1 – Olive Stores – Development Opportunity

| 17th October 2015 | 0 Comments

How I found my Development Opportunity

Olive Stores, Brenchley, Kent TN12 7NQ

No 1 in series

In October 2013 I found an advert on Rightmove advertising for sale a property called Olive Stores, Brenchley; a beautiful village just outside Tunbridge Wells. The property was due to go to Auction with Clive Emson Auctioneers early November.

 

External view of Olive Stores, High Stre, Brenchley Kent - Listed building - development opportunity

Olive Stores, Brenchley, Kent – Development Opportunity

 

External view of Olive Stores, High Stre, Brenchley Kent - Listed building - development opportunity

Olive Stores, Brenchley, Kent – Development Opportunity

 

My interest was piqued because the guide price was £300,000 and there appeared to be a lot of m2 for the price. Also the project would be very similar to my Burwash conversion completed in 2005/6 so I felt I could do the property justice.

The property was Grade 2 listed, my preference, with a mixture of Commercial and residential use. The ground floor and basement was used as a tea rooms and the upper floors as accommodation. The property had been mucked about with over the years with some very poorly built additions to the rear and some very dubious internal alterations.

 

Side view of Olive Stores, High Stre, Brenchley Kent - Listed building - development opportunity

Side view of Olive Stores, Brenchley, Kent – Development Opportunity

 

Rear view of Olive Stores, High Stre, Brenchley Kent - Listed building - development opportunity

Rear view of Olive Stores, Brenchley, Kent – Development Opportunity

 

I was very pleased at what I saw as for me, the more issues the better. More opportunity to add value. My only problem was that my money was tied up in another property and wasn’t likely to be available until early December.

Undeterred I contacted the agent to ask for more information and to see if it would be possible to arrange a deal in advance of the auction.

The agent told me the property was being sold by the receivers and the only way I would be able to remove the property from the auction would be to exchange contracts prior with completion 1 week later. I have exchanged in a week before (see Oast House conversion) so this wouldn’t have been an issue. The problem for me was availability of funds.

There are many ways to generate cash for projects but due to the proximity of the auction I had no time to make arrangements. I therefore registered my keen interest with the agent and hoped it wouldn’t sell at the auction.

It did sell.

However, a few weeks later I was contacted by the agent because the new buyer, a commercial landlord, had bought the property with the intention of renewing the lease with the owner of the Tea Rooms. It was only after he had completed the purchase that the Tea Rooms gave their notice. Not what he wanted to hear.

Due to the very poor condition of the property he had a decision to make. Either bite the bullet and sink his money into the refurbishment or to try to sell quickly to recoup his cash and maybe make a bit on top. He decided to sell as he was a landlord not a developer; he didn’t see it as a development opportunity so the refurbishment option didn’t fit his strategy.

The agent said I needed to act quickly so I contacted my Architect Stephen Langer to arrange a site visit. We met the very next day.

His very first words to me were “looks familiar” referring to the Burwash project on which he was the architect. We had a look around and it was clear there was much to do but he was confident that he could come up with a scheme that would satisfy the Conservation Officer and that was good enough for me. All I needed to do then was to work out the numbers – re-sale value / design + planning + development budget / margin – to establish the maximum price I could offer.

 

Please now visit the next article in this seriesHow I Negotiated the Purchase of my Development Project

 

Summary:

 

  • Look at a range of places to find property – online, auctions, estate agents, land agents, papers, free local papers, leaflet drops, direct letters and door knocking
  • Establish relationships with agents and property professionals
  • Carry out due diligence with regards to the property and the figures.

 

 

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Category: Finding a Property, My Projects, Negotiating and Buying a Property, Olive Stores - Brenchley, Property Developing, Property Professionals

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