Process & Methodology
Breyting’s process comes from decades of lessons, and our methods are deeply rooted in practicality. Our long-held real-estate strategy is to develop projects that generate 33 percent profits or greater, have a good return on equity, and surround these projects with talent, honest management, and competent partnerships. When considering a new real-estate project, Breyting® looks for niche markets where we can be both creative and profitable, and where the local municipality supports our efforts. The following outlines our process to implement a successful Breyting project.
Evaluation & Acquisition
Buying land is easy; creating a success story and not a financial and emotional drain on resources takes experience. We start by taking the time to evaluate a project and asking common sense questions that will guide our decision making, such as:
- Will permitting services be supportive of our endeavors?
- Will the community rally around the project?
- How will the new development add value for the customer and community?
- Are the proposed concepts, floor plans, and designs in touch with society’s ideas and needs?
- Are there suitable trade-offs between risk and reward?
What We Develop
Breyting® has a strong track record of turning troubled properties into community celebrated projects and is an active buyer of niche real-estate to develop, repurpose, or reposition. Our core ownership interests include smaller parcels of high-density land, industrial buildings, and residential urban infill that is well-located, architecturally appealing, visually attractive, and meet the criteria below.
Residential Urban Infill
- Wood frame bungalows with additional buildable lot or lots.
- Desirable residential vacant land: Single dwelling lot(s) in a downtown core that can accommodate a small footprint home of 1,800 sq. ft. (our H-house) or 1,300 sq. ft. (our Minna House).
- A parcel or track of land that is located close to an active downtown or a university that can accommodate 10 or more dwellings.
Commercial Urban Infill
- A freestanding building or warehouse that can be repositioned and has flexible high-density mixed-use zoning for retail and light manufacturing so that we can create small affordable commercial shop-n-shops condos with. Preferable building size, approximately 10,000 sq. ft.
- Building conversions for live/work, work/live, and live nearby.
The Markets We Are Active In:
In the path of progress (Florida)
Mature markets (Florida & Georgia)
- Orlando (Downtown and Surrounding Areas)
- Athens G.A.
Attracting the Right Team
Breyting brings together team members with integrity, energy, and intelligence that can add value to our projects and have the following characteristics:
- They have experience and are forward thinking
- They have a desire to solve a problem through design
- They bring value to the team
- They are in line with Breyting’s values
You can read “Breyting’s Professional Code of Conduct” and “How We Treat Each Other”. Once we have a team in place, they will oversee the following areas of design and planning:
- Architectural design
- Civil design
- Edible landscape design
- Kitchen & Bath design
- Green building material selection
- Technology design
- Sales & Marketing (photography, Logo, Website, Handouts, Press release, Social Media)
- Values- based agreements (attorney)
- Land use (attorney)
The end goal for each project is to complete the “Magic Book,” for the project. The magic book holds everything needed to implement the project. It contains:
- Civil plans
- Architectural plans
- Building materials and product choices
- kitchens and bathroom designs (cut sheets, dimensions, etc.)
- Contact information
- Notes as to why we made these choices
- Marketing materials to sale the project
- And more.
Whether it’s a partnership, creative work, or you have chosen to be on a project, Breyting has an ongoing evaluation of your work to make sure you are meeting the measurables and expectations for the project and the team. We discuss:
- What is going well?
- What needs improvement?
Solving Problems Through Design
We want to make a better product, and to do that; we have to be honest about our impact on people and the land and incorporate these truths into our design and development processes.
- Developers create debtDevelopers create debt for both the property owner and the city municipality that will need to be serviced for the life of the project. This debt comes in many forms, including ongoing maintenance (landscape, structure, mechanical), property taxes, insurance, and mortgages. Breyting looks at ways we can reduce debt in all its forms.
- Developers create lifestylesDevelopers either have a negative or positive impact on a community. Millions of people are unhappy living in boring homes that don’t reflect the way people really want to live. Breyting designs projects that tak into account the lifestyle the residents wish to have.
