How to Become a Real Estate Developer: A Few Essential Tips

How to Become a Real Estate Developer: A Few Essential Tips

by

If you’re an experienced real estate professional, you may be considering making a career change to become a developer. Real estate development is a rewarding profession that allows you to create investment opportunities. While developers take many risks to create their dream properties, financial and professional rewards are great.

Table of Contents - How to Become a Real Estate Developer: A Few Essential Tips

There are many different paths to becoming a real estate developer. Here’s what you need to know to get started as a real estate developer.

Education, experience and skills

Real estate developers come from diverse educational and professional backgrounds. Real estate developers commonly have experience in one or more of the following:

  • Real estate
  • Construction
  • Architecture
  • Finance
  • Law
  • Urban planning

If you have a bachelor’s degree in real estate, business, finance or a related field, you’ll have a solid background for understanding many of the principles of real estate development. However, a college degree is not required.

The first thing you should do if you’re considering becoming a real estate developer is getting your real estate license. This will be a basic requirement for acquiring property and executing projects. It will also teach you about how the real estate process works in your province.

Duties and responsibilities

Real estate developers are skilled at managing many moving parts at once. They overcome new challenges daily so that work is always exciting. Some of the things that real estate developers do as part of their regular work include:

  • Identifying land for future projects
  • Renovating existing properties
  • Managing details for construction projects
  • Negotiating real estate deals
  • Securing funding for projects
  • Obtaining necessary permits and permissions
  • Attending and managing public hearings during the approval process
  • Overseeing development projects
  • Visiting land and properties to evaluate progress

Successful real estate developers have excellent organization skills to keep projects moving from start to finish. Time management and scheduling are also important skills. Developers are entrepreneurial and eager to create new partnerships and new opportunities. Their business mindset helps with managing finances and improving profits.

Real estate development requires input and work from many different agencies and partners, so developers must be able to work well with others. They meet with investors, contractors, clients and government officials to keep everyone updated on the project. They can troubleshoot problems that arise throughout the process.

Real estate development requires good marketing skills. Developers talk to media outlets about why development is good for the community. They create buy-in from neighbours and community members to support the project. They also promote their own business to identify leads for future projects.

Career opportunities

There are many different types of positions within real estate, allowing developers to focus on their best skills. Development firms build teams that cover a wide variety of skill-sets. Sample job titles you’ll see in a real estate firm include:

  • Real estate sales associate
  • Architect
  • Developer analyst
  • Project manager
  • Real estate broker
  • Senior consultant
  • Chief risk officer
  • Director of strategic accounts

Real estate development includes a wide variety of skills and career opportunities. Individuals interested in real estate development have many paths to pursue that fit their skill-set.

Profit potential

Getting started in real estate development requires a sizeable amount of capital. Fortunately, you don’t need to fund a project entirely on your own. Developers usually finance projects with a bank loan or with funding from an investor. Real estate development is a business and requires a business plan to prove to investors and lenders that the plan will be successful.

Real estate development is a high risk, high reward field. The income potential on a project depends on the size, scope and client. Residential and commercial projects pay differently. The area where the development is located also impacts how much developers will earn. Developers have the potential to make millions but risk a lot of money if their projects aren’t successful.

Getting started in real estate development

The best way to learn how to be a real estate developer is to roll up your sleeves and get started with a project. Working with experienced developers or having a mentor to guide you through the process will improve your chances of success.

The first step is to dream up your ideal project. What kind of project do you want to build? Is it commercial or residential? Are you renovating an existing building or starting from scratch? Where will it be located? You’ll need to sketch what you’re interested in developing to help you find the perfect location.

Real estate developers never work alone. You’ll need to build a strong team to help you achieve your vision. Assemble a list of trusted professionals who will help you throughout the process, including contractors, realtors, lawyers, bookkeepers and city liaisons.

Real estate development projects often struggle to stay on time. Building a timeline with plenty of flexibility will help you pitch your plan to investors and schedule the work that you need to be completed.

Unless you have thousands of dollars of cash on hand, chances are you’ll need financing. Put together a formal business plan that you can use to present to investors and banks. Set meetings with investors to pitch your plan. Find real estate lenders who typically fund projects like yours. Again, having a mentor who can walk you through the process will help you connect with funders.

If you decide to obtain a bank loan, you’ll need to make sure your company and likely your finances are in good shape.  The lender will want to know about any outstanding debts to ensure you are a trustworthy borrower.

You’ll need to use your marketing and entrepreneurial skills to make your development a success. Build excitement about your project throughout the process. Getting the community excited about your development will help your project succeed. It will also help you build your reputation as a real estate developer, making it easier to start your next real estate project.

Real estate development is a challenging but highly rewarding career. If you’re interested in becoming a real estate developer, connect with successful developers in your area to learn more about building a career in this field.

How To Become a Real Estate Developer


Interested in Rental Property Financing? If so, contact us and we will show you how you can buy unlimited rental properties with great rates.

Contact Us

Scott Dillingham

Scott Dillingham

I have been investing and lending to real estate investors for nearly 10 years now. After thousands of successful deals between flips, rent to owns, student properties and commercial assets I have developed a deep knowledge of real estate investments and have a passion of sharing this information with the world! If your looking for a lender who specializes in rental property financing you're going to want to connect with me at team@lendcity.ca.