Posted over 4 years ago

So you want to be a developer?

This is my first blog post, so please give me grace. For those that don't know me, I am part of a family owned real estate development; and construction company. Each of us have our own areas of specialization. What I don't know, someone else does, etc.  I myself am licensed in real estate, and construction, with over 25 years experience. I don't actually physically work on the jobs, but I do go out on every job. I know construction and development. (along with real estate, marketing, etc.)


On Biggerpockets I often get questions from people wanting to be developers, or wanting to understand what it is that developers do. I'm going to try to answer those questions in this blog.


What is it that developers do?


The answer is simple. Have you ever looked at a parcel of land and imagined what you'd put there? What type of business would be good in the area, what style of building would look good there? Developers are the ones that know how to bring all the pieces together to get it from imagination to reality.


Of course, just because we can imagine it doesn't mean it's possible to do. We have to work within the limitations of local zoning for the parcel, etc. In addition, there are specific requirements for each use, such as parking, landscaping, etc.


How to decide which projects to do?


Above I said just because we can imagine it doesn't mean it's possible to do, at the same time, just because it's possible to do, doesn't mean it's financially viable. It's a balancing act. Once we know what the project will be, we begin to figure all the costs involved in its development, then balance that against the amount of rents the space can generate, and calculate the market value of the project upon completion to decide if it's financially feasible.


We know that business owners and tenants want professional looking space with great architectural design, yet they want to keep as much of their hard earned money as they possibly can. That means learning to get the maximum amount of bang for our investment buck.  In addition, investors want well located, marketable space, at a price that will produce a good return, and appreciate in value over the years. We, as developers need to earn a reasonable profit. All of these things have to be weighed and balanced against each other to determine whether or not a project can be successful.


Is that all there is to development?


Not even close. What you see with your eyes when a building is going up is actually moving into the final stages of developing a project. I will take you through the stages from when we first locate the parcel to the final build out, in later blogs. (Dealing with govt. entities, financing, construction, marketing, etc.)


I hope I've helped begin to answer your questions on development. Please post any questions or comments. Thank you for your time!







Comments (15)

  1. Tiny 1399699165 avatar elizablue

    I know this is dated, but thank you Karen. Just what I needed!

  2. Tiny 1399666228 avatar apirlrain

    wow thank you!! this is a great blog! thank you for putting time and effort in it 

  3. Tiny 1399591608 avatar kzaylor

    Congrats on the new role with BiggerPockets, Karen! I'm excited to keep up with the blog.

  4. Tiny 1412209793 avatar brighterdays

    Dell, thank you for your comments. I totally understand where you're coming from!

  5. Tiny 1399661322 avatar dell ohio

    Well done .... looking forward to the coming stages. I am doing residential fix and flip, multiple crews, right now, fastest way I know to get back on my feet after a crash a few years ago. I have build one small commercial space, 12,000 sq ft, four tenants. Bought and rehabbed another one, lost it in a fire. In a couple years I want to get back into some commercial. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

  6. Tiny 1412209793 avatar brighterdays

    Thank you Al! I'll be posting Part 2 tomorow.

  7. Tiny 1399586579 avatar alewilliamson

    Congrats Karen!

  8. Tiny 1433971329 avatar amackent

    Thank you Karen. I've been thinking about building some rental townhomes and know I'd have a lot of challenges. I've already subscribed to see what else comes of this. Looking forward to more :)

  9. Tiny 1399611211 avatar amandula

    Thanks for detailed post, please continue to elaborate more. Really great information.

  10. Tiny 1399659315 avatar rlow04

    Thanks for this Karen, this is exactly what I was looking for. I'm looking forward to more!

  11. Tiny 1412209793 avatar brighterdays

    Thank you Joshua! I've actually had 4 different BP members that I've talked to with an interest in development, all at different stages in their journey, so thought others may be interested too.

    1. Tiny 1491858518 avatar biggerpo

      Keep it coming! You're a natural.

  12. Tiny 1491858518 avatar biggerpo

    I'm with Brandon Turner on this one Karen M. -- great first post.

  13. Tiny 1448398348 avatar brandonatbp

    Great first blog, Karen! I think you are a natural blogger :)

    1. Tiny 1412209793 avatar brighterdays

      Thanks Brandon! I thought starting with the basics would be a good starting point.