A Beginner’s Guide to Real Estate Development


The real estate development industry currently has a valuation of $172.6 billion. There’s a lot of money to be made in this field, particularly in commercial real estate development.

If you’ve been thinking about pursuing a career in real estate development, this guide is for you. Read on to learn everything you need to know about this exciting industry.

What Is Real Estate Development?

Real estate development, also known as property development, is a unique business process that has the potential to be very lucrative. It involves a variety of activities related to buying, renovating, and improving properties to be rented out or sold.

Why Get Into Development Real Estate?

A career as a real estate developer is a great option for those who love working on multiple projects and seeing them through from start to finish. If you’re on the fence about a career as a real estate developer, consider the following benefits you can enjoy once you launch your career:

Earn a Competitive Salary

As we mentioned above, the real estate industry has a high valuation, and it’s likely going to continue growing in the future. As a real estate developer, you have an opportunity to earn a lot of money, especially if you invest in and develop the right kinds of properties (i.e., properties that people are inclined to buy, rent, etc.).

Work in a Fast-Paced Environment

Real estate development is a great career option for those who want to work in a fast-paced, constantly evolving environment.

When you work in real estate development (or any branch of the real estate industry), no two days are the same. You’re always doing something different and working on a different aspect of your project, so you’ll never have to worry about being bored.

Enjoy Flexible Scaling

You can scale your real estate development business as much or as little as you want.

Not everybody wants to or has to put in the amount of work required to become a real estate mogul. If you prefer, you can run a small real estate development company that provides a good salary for you and your team and still gives you plenty of work-life balance.

Build a Wide Professional Network

Careers in real estate development give you lots of chances to network with other professionals in your field and other, related fields. You’ll get to know real estate agents, brokers, accountants, lawyers, marketing professionals, and more.

If you enjoy meeting and working with new people, a job as a real estate developer will make it easy for you to expand your network.

How to Start a Real Estate Development Project

From real estate development financing to choosing the right kinds of properties to invest in, there’s a lot that goes into a career in real estate development. If you’re thinking about pursuing this type of work, here are some of the steps you’ll need to take:

Earn a Real Estate License

It’s not required to have a real estate license before you start working as a real estate developer. In fact, there’s no formal certification or training required at all.

That being said, some of the most successful real estate developers have an understanding of the real estate world that’s most easily earned by taking the courses necessary to become a realtor. Taking the time to earn this license before you get started can give you a competitive edge and help you feel more confident about your knowledge and skills before you get started.

Choose Your Niche

When you’re ready to tackle your first project, start by researching the specific area you want to develop and the type of project you want to work on.

Do you want to renovate and rent out apartments? Do you want to develop a building downtown and rent out office space inside of it?

Answering these questions (and others related to your niche) will help you to get a clear idea of what you want to accomplish. It’ll help you stay focused throughout the development process, too.

Build Your Team

The best real estate development companies aren’t run by one person working alone. They feature a whole team of professionals working together to help everything go smoothly.

It takes a lot of people to get a real estate development project up and running on time, including other, more experienced developers, realtors, lawyers, architects, contractors, and more.

Create a Project Timeline

Your next job is to create a project timeline.

Sit down with other developers, as well as the professionals who will handle the actual construction and design aspects of the job, and draft a timeline of when you’ll start the project and when it’ll be finished. Calculate a rough estimate of how much it will cost, too.

Find an Investor

Unless you have millions (or at least hundreds of thousands) of dollars in the bank, you’re going to need financing from an investor before you can get the ball rolling on your first real estate development project.

Start reaching out to and scheduling meetings with potential investors to talk about financing opportunities. You can also look into taking out a business loan from your local credit union or bank if you prefer.

As the experts at MB Partners Services will tell you, no matter who you reach out to talk about financing, keep in mind that they will likely want to see your project timeline, as well as information on your current financial status. Make sure you have all these documents ready to go.

Promote Your Project

Finally, start promoting your project. If you’re going to be renting out apartments or office space, it’s particularly important that you get people interested in what you have to offer early. This helps you to ensure you’ll see a return on your investment as soon as possible.

Become a Real Estate Developer Today

Now that you know more about real estate development, are ready to get started with your first project? Keep the tips listed above in mind and you’ll have a much easier time diving into this field.

If you need more information on working in real estate, check out the business and real estate sections of our website today. You’ll find lots of great resources there.