Regardless of the project, you’re working on, it can be difficult to get the timeline right. Even if everything goes perfectly, you’re still estimating how long it’s going to take to get everything done. In addition, you also have to account for the unexpected.
When you try to apply this concept to something as complex as real estate development, the rules get even messier. Because delays can throw clients for a loop, it’s always better to try to ward off disappointment by managing expectations. Successful developer Bruce Strebinger gives his tips for getting it right.
Whether it’s weather or labor shortages, there are a number of very real roadblocks that can get in the way of a schedule. Unfortunately, developers who are new to the game can be far too optimistic about when they’ll have everything up and running.
Strebinger recommends breaking down each major phase into key milestones. If you find that you’re continuously running behind — particularly in the beginning — catching this pattern can make it that much easier to adjust the schedule and ensure everyone is on the same page.
There are a lot of moving parts to real estate development. Even more so, there are a lot of moving people who all need to be focused on their part of the project. It would be easy to choose a team or a partner based on price or based on how amenable they are to the given demands. However, neither of these are going to help you finish your project on schedule.
Bruce Strebinger says that there’s nothing wrong with choosing the more economical option, but there is something wrong if the relationship is frazzled before papers are even signed. There’s nothing wrong with choosing an agreeable team, but there are plenty of people who will overpromise and underdeliver. If a developer can’t trust the people they’re working for, that uncertainty is going to manifest in a myriad of destructive ways.
Supplies, labor, zoning laws: real estate developers need to be thinking about how these components will affect their timing. Here are just a few questions that should be answered before breaking ground:
Bruce Strebinger points out that coordinating schedules will never be a precise science based on the nature of real estate development, but these tips can save some headaches in the future. He’s developed enough properties (and seen enough mistakes) to know just how complex it can be to get it right.