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Crafting Success: Insights into Running a Proforma for Small-Scale Multifamily Building Development

As residential designers dedicated to turning development dreams into reality, we recognize the crucial role financial planning plays in small-scale multifamily building projects. From construction costs to revenue projections, every detail is essential. Crafting a proforma ensures both design excellence and the project's financial success."

Here are some considerations that should be addressed for each project:

Construction Costs: Building the Foundation for Success

Embarking on a multifamily development journey requires a meticulous examination of construction costs.  We encourage early partnerships with an experienced builder to get a thorough understanding of real time costs, including both soft costs and hard costs.  Don’t forget to account for pre-construction costs including design, permits, site preparation, and consultants. 

To help this process, our plans are developed in collaboration with experienced builder partners to help ensure construction budgets are aligned with proformas.  Our builder partners also provide feedback to optimize our plans including cost efficiencies and constructability.  Our team can help direct you to industry experts as required, ensuring your project is set up for financial success.  Contact us for these referrals in the Calgary and Greater Vancouver regions.

Market Analysis: Shaping Designs with Real-World Insights

Our designs are not created in a vacuum; they are deeply influenced by the context and demands of the market. Conducting a comprehensive market analysis is crucial in understanding the dynamics of the local real estate scene. Factors such as rental rates, vacancy rates, and market trends inform our design decisions. By aligning our designs with market demands, we contribute to the economic success of the project, ensuring it meets the needs of both residents and investors.

Financing Terms: Navigating the Financial Landscape

Design brilliance requires financial backing. As you plan your multifamily project, carefully evaluate financing options, as they are typically very different than a traditional mortgage.   Consider cash flow, especially at the onset of the project where costs for items like design, permits, and consultants may not be covered by a construction loan or mortgage.  A popular option has been the CMHC MLI Select program for certain projects.  (*Link to this website).  Partnering with financial experts can provide insights into optimizing the financing structure for the project's overall success.  We help our clients find these finance partners to ensure project success.

Operating Expenses: Sustaining Success Beyond Construction

If your strategy is to develop and hold the housing units for rentals, there should be a consideration of operating expenses. Our designs are optimized to ensure our building designs are efficient from an operating cost standpoint including energy efficiency, long term maintenance, and durability.  In addition, consider property management fees, maintenance costs, insurance, property taxes, utilities, and reserves for future enhancements.

Revenue Projections: Bridging Design and Financial Realities

Revenue projections are a key part of the proforma.  The goal is typically to maximize revenue for a development project, whether the development’s exit strategy is sell or rent.  Bliss partners with both realty professionals and property management experts to provide an analysis of market needs including square footages, room counts, and market demands.  Our design team uses this information to shape the design to meet current market trends and needs.  This helps our clients create more accurate projections of market rates, occupancy rates, lease terms, and potential income sources. By incorporating these insights into the proforma, our designs not only captivate aesthetically but also contribute to the project's overall profitability.

In conclusion, the success of a small-scale multifamily building development lies at the intersection of design innovation and financial acumen. As building designers, our role extends beyond aesthetics.  It encompasses a deep understanding of the financial landscape, ensuring that our designs contribute not only to the visual appeal of a project but also to its economic sustainability. By addressing construction costs, conducting market analyses, optimizing financing terms, considering operating expenses, and refining revenue projections, we create a holistic approach to building design that fosters success from concept to completion.

Want to see how we can help your development?  Email us at


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