Developer – $2.25m consolidated development site in North Ryde – ‘fresh eyes seal the deal’

July 20th, 2015

Having nine years earlier purchased one of three strategically located and separately owned adjoining blocks in the North Ryde growth corridor, our successful and well established developer client entrusted us with the task of acquiring on market one of the two other blocks with a view to re-zoning and developing the site if it could be consolidated.

A delicate task in every case, the difficulties of this particular site consolidation were compounded by the negotiations between our client and the remaining two owners almost a decade earlier having ended unsatisfactorily leading to the risk that in any fresh negotiations, the same owners would seek to extract a punitive premium that exceeded any special value each property had for our client and rendered the acquisition unfeasible.

Once due diligence had been completed, our client agreed that the strategy should be to maintain its anonymity whilst concurrently positioning ourselves in the mind of the selling agent as representing the dominant interested buyer. Without having engaged us as its buyers’ agent to act as a professional intermediary, such anonymity would of course have been impossible.

Following robust negotiations over the ensuing fortnight , we succeeded in acquiring that property for market value and without any premium for the special value it had for our client.

Impressed with our performance of that retainer, our client immediately retained us to acquire the remaining middle block off market.

As the two owners of that property had no motivation to sell their unencumbered home of more than twenty years, this was an even more challenging assignment.

Our first task in devising a buying strategy was to analyse the history of the earlier negotiations for any lessons learnt and errors to be avoided.

The second task was to carry out detailed due diligence into the remaining owners and the third task was to research and advise on possible exit strategies if that block were not able to be acquired within our client’s timeframe.

Based on the sensitivities exposed by the previously unsuccessful negotiations and although tempting to do otherwise, full disclosure of our client’s identity rather than anonymity was the adopted strategy in this case.

As a result of the rapport established by that gesture and of having Curtis Associates interposed as a patient intermediary, the difficulties of the past were avoided and contracts to purchase the property off market were exchanged a little over three months after our unsolicited knock on the door and for a price only 10% higher than our client had offered nine years earlier.

Being a property developer/investor for the past 10 years, I have not an issue with acquiring property; therefore initially I was hesitant in deciding to take a step back and allowing someone else to take charge of purchasing part of a development site, as I generally like to be involved in these aspects of the business. Chris’s calm and confident approach gave me the confidence to proceed. His professional manner with the seller and me helped secure the first purchase; all conversations between the selling party, conveyancers and Chris were disclosed to me in detail, in an open and very timely manner.

Once the first purchase had been completed, I had no hesitation in signing Curtis Associates up for a second request to purchase property. The acquisition of these two assets was important to the future business of our company, and I found that by allowing Curtis Associates to be involved, I was able to proceed with other work that our business had commenced, rather than having my complete attention taken for the purchase of these properties.

Chris was able to remove any concern I would have had during the purchase process with the sellers. His communication skill, time input and general knowledge were valuable and would be a great asset for anyone considering purchasing property.

I have no hesitation in recommending Curtis Associates as a buyer’s agent for any business or personal plan to acquire property.”

Applying the hindsight test™*

Too early to tell as feasibility studies are continuing.