders up and down the country. The expansion was relentless, but never at the cost of build quality. It was a pioneer in marketing through national advertising. The star of its television advertising campaign was the Barratt helicopter, transporting viewers around its 280 developments across the nation, and showcasing homes that could be bought from £14 per week!

By 1983, Barratt had become the UK’s largest housebuilder, selling 16,500 homes in a single year.

Recessions, recoveries, and continued growth

Rapid growth led to a precarious financial position when recession-hit builders started suffering in the 1990s. It’s fair to say that Barratt was among the worst affected. But it rode out the storm and had since gone from strength to strength. It bought housebuilder Wilson Bowden in 2007. It brought the respected David Wilson, Ward Homes, and Wilson Bowden Development brands into the expanding group.

Reacting to a changing market, Barratt founded its Residential Asset Management division in 2012. It provides the property management services on Barratt London developments.

Throughout its history, in good times and bad, Barratt has grown. Undoubtedly this is because it is flexible in its approach to housing. It is a proactive builder, opening new sites and often providing a market lead. But mostly it is because when home buyers and investors buy a Barratt property, they know they are buying quality.

More trophies than Real Madrid!

If Barratt were a football club, its trophy cabinet would dwarf that of Real Madrid. Barratt is the most decorated housebuilder in the UK.

For 13 years, it has topped the NHBC (National House Building Council) Pride in the Job Quality awards. These awards are presented to site managers, recognising the best-run sites in the country. They are awarded for a combination of safety, skill, workmanship and customer service. In other words, total site and build excellence. In 2017, Barratt site managers scooped up an incredible 74 Pride in the Job Quality awards.

Commenting on this remarkable achievement, Steven Boyes, Deputy Chief Executive at Barratt Developments, said: “To win 74 NHBC Pride in the Job Quality awards is a great achievement and one we are very proud of. It demonstrates the high standards that we demand as a company, and how important we see having well run house building sites are. The awards showcase excellence in house building across the industry and give customers more confidence in knowing they are buying a quality home.”

Britain’s most recommended builder

Barratt has increased the number of homes it has built by 55% over the last five years. For many companies, such a rapid rate of growth might lead to a downturn in quality. Not Barratt. For the eighth year in a row, Barratt has achieved the maximum 5-star rating given by the Home Builders Federation (HBF). It is the only developer to have been awarded this accolade in each of the last eight years.

The HBF survey assesses the rating, and the 5-star rating means that more than 90% of Barratt customers would recommend the developer to their friends and family.

The HBF’s Executive Chairman, Stewart Baseley, said, “The Customer Satisfaction and Star Rating Scheme is an accepted, robust and independently assessed the measure of customer service. Achieving the highest levels of satisfaction is a huge challenge that requires commitment from everyone in an organisation from top to bottom. To do so while increasing output, as Barratt has done, to help address our acute housing shortage is especially commendable.”

We know from experience that our property investor clients agree with the awards for quality. It is a rare day indeed on which a Barratt home receives a complaint. Little wonder, then, that Barratt was named Housebuilder of the Year in 2016 at The Sunday Times British Home Awards.

Where can investors buy a new build Barratt home?

Barratt has numerous projects under development. These include:

  • Trumpington Meadows, Cambridge
  • Brooklands, Milton Keynes
  • Hounslow High Street Quarter, London
  • PL2 Plymouth
  • Fulham Riverside, London
  • Cane Hill Park, Coulsdon
  • Poppy Fields, Ashford
  • Elba Park, Durham

Barratts plans include further developments stretching from Exeter in the South West to Aberdeen in the north-east of Scotland. It is buying land for development across diverse sites – brownfield, greenfield, urban and rural. Plenty of scopes, then, for all investors, no matter their financial goals, to buy a quality Barratt property in their chosen investment location.

Live with passion,

Brett Alegre-Wood

How can developers exploit game changing PRS

How can developers exploit game-changing PRS?

