Chicks and Mortar meet on a warm Sunday afternoon this month and the topics of the month were Strategies and the Buying Process. These topics lead to a discussion about the buying process and how it works particularly in regards to Joint Ventures and Options, how Joint Ventures are structured and what is the best process.
As there was several ladies who had already undertaken or were currently involved in Joint Ventures it was a great opportunity to get different opinions and views.
We also talked about buying property under entities and briefly touched on how this may affect Capital Gains and Tax Liabilities, and how important is is to seek your own accounting advice, particularly before entering into any JV agreements.
The subject then turned to engaging professionals and how to select the best architect, town planner and builder for development projects. When selecting a builder how do you know if they are financially secure and they are paying their subcontractors and suppliers on time and in full? While builders insurance will most likely cover you for any loss while the project is under construction, nobody wants to have a project delayed while it runs through a judicial process.
So how do you go about selecting the right professional services?
Here are 5 must do steps before engaging any professionals:
1. License search and online searches – Make sure you check out if your professional should be license, if their license is current and is there any restrictions placed on their license. Also seek out if they are a member of any associating bodies that work to ensure all associated members are working under a code of ethics (such as the institute of Architects). Checking council DA and BA lodgements will also tell you how active a professional is and how much work they are currently undertaking.
A general Google and social media search also doesn’t go astray.
2. Recommendations from previous and current clients – Ask your professional if they can provide you with past and current clients contact details so you can contact them for a recommendation, and when calling these contacts it is best to ask them specific questions that require more than a yes / no answer. I find that general questions usually only encourage general answers. Ask them specifically about communication, time expectations (if they were reached), how accurate were the estimates provided etc
3. Recommendations from previous and current sub-contractors & Suppliers – Again ask to receive contact details for any professional associations, sub-contractors and/or suppliers and, again, when contacting these references, ask specific questions. If the professional was recommended to you by someone else, ask them specifically why they are recommending them. If you have engaged a good architect and they recommend a town planner, ask them how many projects they have worked on together. It is always better to get a team that can communicate and work together effectively rather than professionals who barely know each other.
4. Communication – Not only is it important that you engage a professional service that is knowledgeable, experienced and are willing to guide you through the process (especially if this your first time), but are they also courteous and professional in their communication? Do they get back to you in a timely manner? Will their responses be clear and concise? Be straight forward upfront with anyone you plan to work with and outline clearly what you are expecting from the relationship. This tip applies to you also. Give the other party a chance to outline their expectations and respect their requests also. If you are asking for quick responses then also make sure your responses are provided quickly.
5. Intuition – What is your inner voice telling you? As women, I find we are more in tune to what our senses pick up and if you are sensing that something is not right, then you should listen to this. Intuition 9 times out of 10 is often correct.
So that is the top 5 steps you can take to review a professional service (or trade) before engaging them.
Have anything to add or experiences to share? Add your comment below.
Until next time…
Chicks and Mortar – Women Investing in Property