When buying a car, the brand is often a good indication of what you can expect: is it reliable, expensive to maintain, luxurious, economical to run, or robust enough to explore the great outdoors?

The same applies for apartments – the developer behind a project says a lot about what buyers can expect from the end product. A developer’s track record matters; it tells prospective purchasers whether the company they’re considering purchasing from is trustworthy, has a strong history of delivering and will stand behind what they build.

What does a developer stand for?

Developers often have hallmarks – elements that are important to them, which they incorporate into all their projects. Over time, these features or attributes become a signpost for what people can expect when purchasing one of their apartments.

These hallmarks may include a focus on:

• Sustainability, and accreditation from programs such as the Green Star sustainability rating system
• Contributing to and connecting local communities by providing additional amenity and/or access to local features, such as walkways to parks and beaches
• Elements to improve the health and wellbeing of residents
• Reducing a building’s whole-of-life costs
• Incorporating the latest available technologies
• Connections to nature and the outdoors
• Design that fits with the locale and contour of the land
• Creation of communities within developments via well-designed communal spaces.

Erben is one such developer with a number of Principles that guide all decision-making in the running of the business as well in the developments they build. Erben means legacy and inheritance and we are committed to creating places for people to belong, and leaving a legacy of high-quality developments that continue to meet the lifestyle needs of those living in them.
We develop projects that bring people and communities together, creating lasting value through high-quality inclusions, amenities and sustainable design. We provide homes and places for people to come home to and belong, by bringing together beautiful and sustainable design.

Why is this important?

In an off-the-plan purchasing scenario, buyers cannot experience the product first-hand, so a good understanding of the developer and their background: knowledge of the developer’s brand and principles can assist the purchaser in deciding what’s important to them, whether it resonates with them, and what is important to them when considering apartments.
A developer’s website is a good starting point to find out what is important to them. Buyers should conduct research into individual developments, look for commonality between them in terms of what has been included to deliver a lifestyle proposition, as well as a quality product. Many developers are increasingly conscious of the environmental footprint their buildings leave behind, as well as the legacy of their design. This is usually stated on the developer’s website and is evident in the design of their buildings.

What is their track record?

Reputation is built over time, and a developer’s track record is therefore an important indicator of their reliability, accountability and quality. It’s not only the quality of the build that reflects a good developer, but also their reliability in terms of delivery and financial soundness.

A track record is particularly important in an active market, where it’s not uncommon for ‘first time developers’ to undertake apartment projects, often resulting in issues that arise from inexperience.

It is worth investigating the length of time they have been in the industry, the number of projects a developer has undertaken, and the scale of their projects – this builds a track record and demonstrates whether they are financially robust, having weathered downturns in the market over time.

Erben Managing Director Luke Reinecke encourages prospective buyers to research previous projects as part of their decision-making process. “At Erben, we encourage people to undertake their due diligence and get to know the developer better. If you are confident in your business and proud of the quality you are presenting to market, you shouldn’t have a problem with people researching your business and your past projects.”

The team matters – who does the developer work with?

The team that a developer brings together to design and build their apartments says a lot about them: are these partners also highly reputed in their field? What is their track record in building apartments? Is there a relationship history between the developer and the team?

When a partnership works well it flows through to the end result, as noted by a resident at Erben’s Treehouse Jolimont project: “I really like the partnership between Stirling Capital (now Erben) and MJA Studio (the architects). They have a good partnership and build good apartments together. They know each other well and work really well together. That shows in the end result”.

What responsibility does the developer take for their work?

How a developer responds to questions raised by residents once they have purchased and then moved into their completed apartment is crucial.

The Treehouse Jolimont resident above also noted, “I respect that Stirling Capital (now Erben) takes responsibility for their work. They will listen if you have any concerns and are happy to address these if they can. They could just walk away and say, ‘well that’s what you signed up for’, but they don’t do that. I think it helps that they are local and have a vested interest in getting things right as Perth is a small place.”

The reputation of a developer acts as a vital signpost as to whether they are trustworthy, robust, capable and stand behind their projects. When it comes to purchasing an apartment off-the-plan, the developer’s track record of delivery is essential.

“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do”
Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company