Considerations to maximise profits in the PRS market

The private rented sector (PRS) is growing rapidly in the UK. Homebuilding hasn’t kept up with demand, and a combination of evolving lifestyle requirements and affordability issues has changed the UK’s property landscape.

Reacting to a housing shortage that has warped into a housing crisis, the government is doing all it can to promote the PRS. Consequently, housing developments designed solely for the rental market are increasing in popularity. Here we examine the PRS opportunity, and factors that developers must consider to exploit the sector and governmental support, it is receiving.

PRS development profits are smaller than built-for-sale profits… aren’t they?

It’s a misconception that PRS profits are smaller for developers when they build to sell. However, those developers who pre-sell a whole development to institutional developers could be missing out on the benefits of rising property prices and increasing demand through a development’s life cycle.

By similarly treating the off-plan sales process to developments that are built predominantly for home buyers, you can maximise profit potential. However, developers must consider the different needs of renters when planning and building a PRS development.

Consider the target market

The major demographic in the PRS market place is the 25 to 35 age group. These are the people who have left home, completed their university education, and started on their career path. They want to leave their parental home and strike out on their own. These young professionals want an affordable home, a secure tenure, and lifestyle amenities that are close.

However, developers would be wise to target other social groups, too. For example, buy-to-let property investors are targeting the silver renter, baby boomer retirees and near-retirees who are relocating. Often, these renters have chosen to sell their own home and downsize to release equity and improve retirement finances.

Consider where renters want to live

Whichever end of the age scale, whether working or retired, today’s renters are insistent on location. They want to live near local transport hubs that can transport them easily to work or leisure facilities. In London and major towns and cities, the most successful PRS developments are medium to high density in one or more buildings, which also benefit from proximity to nightlife and leisure facilities, bars, restaurants, etc.

Consider the lifestyle requirements of the target market

Lifestyle is important to renters. Developers should consider how they can create community and a sense of place. It differentiates it from built-for-sale developments. Lifestyle amenities include communal spaces, gyms, concierge services, and so on. As well as providing a sense of community, such facilities can also generate extra income. They also tempt property investors, who understand that advantages of buying in a development that creates a sense of place attract longer-term renters, reducing void periods and maximising rental income.

Consider building management and home design

PRS investors, whether individuals or institutions are income seekers. They want to benefit from income over the long term, in an investment opportunity that helps to protect their investment. Maintenance of communal spaces and general building management are important considerations and will increase a development’s investment potential.

Developers should also seek to maximise space by innovative and creative unit design. Sizes and location should be considered. These will impact rental income potential. Investors also want flexible design, and the ability for some customisation will enhance their opportunity to ‘microtarget’ their ideal renter.

Consider the materials used in the build

Finishes must be high quality and designed to last long term. It is true of unit fixtures and fittings. It is also true of building materials, and the Grenfell Tower tragedy has highlighted the need for developers to build with the safest, most modern and highest-quality materials.

Consider how to take advantage of government support for PRS

PRS is now a mainstay of the government’s housing policy. It is committing billions of pounds to support PRS development across the nation. Housing zones have been targeted, with public land earmarked for release. Planning requirements have been relaxed to speed the process of development. Central government and local authority budgets have been set aside to improve the public realm and boost infrastructure, with transport, recreation and education top of the list. Developers that access these locational opportunities will attract the greatest interest from property investors.

Consider how to sell your PRS development

Institutional investors will usually insist on purchasing an entire development. They partner with a developer, providing finances for the development to start and move to completion. However, not only can this limit the profit potential for the developer, but it also increases risk.

There are several examples where the institutional investor has pulled the plug, and the developer has then had to restart the process of finding a partner investor (see Martin Sadler’s article, “UK property developers can be terrified by institutional investors”).

If a developer could sell to a range of individual investors simultaneously, they could offer the PRS development in stages, selling more as the development moves nearer to completion. It should allow the developer to increase sales prices, and maximise PRS development profits.

How does a developer access a multitude of individual investors?

