Property Development and 3D Design Magic with Sarah Lloyd

Episode 24 of Deal Finder’s Corner showcases Sarah Lloyd, a property entrepreneur, business owner, qualified letting agent specialised in HMO management, and an interior designer. Notably, she is the winner of the Property Entrepreneur 2023. Sarah shares invaluable tips with Property Filter members on how to maximise profits and avoid pitfalls in property development and design. Her practical advice spans property investors and developers, including insights into advertising strategies and understanding the target audience.

“Let ROI guide your design choices.” (Graphic Source: Dall-E)

More Profit, Less Problems

Renowned as the “developer designer” Sarah provides design solutions for developers across the UK and Ireland. Her expertise lies in minimising errors, boosting earnings, and maximising profits during the crucial last 10% of refurbishment projects. She advocates for the significance of design in enhancing profitability, focusing particularly on 3D mapping. Her business transforms 2D floor plans that you get from letting agents or architects into realistic 3D CGI visual models.

Kicking Off the Property Refurbishment Project

Sarah emphasises three key factors when embarking on a new development project: securing planning permission, providing building clarification, and early advertising.

  1. Planning Permission: Essential for various developments, it is easier to obtain when you can showcase the project’s final look.
  2. Building Clarification: Overspending often occurs due to inadequate clarification and specification to builders. This leads to rework, delays, and increased costs.
  3. Early Advertising: Often overlooked, early advertising is crucial to minimise downtime once the project is completed. Sarah highlights that delaying advertising can lead to a loss of potential profit and income.

Property Refurbishment Process Explained 

Sarah guides property investors and developers through each phase of property refurbishment projects starting with the development, through the design phase and the delivery. 

  1. Develop: Focus on the layout, efficiency, and functionality of all the spaces.
  2. Design: Align the refurbishment budget with current market prices and consider the target audience.
  3. Delivery: Make sure every item shown in CGI is implemented in the property.

Top Tips for Property Development and Design

Sarah’s expertise shines through as she imparts these valuable tips, offering a holistic approach that goes beyond the bricks and mortar, creating a narrative that resonates with your audience.

  1. Advertise at the Right Time: Ideally during the building phase, aligning with the target audience’s needs.
  2. Get the Specification Right: Maximise space efficiency to increase tenant retention and avoid void periods.
  3. Use Imagination: Provide visuals that help potential buyers or tenants envision the property’s possibilities.
  4. Be Realistic: Ensure accurate representation in advertising, meeting legal requirements i.e. by adding the information that the visuals are just a representation of the space –  computer generated images  and therefore aren’t to be taken as genuine photos of the property. 
  5. Sell a Product: Identify your product, your target audience, and market accordingly.

Final Words on Property Development and Design 

Sarah advocates for the practice of capturing the journey, urging property investors to take before-and-after photos. These not only serve as valuable assets for revaluation but also weave a compelling narrative for effective marketing. She punctures the myth that there is a ‘right time’ for property investment. She contends that, armed with the right team and knowledge, any moment can be opportune. The cost of empty rooms is another crucial consideration.

Sarah prompts us to ponder if we can afford not to advertise in specific markets during certain periods, as this could potentially lead to significant profit losses. The notion of ‘white is right’ emerges as a timeless piece of advice. White, being a versatile canvas, allows for easy additions of character through decor, plants, and cushions. Sarah underscores the importance of understanding your market, aligning your approach with your product and target audience.

Increase income and attract the right tenants

It’s worth remembering that property development and design are not just about bricks and mortar. They are a narrative, a story waiting to be told. The session concluded with an engaging Q&A, where Sarah generously shared her expertise by addressing live questions from the Property Filter community. Dive into the full episode here and gain insights from an award winning expert in property development and design Sarah Lloyd.