Now operating with 15 staff and over 500 contractors, Erfanian Developments aims to cater to the needs of local first-time buyers, investors and downsizers looking for unique starter homes. The company began in 2002 as a family business and over the years has continued to reflect those initial values throughout the growth of the business. “We’re a very hands-on company, starting with just a father and son on the tools doing a lot of carpentry and hand work on the field,” says Managing Director and Builder Farnood Erfanian. “Our first project as a development outside carpentry was a two-unit development, and we then went onto three, then four, and so on, and started growing from there.”
Within their first couple of years of operation, Erfanian Developments saw the completion of three to 10 houses per year. Since then, their turnover has grown sufficiently with close to 450 townhouses and unit developments already planned for the next few years. They serve as the builder and the developer, and handle their own in-house project management, real estate sales, and safety procedures. “We offer a really good quality product, and [clients] will come in to the showroom to have a look at it – look at the quality, look at the brands, look at the service and the actual finishes. They can get a good feel of what’s going to happen, and they’re very comforted to know which builder is going to build it. Then, we try and work with their budget to give them the kind of project that fits. If they’re a first-time buyer, they might not have funds to buy their first apartment. We might do a fitout on the cheaper end, just to get them into the market, and cater for their needs that way” says Sales and Marketing Manager Sean Cantelo.
Clients also have the option to upgrade products and designs for their projects. Concentrating on the outer eastern suburbs, Erfanian Developments has a lot of repeat clients, but still manages to ensure that design options are consistently refreshed both aesthetically and structurally, to eliminate the conventionally uniform look associated with suburban living. Some of the newer architectural designs reflect inner-city structure, and have been implemented to maintain the aura of modern design. If needed, plans are modified so that cost does not compromise quality, and materials are also reviewed to ensure they meet necessary energy efficiency requirements.
“We’ve got on-the-tools experience from being carpenters and starting very small,” says Erfanian. “That kind of old school mentality’s always been there to make sure that the structural integrity of the building is always number one. A lot of the things we’re introducing are to increase our retail and commercial side, and mixed use types of developments. So, a lot of the buildings we are creating have more amenities and mixed used spaces located on the ground floor. We don’t have many of those types of buildings out this way – it’s very common in the inner city suburbs. What we are doing is very similar to what has been done in the inner city area, but it’s new out here, and people are adapting to it very well. We’re working on some very large acreage sites within some hard centres of local communities where there is more housing opportunity.”
The staff at Erfanian Developments “strive to deliver a quality product,” which includes consistently providing a personable and informative service to their clients. The grand scheme is to develop a reciprocal charity for the local community.
A lot of the company’s employees are also previous customers which has helped establish solid relationships within the workplace and with clients. “It’s very important to make sure that all of our subcontractors and staff have got a good relationship working together,” says Erfanian. “We’ve got a tight-knit group which are all very similar age, and it works very well; but with our suppliers, we’re very involved with them – as much as they contribute to us, we contribute back as well.”
While the effects may be felt in different magnitudes throughout the housing industry, Cantelo believes that Australia’s recent elections will result in wavering consumer confidence. The aftermath may alter the number of first-time buyers or investors, depending on the outcome; however, that remains to be seen. Meanwhile, issues with supply and demand are becoming more apparent in the current market. “We do have a low supply out here – that’s why the price is going up so much,” he says. “People are basically fighting to get the same product and because of that, it’s driving up a demand and pushing up the prices. That’s what happens everywhere, but here we see that particular angle. In our area, there’s not many apartment builders, so the competition’s low, the product is low, and the demand’s increasing. The population and the growth in these areas keep increasing, and that’s why we need to make sure we have enough supply and the right type of products to fit the budget; that’s very important.”
Despite these possible setbacks, Erfanian Developments has managed to be strategic in their project procedures, and will continue to do so as needed. “I don’t believe in bubbles; I feel like it just slows down, and Australia’s got enough tools up their sleeve to control that – whether we’re suffering, we can kick in certain aspects to get it back going and put in some more energy with first-time buyers, other bits and pieces that assist the housing industry, concessions to trades and certain things. But, at the moment, we’re at a happy level that we’ve not needed to pull out so many different tools, because the demand is actually pushing it up. If it stalls or slows down, then we start to pull certain other tools” says Cantelo.
In regards to the quality and design Erfanian states “We’re constantly changing our colour ranges, products, bathrooms, kitchens, fittings and fixtures to stay modern, and the externals come up a really nice, timeless design every time. Keeping the projects unique, that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to keep the turnover and the number of projects that we do per year to a specific level; that assists us in the quality control of the product, and making sure that we deliver what we’ve promised. So, that’s quite important for us coming after the new year. We’re also expanding into high end luxury residential builds, where the projects and locations are unique and are different to our usual developments. When you’re so passionate about something, anything can happen, and we’re very passionate.”