The challenge for developers is not selling their PRS development but selling it well. Selling in one hit to an institutional investor may work for some developments, but it is unlikely to be the best strategy in all cases. It is the easy route – accessing large numbers of individual investors is hard work, and takes years of relationship building.

This is where Castlereach and our partners excel. Gladfish have sold nearly a billion pounds of investment property to investors at home and abroad. They have worked with investors for years, providing investment education, research and mentorship. Their list of investors may be among the most extensive in the UK property investment market.

We leverage this investor reach for the benefit of developers, enabling you to forward sell 25% or 50% of a PRS development. The decision can be made within days. You get the upfront funding you need, enabling you to maximise profits by selling the remaining development at a later stage.

Contact us today on + 44 207 923 5680, and we’ll help you leverage our investor access to maximise your PRS development project profits.

Live with passion,

Brett Alegre-Wood

Creative marketing strategies to boost off-plan property sales

7 Creative marketing strategies to boost off-plan property sales

How we ensure we reach out to the optimum target market

When you want to boost your off-plan property sales to property investors, it’s important to know how those property investors think. Our reach and communication strategy gets our property consultants into the hearts and minds of investors, whether from the UK or overseas.

We understand that off-plan property is not sold purely on the numbers. Investors today are more likely to put themselves in the shoes of their target market – people who want to rent or own a home where you are selling your off-plan property. We create narratives that sell lifestyle potential hand in hand with investment potential. Then we develop strategies to maximise the marketing message and reach as many potential investors as possible.

Here are seven key marketing strategies we employ to boost your off-plan property sales:

1.    We create strong lifestyle and investment descriptions

We work hard to write copy that highlights the best features of location and property. Those first few words are crucial, so we use power words that pack a punch. We’ll include property images and location photos as necessary to increase sensory impact.

2.    We optimise for online searches

If we’re selling off-market, we understand the need to market subtly. We write copy that educates and informs investors, leaving them with a desire to discover more. Contents are optimised so that those most interested in the opportunity can easily find it online. We include keywords and key phrases in our marketing copy and on our landing pages.

It encourages investors to not only discover and read about why they should invest in a specific location but also why the type of property you are building is best for investment. This method leads them through the sales funnel and enables us to capture their email details – from when we can personalise our marketing effort to the individual investor.

3.    We use email extensively

Having collected the email details of interested investors, we will begin our email marketing campaign. New leads are added to existing, and segmented for most effective penetration. We use email titles that create urgency to open and read. We include details about the investment opportunity, and a call-to-action as the next step. Often this is a link to a specially designed landing page.

We utilise autoresponder software to provide a seamless marketing experience, dependent upon investor actions.

4.    We create landing pages as two-way streets of information

We discover more information about prospective investors through landing pages. These pages are designed to capture investor info while giving away something for free. Perhaps a free-to-download investment guide. These help to increase our knowledge of what each investor registered with us wants. It also gives us the opportunity to take our marketing to the next level – personal contact.

5.    We use blog posts as marketing tools

Our writers are tasked to create blog posts that help the marketing process. These may be general or specific educational posts. These do several jobs for us. For example, they:

  • Focus on identified keywords, which are used throughout the post to increase ranking
  • Include contact details and a clickable contact route
  • Include general and in-depth information to cement investment potential of the area or property type
  • Always include a call-to-action, which prompts the reader to take the next step along the marketing funnel

6.    We leverage social media

We have extensive reach via social media and use Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter to promote our content and investment education.

Our Facebook business page aimed specifically at investors and showcase our track record. We’ll add Facebook posts to promote associated blog content. We use videos and photos and other imagery to encourage views and shares.

We schedule tweets on Twitter to keep interest flowing and augment tweets with images and links back to content and landing pages. Hashtags are used to help people find our tweets, and we ensure they are retweeted.

LinkedIn is a powerful tool to make connections with investors. We publish content that showcases our capability and connections with developers, and we work hard on expanding our connections in target markets.

