‘Making it to the Market’ by Hillnic

Contribution by Daniel Hillman, Managing Director and Jemma Kirton, Marketing Manager


How do you make sure that you build a good exit strategy?

We try to create as many exit options as possible at the initial appraisal stage i.e.: selling with planning consent if it doesn’t currently have it; selling all units; renting all units; or having a mixture of sale and rental units. If as many of those options produce the desired margin, then we know we have a more sustainable direction.

How early do you start preparing for sale?

We start preparing for sale as soon as we have secured the site and we begin to create the story. We create a business plan and an initial marketing strategy which we refer to in our team meetings on a monthly basis. Any changes to the market, specification or anything else relating to that scheme can be discussed and actioned immediately. This allows for any changes in the economic landscape to be reacted to quickly which minimises our sales risk and provides us maximum competitive advantage.

daniel hillman bedroomWhen is the best time to start marketing your property – why is this?

We start promoting and creating a buzz about our developments as early as possible – right through purchase, planning, development, sales and aftersales. The sooner we can build the profile for each of our schemes we can start to create traction for potential buyers/tenants. Therefore, minimising the sales/lettings risks, exposure and time at the back end of the project, which in turn also provides an element of certainty.

What advice would you give to a developer looking to sell their first project?

Don’t believe your own hype! Refer often to agents during the build, keeping up to date with what is happening to the market and also the agents will be experiencing first-hand what people are buying or not buying. This may provide some value in making tweaks and changes to your scheme as you go, not to mention the agents will be responsible for selling the units and if they can make their lives easier selling a brilliant and sellable product then even better.

What are the top three things you believe contribute towards a successful marketing strategy?

  • Research and planning
  • Review and refinement
  • Adaptability and flexibility

What other parties are involved to ensure a smooth exit?

  • Internally – Design & Development Team, Legal, marketing
  • Externally – Contractors, Funders, Estate Agent, Solicitors

daniel hillman bathroomHow do you make sure your property is legally ready for sale?

Ensure all the necessary paperwork is in place, planning, any planning conditions that have been discharged and well documented. Building control and warranties have been signed off and issued.

What is the biggest mistake developers make when going to market?

  • Not keeping on top of the market and what’s happening in the area
  • Having unrealistic expectations on price and timeframes
  • Not preparing a marketing strategy upfront so not having a clear plan, USP’s or target audience identified
  • Poor quality and compromising on finishing and details
  • Thinking their product is better than the competition but the specification is actually poor or not want the customer wants.

How do you try and stand out from your competition? 

  • Strong identify and brand
  • We tailor our approach/plan to the development audience – one size doesn’t fit all!
  • Consistent brand and visual identity across all marketing touch points
  • From concept to delivery – every decision is made with our future homeowners in mind

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