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10 Tips for Housing Development

We receive many inquiries regarding the process of developing affordable housing. The following steps are an excellent summary borrowed from a neighboring state.

Assess Housing Need:

State Housing Agencies offer guidelines, and current building data is available from local governments.

Confirm Political Will:

Support of local elected officials and citizens is essential. Consult elected officials, planning commissions, and local government staff.

Evaluate Site Options:

Consider existing zoning conditions, site surveys, soil tests, environmental restrictions, availability of transportation, and child care services.

Secure Land:

At a minimum, the local housing agency should secure an option on the selected parcel of land. Acquiring a site is a major determinant in securing construction and permanent financing. Take action to mitigate any hidden costs, such as environmental issues, soil conditions, or easements.

Set Design Standards:

Together with the local planning commission or organized neighborhood property owners, establish conceptual design guidelines including floor plans, exterior materials, landscaping, lighting, and parking standards. Affordable housing should compliment existing structures within the community.

Obtain Financial Commitments:

Complete proforma and cash flow analyses. Secure conditional private and public financing commitments.

Hire A Developer:

The designated housing organization can determine whether it needs a developer, owner’s representative, or a construction manager.

Assemble Project Team:

including architect, building owner, lender, planner, lawyer, and general contractor.

Complete Final Development Plan:

Finalize land use approvals, financial commitments, design guidelines, construction documents, and required permits and licenses.

Manage Construction and Occupancy:

The developer will be responsible for hiring subcontractors, supervising construction, and meeting all local occupancy standards. The developer should manage the property for at least one year after full occupancy.

"Ten Steps to Affordable Housing" was borrowed from the Winter 2001 issue of the CHFA Exchange. Published with permission of the Colorado Housing Finance Authority.

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