7.    We are consistent throughout

Whichever channel we use to market the off-plan property, we ensure consistency of brand and message. We identify the target investor and use the most appropriate marketing strategies for them. When our target audience sees our marketing and other content in different locations they don’t become confused with different messages.

Throughout our content, marketing, and personal contact, we ensure that we highlight the investment potential of the off-plan property. We market to the investment needs of the investor, and the lifestyle needs of their tenant – combined, it’s a powerful message which ensures success.

Contact us today on + 44 207 923 5680, and we’ll start developing our segmented investor client lists specifically for marketing your off-plan property sales and design a soft marketing plan to produce outstanding results.

Live with passion,

Brett Alegre-Wood

Be bold, be informed, be rewarded in Property Investment

Be bold, be informed, be rewarded

There is no such thing as a catch-all “how to” guide to property investment. Every company, developer, agent, brokerage, mortgage adviser and financial advisor has a different take on how to make money in property.

There are, for me, two ways that an investor can grow a lucrative portfolio of properties – the management of this will be different for all people, as will be the structure. Capital growth or yield, retirement planning or school fees… who knows? It doesn’t matter, that is a personal choice. What does matter is the approach you take to property investing.

Be bold…

There will ALWAYS be uncertainty in the market. There will ALWAYS be a reason or excuse not to invest in property or at all: referendums, elections, commodity prices, geopolitics because your hairdresser told you not to! Whatever the excuse, you can sell it to yourself if you are looking to talk yourself out of it. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take these major factors into account but do so with care and don’t let it scare you off. Bricks and mortar go up in value, they aren’t making any more land (in this country) and the population is growing. It doesn’t take a genius to do the maths on that. When should you get involved? As soon as you can, buy a place for yourself, but if you can’t afford something big enough for your family, buy something to rent out and still get yourself in the game. Make sure you leverage sensibly to maximise your returns and if you can have someone else paying off your mortgage then even better. Never, ever over extend yourself no matter how tempting something sounds. If you can’t afford it, don’t do it. If you can, jump in!

Be informed…

I am NOT saying just jump in with both feet and not think about it. How to invest in property sensibly is not knowledge we are born with, even for those with innate good sense it is something you must make a point to learn. How do you learn? Read everything relevant you can get your hands on, read varying opinions and different arguments, listen to experts and listen to your friends who own property. Essentially become an expert in your own right, here’s the tricky part… don’t become arrogant and think you know it all. I have been in the property for 15 years and I still know I can gain from asking, questioning and debating with everyone in the market so I can keep on learning. There are companies and managers who can help you and guide you. Taking advice from someone who knows more about this than you will stand you in good stead. At the end of the day the decision to invest is always yours, but the more informed the decision, the better the dividend it will pay.

Be rewarded…

In whatever way your portfolio is managed, for whatever reason, you are building a portfolio, by being both bold and well informed you will be rewarded.

I won’t tell you who to invest with or how to invest, it’s not my place to. I work for Castlereach within a group of companies headed up by Brett Alegre Wood and the guys and girls here are tremendous, I respect them all and I trust them with my own portfolio and thereby the success of my future.

Check them out here and see if you like the sound of our formula for reward.

How to sell your development before the ground is broken

How to sell your development before the ground is broken

Marketing tips to help off-plan property sales fly

In these difficult times, we’re receiving more calls than ever from developers who want to boost their sales. Some have already started the process of marketing. They’ve produced stylised brochures, an appealing website, and persuasive advertising. Others haven’t yet started putting together a marketing package.

With competition for off-plan property sales heating up, developers need to target their marketing efforts to reduce costs and increase sales success. We’ve put together these seven tips to ensure off-plan sales success, however early you want to sell your development even before the ground has been broken.

1.    Brand the development

Branding the development is essential. Naming a property gives it life, a vision in the eyes of property investors and home buyers. Let the name tell a story, perhaps of a previous life or shape of development – how about ‘The Potteries’ or ‘The Crescent’? A clear, crisp name gives your development personality. And personality sells.

