How To Get into Property Development for The First Time

Over the last two decades, over 2.5 million property investors have invested in the UK property sector, which has delivered strong returns.

Despite all the recent negative media UK headlines about increasing interest rates, our clients still see 7% yields. Demand from would-be homeowners and property investors continues to outstrip supply in the UK.

In this blog, we'll cover everything you need to know about how to get into property development, from understanding the basics to preparing for your first venture, diversifying your portfolio, and exploring investment options.

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Key Takeaways

  • Property development has great profitability potential.

  • Financial preparation, location selection and strategies are essential to successful property development.

  • Various skills, financing methods and marketing tactics must be considered when entering the field of property development.

Understanding Property Development

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Property development is a multifaceted process that involves:

  • Purchasing residential property or land

  • Renovating properties

  • Selling properties or land for financial gain

  • Creating new homes

  • Improving existing commercial buildings

  • Constructing new dwellings

  • Renovating existing properties

  • Constructing, renovating, or enhancing commercial structures

All these activities are part of a successful property development business.

However, this process also comes with potential risks, such as the possibility of losing investment in the property market.

If you want to get into property development, becoming a successful property developer requires patience and an understanding of property development finance.

Entering the property development market involves steps like investing with a property developer group, buying commercial properties and transforming them into residential ones, acquiring land to sell to a developer, or building development from scratch.

Remember that projects can rapidly exceed initial expectations; comprehensive research and planning are indispensable in starting property development.

Property development can be extremely profitable, especially for those who effectively manage projects and navigate market forces. No specific qualifications are required to enter the field of property development, including UK property development, but having a good understanding of the local market and regulations is beneficial.

Preparing for Your First Property Development Venture

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Before starting your first property development venture, make sure to outline a business plan and an exit strategy. The plan needs to include your chosen strategy and potential risks.

Assessing your financial resources is important because borrowing often plays a key role in raising capital and in the successful execution of property development projects.

When selecting a location for your investment property, consider factors such as;

  • Property prices

  • Transport links

  • Local amenities

By considering these factors, you'll be well-prepared to start on your first property development project with confidence.

The Scale of Development

The scale of property development can vary greatly, from small-scale projects like renovating a single home to large-scale developments involving multiple properties or commercial buildings. One example of a potential large-scale project is converting a disused commercial property into residential apartments, which could yield a significant return.

When planning the scope of your property development project, it's important to evaluate available resources and decide whether you'll be working solo, in collaboration with a team or with a property developer group.

By understanding the different scales of property development and the best approach for completing projects based on scale and available resources, you'll be better equipped to make informed decisions and manage your projects effectively.

Financial Preparation

Financial preparation is a crucial factor to consider before starting a property development venture. Securing suitable funding for your project is vital, and chatting with a private finance specialist can help you navigate the various financing options available, such as loans, private investments, or local grants.

It's also important to be aware of the potential expenses involved in property development, including fees for professionals such as quantity surveyors, architects, and contractors and additional costs like taxes and payments.

Being financially prepared also means considering the impact of taxes and reliefs ahead of time. With a solid financial plan in place, you'll be ready to tackle your property development project confidently.

Location Selection

Selecting an ideal location for your property development project is key to maximizing your investment. Aspects to consider include;

  • Property prices

  • Transport links

  • Nightlife and amenities

Rental income can significantly impact development decisions, especially for beginning property developers.

By carefully evaluating these factors and selecting a familiar location, you'll be well-positioned to make informed decisions and increase the likelihood of success in your property development venture.

Strategies for Entering Property Development with Limited Funds

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While starting property development with limited funds might seem daunting, various strategies can mitigate this challenge.

Aggressive saving, a secure and low-risk method for accumulating funds, means tracking expenses and developing a regular monthly saving habit. Borrowing money is another option, but transparency and caution regarding the loan's intended use are needed.

Joint ventures, where an investor supplies the capital and the property developer provides expertise and familiarity with the property industry, can also be a viable option for those with limited funds.

Other strategies include seeking property deals, exploring rent-to-rent options, and researching crowdfunding opportunities.

Using a Property Developer Group

Going solo is a highly ambitious and risky strategy for first-time property developers. However, investing with an established property development group that has purchased the land or property and has planning permission reduces the risk to yourself.