- Developers create price pointsHomeownership is out of reach for many Americans, and owning a home with no debt is almost unattainable. No matter if you live in low-income areas or downtowns, both of these segments are inaccessible by the average wage worker, and if you can qualify for a mortgage, how does one save for retirement and live life? With this in mind, Breyting is designing homes to be smaller, thus affordable, have an income-generating component, or designed for shared living that offsets the cost of homeownership
- Developers destroy habitatsDevelopers are responsible for the structures that sit on land that once inhabited animals, water, or other useful and much-needed resources. If we are going to reclaim land and repurpose it, we need to put as much thoughtfulness into our creation as possible and look for ways to conserve portions of the earth for the creatures that live with us.
Breyting is not just creating brick n mortar structures; we are inviting an entire culture to be a part of a shift in thinking. With each project, we look to incorporate best practices from around the world and new ideas, such as:
- Dedicated bedroom entrances to make shared living easier.
- Ways to offset debt service and provide income.
- Adding lifestyle nooks (outside workout areas, seating areas, and patios).
- Integrate animal pass throughs so we don’t completely disrupt natural trials.
- Smaller more functional spaces.
- Grow areas for food.
- Infuse permaculture, xeriscaping, and indigenous plants.
- Use smarter systems for air-conditioning, plumbing, technology, etc.
- Passthrough airflow.
- Water filtering and reclaim systems.
- Community agreements that support sustainable relationships.
- Safety measures for home invasions.
- Creating accessibility points for pipes, wires, and future improvements.
- Adding solar power, charging stations, or run the infrastructure so the owners can add it at a later point.
- Recycling and onsite composting.
- And more.
The Architecture Look
We start this stage of the process by identifying the best design elements from modern and traditional architecture and infuse them into a balanced look that fits in with local community design standards while appealing to homeowners looking for a contemporary home. Since most of Breyting’s projects are currently in Florida, the architecture design we use the most is “Modern Florida Cracker,” which is defined below.
Modern Florida Cracker Definition
Modern Florida cracker architecture is a style of vernacular architecture typified by a wood-frame house built with verandas or porches and having large door and window openings, taller ceilings, and metal roofs, with white or natural wood stain exteriors.
Selecting Building Materials
A house will make you sick or make you healthy depending on how it’s built and the lifestyle it encourages, which is why we spend a lot of time reviewing the building materials that our projects will be made from and weighing the cost vs. benefits. Our review of materials includes looking at how the raw materials are harvested, and the impact on the environment, and the possible harm these materials will have on the owners over the home’s lifetime. We aim to reduce off-gassing, support sustainable choices whenever it’s practical, and the homeowner is willing to help pay the financial difference. For these reasons, we work with proven traditional materials such as:
- And select eco-products
We insist on quality, which takes a clear understanding with our suppliers and construction partners of what quality means to them and Breyting. As part of this process, we clearly write the standards for each of the tradespeople, so there are no misunderstandings during the development stage. This includes specifications for material selection and expectations for installation and cleanup. As a benchmark, we use the quality guidelines set by leading industry associations to set our minimum quality standards, but our goal is to improve these standards. We also visit our vendors’ manufacturing plants to understand the products and how their quality control is managed and how their warranties will be handled for the homeowner.
Involving the Community
We realize our projects push the boundaries of what is considered normal and are sometimes met with resistance by people who don’t like change and want easy cookie-cutter developments. We look to bring these people on the journey and stay focused on presenting solutions that will benefit the community while working within the current confines of zoning, insurance, financing laws, ordinances, and local norms while helping create much needed change in these same areas. The journey starts by engaging the neighborhood where the project is located and asking the residents questions like:
The result is a project that has community support and includes the best ideas of the community.
Engaging our Customers
At this point in the progress, we pause to see if we are still designing a project that is in touch with our customers’ needs and desires. We do this by asking our customers to respond to a quick survey and have focus groups and use their feedback to guide our design.