2.    Emphasise lifestyle benefits

Home buyers want lifestyle benefits from their new home. So, too, the buy-to-let investors – it’s easier to find tenants when you are letting a lifestyle property. Emphasise locational benefits of your development. “Five minutes’ walk to the mainline station, and only 20 minutes from the city”; “In the heart of the city, where residents and businesses are benefiting from a massive regeneration programme.” Find the reason for people to want to live in a property in your development, and market to this desire.

3.    Go 3D with your floor plans

Standard 2D floor plans mean little to most people. They are simply lines on a piece of paper. Producing 3D floor plans turns a concept into something more real – especially important when there are no show homes to view.

A 3D floor plan, presented room by room and including furniture, fixtures and fittings, allows investors to visualise what it is they are buying, and space they are investing in.

4.    Build on locational benefits

Investors buy where property fundamentals are strongest. They want property near shops, schools, transport links, major employers and major investment. Trumpet the locational benefits of your development. We do.

We produce comprehensive area guides for investors, highlighting the reasons why investors should buy where you are developing. It is a powerful marketing tool on its own. When combined with your marketing resource, it becomes irresistible.

5.    Make an offer that investors can’t refuse

It takes courage for a property investor to buy a property that hasn’t yet been built. By the time we’re at the stage of marketing your development to investors, we have spent years developing trust and getting to know our property investor clients. To cement this trust and seal the deal, what better than a price point that savvy investors cannot refuse?

Your marketing brochure has done its job. Our area research has provided further impetus to the marketing message. The hook has been baited. A sensible pricing policy will reel in the investor. Switch down the price slightly, and switch up the investment opportunity from great to irresistible.

6.    Provide exclusivity

Early-stage off-plan success could be accelerated when you make an exclusive offer. Off-market marketing, to a targeted and already identified investor base. Properties that people will want to buy, in an area in which people want to invest, at a price that makes sense on all levels. And offered exclusively to a select group of investors. Suddenly, the irresistibility of your off-plan property sales is ratcheted up even higher.

The developers that do these three things will find their developments sell out, while others remain unsold.

7.    Good marketing sells off-plan property

When we work with developers, selling to our investor clients at home and abroad, we concentrate on marketing. The quality of our marketing materials helps sell your off-plan property. It provides a focal point to concentrate our face-to-face discussions.

Like you, we employ highly experienced and professional researchers, writers, copywriters, photographers and designers. We make certain our marketing materials echo the opportunity that your development offers.

Contact us today on + 44 207 923 5680. Together we’ll work to achieve your sales targets, and excel where other developers fail.

Live with passion,

Brett Alegre-Wood

Firecracker features that propel off-plan property sales

Firecracker features that propel off-plan property sales

How a developer can sell when others around them fail

Off-plan property sales can be tough, especially when the market is slowing down, as it appears to be at present.

The hung parliament that resulted from general election 2017 was another blow. It has done nothing to instil confidence in a market still reeling from the UK electorate’s decision to leave the EU. This on its own, though, shouldn’t deter investors in regional off-plan property. But there are also other factors in play. Economic numbers have been mixed around the world. The recent Grenfell Tower tragedy is likely to deter homebuyers from considering a purchase in any tower block.

There will be developers who can still sell significant numbers of properties off-plan, despite a slowdown in a market that appears temporarily saturated. What is it they do that creates such success in their off-plan property sales? How do they achieve enough sales to pay for the development before it is completed? Where and how do Castlereach help developers hit their targets?

Here are three firecracker features of the most successful developers selling properties off plan.

A successful track record

When you have targets for your off-plan property sales, property investors want to know that their investment objectives will be met. They will have their property investment strategy designed to achieve this. They want to know that the developer they are buying from has a record of delivering developments to the quality anticipated and within the quoted timeframe.

Developers that have delivered multiple and similar projects in the past will have the experience needed to know how long a project will take to reach completion. Our investor clients want to know that a property they agree to buy – perhaps before ground has even been broken – is going to be delivered on time. They can then develop their investment strategy in line with this. It gives them a definitive completion date to aim for and allows them to arrange any required financing.