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Competitively Priced

A property development group, like the Heaton Group, will have years of experience and a database of contacts to refer to in the investment, construction and property market, meaning they can source a property or development opportunity at a very reasonable price.

You can invest and get an excellent deal once renovated and finished to a high standard.

It is not uncommon for property developers to have access to several off-market properties that they can purchase at 20-30% below market value. If you try to go it alone, this is just something you wouldn't be able to do unless you were connected to the right people.

If you want long-term growth and to diversify your property portfolio, a property development group can offer you unique investment opportunities. From large-scale developments to small studio apartments, being able to diversify helps to spread the risk of investing in the UK property market.

Better Quality Developments

' We've heard horror stories from those who have gone it alone and spent every last penny desperately trying to take a three-bedroom semi-detached property and transform it into a four-bed buy to let HMO (home of multiple occupancies). 

Sometimes, you've got to admit it: you will find renovating and developing a property complicated and costly. 

Leave the hard work to the experts and invest in a finished development ready to rent out immediately. This means you can start making a return on your investment far quicker than taking on your renovation project.


Some people think that getting your investment property is easy once you've saved up enough money to secure a deposit, but once you've purchased the property, you need to have enough money in the bank for any unforeseen circumstances. 

Renting out a property means maintaining it to a high standard. If the boiler breaks down at 3 a.m., you must fix it immediately, especially if tenants pay to live there. 

Property development groups offer to manage your investment property on your behalf and require a maintenance fee to cover any costs that may occur further down the line. This hassle-free approach to investing is a good choice for first-time investors.

Setting Up a Property Development Company

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Establishing a limited company for property development can offer potential tax benefits, such as the ability to claim against tax for costs and materials. However, it is important to be aware of the potential implications of setting up a limited company structure, as it could affect elements like child tax credits, general benefits, and how you receive your income.

Examining the tax benefits and implications of establishing a property development company can guide you towards the best course for your business. A balanced view of the advantages and disadvantages will enable an informed decision on whether a limited company structure suits your property development venture.

Diversifying Your Property Portfolio

For long-term success in property development, portfolio diversification is vital. You could diversify your property investment by adding commercial or industrial properties to your residential ones.

Scouting multiple geographic locations can assist in identifying lucrative opportunities and minimizing potential losses.

By diversifying your property portfolio, you can gain valuable experience in different types of properties and markets, ultimately strengthening your position as a property developer and increasing your chances of success in the long run.

Financing Property Developments

Securing finance for property developments is a key element of a successful project, achievable through different methods like loans, private investments, or local grants. Establishing a limited company for property development can provide tax benefits, making financing options more appealing.

It's essential to research the available financing options and consider their pros and cons before deciding on the best fit for your project. By securing the necessary financing, you'll be better equipped to manage your property development venture and maximize the potential for success.


In conclusion, property development offers numerous opportunities and challenges for those willing to embark on this exciting journey.

By understanding the basics, preparing for your first venture, diversifying your portfolio, and honing essential skills, you can maximize your chances of success in property development.

Whether you're starting or looking to expand your existing property development business, this comprehensive guide provides the tools and insights needed to navigate the landscape and achieve your goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start a career in property development?

To start a career in property development, get a degree and gain experience, assess your borrowing capacity, build a network, understand your market, build a team, and find the right property.

Additionally, be passionate, build a team, set a budget, pick a location, create a business plan, know your target audience, and have a vision for success.

What qualifications do you need for property development?

For successful property development, financial acumen and strong communication skills are essential.

Evaluate these qualities in yourself before embarking on this journey.

Do property developers make money?

Yes, property developers can make money either by renting out their properties or selling them with a buy-to-let mortgage.

Additionally, it is simple to obtain a buy-to-let mortgage if you put down 25% of the property cost as a deposit.

What are some strategies for entering property development with limited funds?

Saving aggressively, borrowing money, pursuing joint ventures or property deals, renting to rent, and using crowdfunding are strategies for entering property development with limited funds.

What factors should be considered when selecting a location for a property development project?

When selecting a location for a property development project, it is essential to consider property prices, transport links, and local amenities.

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