What we have learned is our customers are defined more by their attitude and desire for workspaces and homes that fit their lifestyles than age or demographics. They have common sense and can see how small decisions affect them, others, animals, and the environment. They are active, believe in healthy lifestyles, and realize life is for feeling joy, not merely working to pay for a large home. They understand the value of clean water, areas to grow their food, and a home free of harmful chemicals and are willing to put a little more money down on the purchase to qualify for a mortgage because lenders and society have not yet assigned a value for healthy lifestyles.
Involving Attorneys (The good kind)
We engage with attorneys (peacemakers) to create values-based agreements that foster fair and ethical business dealings. Our agreements are not designed to be used in court to argue for damages. Instead, they are written to maintain our partnerships and further a relationship that endures change and withstands and transforms conflict.
We shape our agreements to integrate with a conventional legal system. In addition to working with an attorney who writes values-based agreements among stakeholders, we work with a real estate attorney who has experience litigating contracts to check case law and ensure we’re not getting into trouble with the larger system. It’s helpful to remember the conventional system tells us what we can’t do but doesn’t tell us what is possible. Our agreements have a conflict resolution process that promotes healing and creates a path for our partnerships to get back into alignment and win-win outcomes, even if that outcome is parting ways. And since we co-create our agreement with our partners and have agreed to what our responsibilities and expectations of each other are, when change comes or we must address disagreements, we will look for a conversation facilitator, not a court.
We ask important questions like:
- Who are we and what is the vision we want to create together?
- Why are we choosing to work together? What strengths do we see in each other?
- How are our values aligned and where do we need to be aware of and respect values that are different?
- How will we handle changes and disagreements?
- How does our partner want us to treat them if they fall short on delivering what we’ve agreed to?
- If we can’t fulfill the terms of the contract, how will we handle that?
- What are the risk areas for both parties and what do solutions to protect each party look like?
- If the partnership fails, how will we part ways?
Breyting uses values-based agreements here as well. Creating a community project needs a governing agreement such as an HOA as well as training for the residents to implement and manage their agreements. In a typical HOA, there are a lot of rules, rights, and responsibilities. There isn’t much guidance about how to get along in a community, what to do when the neighbor’s dog barks all night, or how to handle other typical issues which arise in community. Our project planning anticipates that human beings sometimes have conflict and need a system for how to address them, short of going to court and suing. We believe that having a predictable and simple structure in place will add to the enjoyment of living in the community and being a good neighbor.
At this point in the process, the design and permitting phase are complete, and the Magic book is entirely compiled and ready to be turned over to a partner to build. Breyting® chooses its partners carefully and looks for partners who will invest the time to translate our/their values into written agreements that foster a long and rewarding partnership. Breyting partners with investors, builders, and general contractors that have the following characteristics:
Experience & aptitude
Structuring the partnership
We start our partnerships by first making sure we both share the same values, goals, and expectations of each other. We then choose one of the following partnerships structures and then shape the agreement to reflect our partnership. In general, we use the following structures.
- Breyting purchases the land and funds the planning phase without a partner.
Working partner & Investor relationship
- Breyting brings in a funding partner to fund both the land acquisition and planning phase. Breyting provides labor and expertise in exchange for 50% equity. As part of this agreement, all the monies used are shown as a loan and paid back at closing, then the profits are split. In addition, Breyting handles the site selection, initial conceptual meetings (team members & city), the property purchase (closing) arranges for insurance, oversees the design phase, attends city meetings till the project is permitted, and generates the sales & marketing materials. Then the project is sold and the profits are split 50/50.
Single home construction
- For small homes Breyting funds the project and hires a licensed General Contractor to manage the building of the home at a fixed price per dwelling– all inclusive (no other fees or wages).
JV funding and construction partner
- For projects over 1 million Breyting subordinates the land and project entitlements at its current appraised value to a new business entity and our partner funds the construction to completion. Often this partner is a construction company. The profits are generally split 30% to Breyting 70% to our partner. All of the construction company’s fees and labor are included in the 70%.
Breyting does not treat risk lightly and has identified risk areas and planned for factors that reduce the risks to our projects.
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