When we work with investors and offer them property investment opportunities, the investors know that we have already done due diligence investigations on the developer. We’ve assessed the viability of the development from its location investment potential, and from the ability of the developer to deliver on their promises.

The investor buys the property off plan and benefits from the potential of an increased value at the time of completion. The developer meets its targets more easily, because of our reach to the UK and overseas investors and the reputation we have built up with them.

Anticipation of residential living needs

A second feature of the most successful developers is that they anticipate the future lifestyle needs of the people who will inhabit their properties. They create places in which people want to live near to transport and recreational amenities, and with ‘in-house’ amenities that sell.

Such amenities may include elements like pre-wired communication boxes, for instance. It removes the need for a resident to lay cables around their home to wire in their entertainment systems, computers, television, and so on. Systems which connect audio in all rooms and increase energy efficiency are going to be in demand. Intercom services, with a video link to front gates, allow residents to welcome guests and vet visitors more easily may become a standard in the future.

Gyms, open spaces, communal swimming pools and the like all add value in today’s market because tomorrow’s residents are likely to desire such lifestyle features. State-of-the-art security and safety features are likely to be more sought after, because of the recent tragic events in Kensington.

Developers that know what their customers want will win. And this brings me to the third feature of red hot off-plan property sales: knowing the customer.

The best off-plan property sales are made when you know the customer

Investors today are more sophisticated. They have wider and easier access to information. They understand who their target market will be – whether they wish to sell for capital gain or rent for long-term income, as most of our investor clients do.

Blanket marketing doesn’t work anymore. In fact, it can do more harm than good, especially during those early-stage, off-market sales efforts. The best strategy to maximising off-plan property sales is to know your customer. When you understand the investor, you need only to market under the radar to those investors who have expressed a desire to invest in the type of property, area, and a price point which is being offered. The success ratio rises because you are marketing to those who are most likely to buy.

It can take years for an initial meeting to evolve to a level of trust and confidence. It is usually reserved for the personal relationships. We communicate constantly with investors. And use social media and email, voice, and SMS communication strategies. We hold seminars and webinars, and our property consultants are proactive. They discuss investment strategy and the latest property investment opportunities with their clients. We then provide investment education and research to cement buying decisions. It’s unrealistic for a developer to put effort into locating potential investors. And spending the time and effort to develop hundreds of individual relationships.

When we work with a developer, we do so because we are confident that:

  • The location will provide investors with above-average returns through the long term
  • The developer will deliver to quality specifications and on time
  • We have the investor clients on board who are likely to be buyers

A deliberate strategy for off-plan property sales

Off-plan property sales don’t just happen. It’s a deliberate process, connecting the dots between plans and execution. Developers should evidence a track record of delivering a quality product on time. And homes that cater to people’s lifestyle needs. This helps to build trust with buyers. Those buyers must be targeted carefully and quietly. To do so, it’s imperative to know who they are and to have developed a meaningful investor relationship with them.

The developers who do these three things will find their developments sell out, while others remain unsold.

Contact us today on + 44 207 923 5680. Together we’ll work to achieve your sales targets, whatever the market condition.

Live with passion,

Brett Alegre-Wood

Leveraging investor reach to boost off-market property sales

Leveraging investor reach to boost off-market property sales

We started marketing your development years ago

Off-market property sales in the post-general election era look set to get tougher. The UK and overseas investors may become more hesitant to commit funds to a market that could be unsettled, despite Theresa May’s claims of forming a government to ensure stability. However, while many press headlines in the coming weeks are likely to send shivers through the hearts and minds of some investors, we’ve witnessed an early uptick in positive interest.

Why are our investor clients more positive than the press?

Our investors are savvy people. By the time they invest in off-plan property opportunities, they are highly educated about the UK property market. When others see nothing but dark clouds of pessimism, our client base focuses on the silver lining.

