Is New Construction A Wise Investment Strategy? - Private Lending Blog

Is New Construction A Wise Investment Strategy?

| Posted in General Lending

January 18, 2023

There are several different types of real estate investment projects, from rehabilitation to building new, each have their own potential risks as well as financial returns. For example, a rehab project has less risk because the structure already exists; therefore, overall the planning and workload are much less than with building a brand new property, however, the potential financial payoffs may ultimately be less.

There are many components to building new real estate that are unpredictable, which can greatly increase the risk factors. While every new real estate build is different, there are some consistent areas to consider in order to properly evaluate the investment potential when deciding whether or not to build a new real estate project.

Project Location

The physical location of a brand new project plays a significant role in determining the overall risk factors. Building new real estate in areas with higher prices and demand present far fewer risks than building in lower populated rural areas. Building in an area where there are buyers before a project is even finished further reduces the risk. You should look at data that indicates real estate demand, such as high employment levels, large-brand expansion in the area and the rate of adult population growth. While there is no perfect or foolproof formula, all of this data can be reviewed to help assess the overall risk level in a particular location.

Common Weather Patterns

Weather is one of the most important factors to consider when planning and budgeting a brand new construction project. Severe rain, snow and temperatures are just some weather factors that can lead to delays and add to additional costs and headaches.  If the project is located in an area that experiences extreme seasonal changes then you should factor into consideration when the project is suppose to start and how long it’s expected to take to finish. Coordinate this estimated timeline with the local weather and see if there are any potential concerns that you should account for before it’s too late.

Increased Material Costs

When first budgeting for a construction project, it’s important to accept that the cost estimates will often increase. A brand new project can take several months to over a year, depending on the project size, leaving plenty of time to see price increases on building materials.  It would be unwise to not expect increased material-related costs over the course of a build.  It is critical to have enough of a contingency built in to the project budget to absorb these increases with out killing the bottom line.  Thin margin deals can easily end up in the red at the end due simply to an increase in the cost of building materials.

Logistics and Management

Anytime you are dealing with contractors, you need to account for delays. Delays are going to happen; from getting tied up at a previous location and arriving late or simply not showing up at all.  It’s not a matter of if the project will experience contractor problems but whether or not they will be a minor or major problem that leads to a domino effect of delays.  Brand new real estate projects have many moving pieces that all need to work together in order to stay on schedule. A scheduling mistake or a logistical disaster can not only cause delays but possibly result in a complete shutdown of the project while things are being sorted out.

Overall Costs

A brand new real estate project involves every aspect of construction from foundation to final finishes.  This reality provides ample opportunities to change the plans which can ultimately increase the time it takes to finish the project as well as the total costs.  While minor pivots and changes are expected, major changes and multiple occurrences can put the project far behind schedule and over budget, which are the two concerns investors dread above all else.

At the end of the day, when evaluating the risks of building a new real estate project, you should look closely at who you have available to manage the project and perform all of the required work to completion. Someone with lots of experience and a proven track record will greatly reduce the amount of pitfalls that claim so many construction projects. The exact same deal with different contractors can have drastically different outcomes and will ultimately make the difference of whether or not a new building project is a good investment opportunity overall.

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