Suitable site for residential development?

At Downey Homes, we are always looking for sites that are suitable for residential development – anything from a back garden that will accommodate one or two residential units up to multiple acres.

Our aim is to optimise the planning gain and development potential and to subsequently develop these sites out, enabling Downey Homes to deliver multiple high-quality homes for sale or long-term rent.

Sites can be privately or publicly owned and may include:

  • Large residential plots with unwanted or excess garden space
  • Derelict or run-down residential properties
  • Disused commercial sites or buildings, such as barns, garages, retail and industrial space
  • Infill site and brownfield sites
  • Unused farmland or small campsites
  • Redundant or retiring residential businesses such as care homes and B&Bs

Similarly, we are interested in mixed-use projects such as retail premises with upper floor residential potential and properties that require extensive refurbishment.

To achieve this we work through a seven step process.

Our seven step process

We operate a thorough, transparent and collaborative discovery and evaluation process which ensures all parties are fully informed from initial enquiry through to planning and purchase.

1. Initial Meeting and Site Assessment

Our first priority is to always meet with potential vendors on site and in-person to understand your motivations and goals for selling. This enables everyone to build a strong and trusting relationship from the outset and equips us with the knowledge to try and come up with a realistic and achievable solution for everyone.

2. Valuation and Follow-up

From our initial on-site assessment, we will carry out a more detailed financial appraisal to work out potential capacity, project costs, planning permission probability and realistic profit margins. This enables us to establish an initial view on land value. If we consider the site to have real potential, we would put forward an indicative offer based on these findings and calculations. If acceptable this offer will require that you, the vendor,commits to a six to eight-week period of exclusivity, as the following phases requires financial investment from Downey Homes.

3. Due Diligence

If you accept the indicative offer, we begin the process of detailed due diligence. This involves working with architects, planners, surveyors, sales agents and a range of other specialist consultants to obtain their thoughts and proposals as to the site’s potential. We also organise a meeting with the local planning department for a Pre App meeting to establish any concerns or potential issues with the proposals. Throughout this phase, we will be revising our financial assessment and viability of the development, as well as committing our own funds.

4. Formal Offer

We will then be in a position to fully brief you, the vendor, on our findings and if the work has indicated a realistic possibility of achieving planning permission and profits, we will submit a formal offer for the site ‘subject to planning’. This effectively means that the actual purchase is agreed but will not complete until planning approval is in place, which can range from eight weeks to 12 months.

5. Option Agreement

If this offer to purchase is accepted, we look to put in place a formal agreement called an Option Agreement. This confirms that Downey Homes can purchase the site for the agreed price if they achieve full planning approval within the agreed timeframe.

6. Planning Approval, Purchase and Development

Once the Option is in place we work closely with our experienced consultants to achieve planning at the earliest opportunity, all the while keeping you fully informed and up to date. We normally cover all costs up to this stage and once planning is in place, we will move to complete the site purchase and progress the development and build phase. Whilst we endeavour to achieve a viable planning permission as quickly as possible, it is important for owners to note that actual timescales for planning are significantly influenced by the complexity and location of the development.

7. Other investment opportunities

Regardless of whether you are an owner occupier – i.e. you sell us part of your land or property and remain living there – or move on after the sale, we may also be able to offer you the opportunity to reinvest some of the capital made from the sale into the development project.