UK property fundamentals remain intact. There are excess demand and a backlog of unsatisfied demand that stretches back years. The economy may be shaken, but is unlikely to be stirred. The nature of the election result will not alter the massive governmental infrastructure spending already pencilled in for the next decade. In fact, it may serve to loosen the purse strings a little, with the potential for greater investment in public services.

We’ve worked hard over many years to educate investors from the UK and overseas about the attractiveness and long-term qualities of UK property investment. And how better to invest than in early-stage off-plan developments?

Our marketing of developments begins months or even years before a client invests. A long time before we have selected the area, outstanding location, and developer and development.

Off-market property sales made with educated confidence

We actively promote property investment education. Our educational resource may be the most extensive, focused solely on property. It is centred on the Gladfish Blog, which consistently ranks in the top 100 investment blogs and websites for investors worldwide. Also, we provide investment education material which includes blogs, articles, newsletters, videos, podcasts, webinars, books and research.

Our Gladfish property consultants help to keep investors grounded. Our market news and commentary removes the BS and sensationalism preferred by traditional media. We tell things like they are, ensuring that investors understand how to analyse news and ignore misplaced views. It helps investors take a long-term view.

Consequently, we find that our clients take advantage of sluggish property markets caused by short-term shocks. They understand that it is the underlying property market fundamentals that drive long-term returns. Also, as we provide free investment education and unbiased market commentary, we build long-term relationships with investors. These investors benefit from our approach to research.

Selecting and recommending the best places to invest in property UK

While we provide investors with the knowledge and tools that enable them to undertake their property research, we, of course, go above and beyond. We do the research for them.

We’ve developed a Ripple Effect Pentagon and unique Hotspots Algorithm, which pinpoint the top performing areas for investment. These tools and techniques are easy for investors to understand, and have proven to be remarkably accurate in their forecasting capability.

We analyse 108 data points across 324 UK areas and identify those areas in which the property fundamentals are strongest. We rank these areas, so our clients can see at a glance the best places to invest in the UK property market. Then we produce detailed investment guides that walk investors through the specifics and dynamics of each area. And we allow investors to download these for free.

Drilling down to specific location

With the best areas identified, we then drill down to pinpoint specific locations. It is where those property fundamentals come most strongly into play. Locations within walking distance of transport – or near shops, for example – rank high on the list of positive pointers for investment potential. With location identified, we then search for the final piece in the jigsaw.

Developer and development – sold!

Throughout our process of education, research, and location selection, our clients’ confidence increases. We ensure that we do things right, and throughout communicate the necessity to be cautious. For example:

  • Always undertake extensive research
  • Never invest without completing comprehensive due diligence
  • Invest with property fundamentals
  • Overestimate costs, and underestimate income

The penultimate step in our long-term marketing strategy to connect long-term investors with developers is to carry out due diligence on developers and individual developments. When we put that final piece of marketing in place – offering a specific development to a highly targeted slice of our investor client base – we do so in the knowledge that every piece of the off-plan investment opportunity stacks up.

Our investors are already three-quarters of the way to making a buying decision by the time we market an off-plan property to them. We’ve guided them by:

  • Educating, inspiring, and instilling confidence, no matter the market conditions.
  • Collecting client data, and learning their investment preferences and objectives.
  • Identifying area and location for investment.
  • Marketing the best developments from the best developers, in the best locations, to investors who are already warm to the idea of investing upon our recommendation.

We’ve sold over £750 million of property across the UK since 2004. We’ve helped more than 2,500 property investors achieve their goals. And we’re still building. Investors from abroad are making up an increasingly large proportion of our business ­– aided by our international reach (for example, in 2015, we conducted client meetings in 11 different countries across Asia, the Middle East, and here in Europe and the UK).

The marketing of your development has already started. In fact, it began when we first met our investor clients who will buy your development – and that was before your development even hit the drawing board.

Contact us today on + 44 207 923 5680, and we’ll start developing our segmented investor client lists specifically for marketing your new build development.

Live with passion,

Brett Alegre-Wood