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The Artist as Developer
The chief benefits of ownership are fourfold:
- You have more control over your future (you need not move when prices go up) and you may become endowed by increases in your studio value.
- You have more control over your layout and facilities.
- You can use "sweat equity" to increase your value for money.
- You have more control over the community in your building.
If you are committed to a particular region for an extended period of time, it makes sense to consider owning your own studio.
One popular way to achieve ownership, to control costs, and to design your own space, is to be the developer of your own building.
But do I want to be a developer?
One of a developer’s main skills is working ahead of all known facts. To some extent this corresponds with the main task of a creative artist. Success comes from hard work and also from risk taking. Professionals in both fields control that risk and use their time and resources wisely.
The differences are important as well. Artistic failures can be stored in closets, on CD’s, in the garage, or on dusty shelves. Failures for developers can mean bankruptcies, foreclosures, lawsuits, and loss of personal savings.
Artists can view the real estate development process to be very much like the process of creating a work of art; many issues and questions are unresolved at the beginning and get worked out during the process. It is a process of risk taking with uncertainty about the results.
While buying and developing a building is clearly a complex process, it can be achieved. Other artists have developed their own studio and live/work spaces. Their experiences are worth looking at carefully.