There’s probably more data available about different property types – and specific sites – than ever before. When you start combining all that information you can get some pretty interesting insights into what’s happening in the market.
A snapshot is good. But what’s even better is tracking these property types long term, so you know exactly what’s happening with them, and can spot potential opportunities.
Most people will naturally do this for potential deals, but in reality there are far more property types that savvy developers track. In fact, by my count there are seven.
They might not all be potential deals, but keeping an eye on each of them can have a huge impact on your business.
Let’s start with the big (and obvious) one.
1. A deal you’re considering
If there’s a site you’re interested in, it goes without saying that you’ll want to keep an eye on it.
You want to know everything you can about it, and stay up to date on any changes that could affect its potential.
Importantly, that means not just tracking the site of interest itself, but nearby properties too. For instance, if a neighbour gets denied planning permission for the exact kind of work you were considering, that’s definitely something you should know about.
2. A site with potential, but requires a rule change
Well-informed developers have their finger on the pulse of the industry, so they know when changes could be coming up. There may be sites that aren’t right just now, but they have potential in the future if the changes you’re expecting actually happen.
When industry-wide changes come into effect – like new permitted development rights, or greenbelt restrictions being lifted – you want to be ready to hit the ground running while other developers are playing catch-up.
That means tracking potential sites even if they aren’t right just now can be a hugely valuable (if slightly longer-term) play.
3. A site moving from public to private ownership (or vice versa)
Whether a site is publicly or privately owned will have a huge impact on both its potential, and how you approach it as an opportunity.
Knowing that an individual site has changed ownership from public to private, or private to public, could unlock an entirely new opportunity that you didn’t know was in play.
And again, it gives you an insight into wider trends that you could make the most of, like more of the same changes in ownership coming.
4. Other sites owned by someone you’re looking to buy from
You find a site that looks good. But before getting in touch with the owner, you want to check them out to see what else they own, previous sales etc.
It might be that they own other similar sites and it’s worth seeing if you can get a deal by buying several of them at once.
Or it might just be the value of the information – knowing that they’ve sold something else recently, and so they’re open to selling (or even eager to…).
It all changes how you approach the negotiation – and potentially the final result.
5. A competitor’s site
It goes without saying that tracking your competitors can give you all kinds of insights. Know your enemy and all that.
If you know a competitor has recently bought a property, you can see what they do with it. If you know they’ve bought a few in the same area, they may be making a bigger play there.
Plus knowing when (and where) competitors are selling can give you valuable information too – maybe they’re freeing up capital for a big purchase. Or maybe they’re struggling.
But either way, the only way to have the full picture is to track them.
6. A site owned by companies that you regularly joint venture with
It’s not just competitor’s worth tracking, but allies too.
Many people might skip doing this – after all, it can feel a bit like spying on your friends. But it can actually be pretty valuable – for you and them.
For instance, if you’re thinking of asking someone to partner on a big deal, but they’ve just bought more than enough sites to keep them busy? That feels like something you should know.
And besides, it can’t hurt to know, right?
7. The big one – a key part of a land assembly
This one is huge.
You’re considering buying several sites that could turn into an assembled development site, but one of the key pieces of the puzzle isn’t in play.
Maybe they just don't want to sell. Or maybe they know why you’re after it, and are trying to pump up the price well beyond its actual value to make a small fortune (and eat into your profits).
Even worse, it could be a 'ransom strip' – a small piece of land (sometimes no more than a couple of metres square), that someone has kept ownership of so they can name their price when someone wants to develop the wider site around it.
You need an efficient way to track these types of sites (or ransom strips). A way to know information that might tip the scales in your favour – like if the owners have been turned down for planning permission and might have to upsize, or if the plots change ownership to someone else (who may be more open to a reasonable offer).
Without a way to track these sites, you might miss an opportunity (or be blind-sided completely).
Staying informed can be a lot of work. But it’s essential.
In the property world you meet people. You hear things. But you can’t rely on this kind of ‘fluffy’ knowledge.
You need a system in place to track everything for yourself, so you’re the first to know of any big changes.
Of course, you also have a day job to do. All that time spent tracking sites is time not spent on other work. And as the number of sites you track starts to creep up, that’s less and less time…
But it doesn’t have to be a problem.
In fact, developers use LandInsight to track thousands of sites. Some even track tens of thousands – all in an effective, simple way. And as we've just added Ownership Alerts, they now get monthly updates on which of their saved sites have changed hands.
Want to make tracking easier? Claim your free trial of LandInsight Unlimited now.
Before Harry joined LandTech he spent eight months as a pub landlord, and was almost an international DJ (but his big Ibiza performance was cancelled with just two weeks notice). Still, their loss is our gain as he now one of our in-house experts helping to make thousands of property professionals' lives easier.