The best Career path for Success as a real estate developer

3 Replies

Hi, 

I want to be a real estate developer, and I want to know what the best path for me to take is considering my current position. The type of real estate development that I want to do in the future is Spec homes and apartments.  I am currently a Construction management student at Chico State, and as a Construction management student there are usually two paths that you go, Project Manager or Project Estimator. I am very good with numbers and I think being a Project Estimator would interest me more, but what position would prepare me the best for being Developer? Also is their another career path that I should consider besides being a PM or PE? 

Thank you!

Having a background in construction will serve you well going forward in your path to development.  I would think that the PM track would provide a foundation in development.  

Aside from understanding how to build the buildings and how much they cost, you'll need to know how to understand how to analyze deals at a higher level to see if they make sense - what are the rents/sales you expect to achieve, what are your financing costs, what's the timeline....

I would strongly suggest taking real estate and/or corporate finance classes as well - preferably as a minor if you're able to.  

I have a similar background - my undergrad is in civil engineering.  Over time, I've transitioned more into the real estate finance side of things, but having a solid background in construction is in valuable.   If you want to fast track your career - work directly for a developer when you graduate, not for a CM.

Construction management is good.  Civil Engineering might be better.  See if you can work for an earthwork type company or an civil engineering or surveying type company.  An interest in local government and real estate would help.

The developments of empty land into subdivisions that I've worked on have involved those area the most.  

The technical knowledge of how to move earth, install sewers, etc., mesh with the laws and regulations related to what type of street to install for a local government to accept it and maintain it along with the business decision to perhaps have an HOA maintain it instead. That's just one example of how the technical aspects mesh with government aspects.

Even marketing, being able to sell lots, is useful as is being able to get along with others and assess their abilities and motivate them to be part of your team either as employees, vendors, financial supporters, etc., all come into play.  Being able to persuade neighbors that  your development is good for them is another skill.

All in all, working for a developer in any capacity is probably the best way to start.

work for a developer..  One of my clients from Honolulu moved up the ranks with Panko.. ended up building his first high rise in Honolulu and just went ballistic from there.. big time..

there are many niches of development.. but in the SFR or MF space most of the guys i deal with are deal makers and understand real estate contracts entitlements and then how to finance it all. I am small time

number 24 largest builder in Portland Or.. ( which sounds better than it is LOL) but did it by working my way up as a real estate agent working for developers on the sales side I made great commissions and learned the business from all aspects.. Know enough to do deals but have no specific tech knowledge I can read plans enough to understand grade etc.. and if a site balances etc.. but i am real good with govmit and EIRS and other things like wet lands etc..