Talking Land buying and best price with Developer Alexandra Thur
“Often they (landowners) come back to us after they realise we offered the best price and they weren’t able to sell elsewhere for the price they originally had in mind.”
Alexander Thur, Head of Investment & Development at Castelnau Estates, talks to TrustedLand about the challenges, opportunities of buying land.
What would you say are the main barriers to sourcing viable land for development?
Competition in the market, planning regulation and planning process challenges.
What has been your most challenging land buying experience (with a landowner or closing a deal generally)?
In general, vendors’ solicitors often need chasing to get transactions completed in a timely manner. Landowners often also have unrealistic expectations of the market value of their property, particularly if they are highly confident about inflated planning potential value. Often they come back to us after they realise we offered the best price and they weren’t able to sell elsewhere for the price they originally had in mind.
How do you feel agents can add more value to development land purchases?
Helping to assist not just in getting a deal agreed, but by also being involved in making sure it completes by staying on top of solicitors on both sides of the transaction. Agents can also provide as much information on planning background, etc. as possible so that potential buyers do not have to spend the time doing research that the agent is capable of doing themselves.
How many deals do you review per month or per year?
36 off-market deals per year and increasing all the time. We come across off-market deals that require a freehold ground rent interest investment to make the deal work and partner with developers to make the purchase work on both sides, as well as occasionally partnering on the developments ourselves.
What do you believe can be done between buyers and sellers to improve the land buying process?
Direct contact and communication between buyers and sellers is key. Occasionally some less experienced agents are hesitant to connect buyers with vendors directly, but these discussions are crucial and in the best interests of all involved if a deal is to happen. Reputable firms will never dream of cutting out an agent, and this paranoia is only detrimental to the agents themselves.