Do these five things first before paying anyone to do a feasibility study.

1. Land use code or zoning research. There is nothing fancy here; simply flip through the zoning maps and code to understand basic restrictions like height limit, bulk, setbacks, parking requirements, etc. Most municipalities have that data online. If the site is zoned industrial, you may not be able to build apartments or the other way around. Sometimes just because there is an apartment building next door, does not mean you can develop one because the zoning changed or your property is zoned differently than theirs.

2. Title report review. Read through the property’s title report to uncover any potential legal issues or restrictions that could impact your project’s feasibility or future development plans. If you don’t have one, call a friendly realtor or title agent – they can help you pull one up for free.

3. Get bids to do a survey. Obtain quotes from surveyors to accurately map out the property boundaries, existing structures, and topographical features. If there are a lot of trees, have them mark the significant trees. This data is crucial for planning and design purposes. Don’t commission one yet, just find out how much it costs and when it can get done.

4. Ask a Geotech about known issues in the area. Consult with a geotechnical engineer to assess any geological or environmental challenges in the area, such as soil stability, groundwater levels, or seismic risks. Gathering bids helps estimate what it would cost to do the study. Ask if they will do their own drilling or if you need to coordinate with an excavation contractor to dig a test pit.

5. “Back of the napkin” proforma: Create a preliminary financial projection to estimate potential costs, revenues, and returns on investment. While it may not be comprehensive, a simple proforma provides a rough idea of the project’s financial viability before investing in a full feasibility study.