The benefit from being a small team that work and live locally, is that you will have a direct contact with the Managing Director, from start to finish and we can act upon new information quickly and efficiently.
We manage the site finding process ourselves, and rarely use agents, preferring a direct relationship with the landowner instead.
We know where to look, and focus on areas with excellent schools, good transport links, and with easy access to vast green space. Places that we’d like to live, and locations that will sell.
Once we have found a suitable site that fits our criteria, and completed an initial development appraisal to establish if its worth pursuing, we make contact with the landowner.
We will typically meet on site to discuss our proposal, and if both parties are happy, then we move forward to the next step.
There are different ways landowners can move forward but we typically use an option or promotion agreement.
The landowner will give us the ‘option’ to buy their land for an agreed price within a given period of time, typically 18 months.
We would apply for planning permission (at our own cost) and if successful can exercise the option to buy the land at the agreed price.
A promotion agreement is similar, although here the landowner and ourselves work together to ‘promote’ the land for development – but instead we find another (typically larger) developer to sell the site on to.
The costs and risks of ‘promoting’ the land, are again borne by us, but repaid when the land is subsequently sold to a third party. The remaining profit is split (at a pre-agreed %) between us and the landowner.
We can now enter the detailed due diligence stage of the process, and will assess everything to do with the site which will have a physical, financial, legal or construction impact or constraint on the project. This may include legal constraints, planning considerations, utilities, and ground conditions.
Blackthorn Homes is a member of the Home Builders Federation who work closely with key decision makers in government, both nationally and regionally, on the issues that affect us including; technical, planning, economic and environmental matters.
We will often require the input from our project team at this stage in the process, which could be a planning consultant, architect, highways engineer, or even solicitor depending on the site specific conditions.
Once we have completed the due diligence we will start working up the design in line with the advice received, and overcome any site constraints that were highlighted.
The planning application is then submitted to the local authority, and we wait for a positive outcome. Most planning applications are decided within eight weeks, unless they are unusually large or complex, in which case the time limit is extended to 13 weeks. That said, we often wait much longer for a decision.
We finance our own planning costs, and have good access to a network of funders (specialist banks, and private lenders) for purchasing the land/property and building out the developments.
Development finance is typically reserved for experienced developers who have a previous track record.
We have most recently borrowed with Avamore Capital, who specialise in development finance, but also have relationships with other lenders, including NatWest, Close Brothers, Paragon, and United Trust Bank.
Following purchase of the land with planning permission we will enlist a number of consultants including an Architect and an Engineer to produce a detailed design for construction.
We carry out the construction works ourselves using a network of experienced sub-contractors and suppliers, and since May 2018 an accredited Chartered Building Company.
We are members of the Considerate Constructors Scheme and have won a Premier Guarantee Quality Recognition Award, part of their Excellence Awards programme, for outstanding quality on site.
Mainly focusing on standard of site management and standard of workmanship – whilst also considering health & safety, site tidiness and general cooperation – the building control inspector recognised the team and its hard work, dedication and outstanding workmanship.
Also known as an ‘exit strategy’ the sale is the final stage of the property development process.
We will typically sell all the new houses on a completed development using a local agent, and re-invest any profits into the next development.
Do you have land you are looking to sell, or a site you can introduce us to? Contact us today.