Career Development

What Does a Real Estate Developer Do?

Find out what a real estate developer does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a real estate developer.

Real estate developers are responsible for the creation of new real estate projects. They buy land, build structures, and sell them to buyers or tenants. Real estate development is a complex process that requires extensive knowledge of construction techniques, zoning laws, financing options, and more.

Real estate developers may work on their own or as part of a larger team. In either case, they’re expected to have an eye for detail and a strong understanding of how to make a project profitable.

Real Estate Developer Job Duties

A real estate developer typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Managing the construction process to ensure that projects meet deadlines and budgets
  • Negotiating contracts with vendors, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers to obtain the best possible price
  • Performing market research to identify areas where new developments can be profitably built or existing developments can be improved
  • Conducting feasibility studies to determine if a project is financially viable and identifying potential problems in the design or engineering phase of construction
  • Hiring architects, engineers, contractors, and other professionals to design and build residential and commercial buildings
  • Working with banks to obtain financing for a development project, including obtaining appraisals for property purchases
  • Identifying available land for development and negotiating purchases with owners of property
  • Negotiating leases with tenants to rent space in buildings being developed
  • Coordinating with architects and engineers during construction to ensure that designs meet local codes and regulations

Real Estate Developer Salary & Outlook

Real estate developers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and type of development project they are working on.

  • Median Annual Salary: $85,000 ($40.87/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $142,000 ($68.27/hour)

The employment of real estate developers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Demand for housing will continue to drive demand for real estate developers, as these workers plan and oversee the construction of new residential and commercial properties. However, the decline in the cost of computing power and geographic information systems (GIS) software has allowed real estate developers to more easily analyze large amounts of data and make informed decisions about projects.

Related: Real Estate Developer Interview Questions and Answers

Real Estate Developer Job Requirements

A real estate developer typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Real estate developers are typically required to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Some of the most common majors for real estate developers are business administration, finance and construction management.

Training & Experience: Real estate developers typically receive on-the-job training in the form of an apprenticeship or internship. During these periods, they learn the skills and knowledge necessary to perform their job duties. Real estate developers may also receive additional training in the form of seminars or conferences.

Certifications & Licenses: While certifications are not always required, they can be useful for real estate developers in certain circumstances. Whether certifications are necessary will depend on the location and type of development a real estate developer is involved in.

Real Estate Developer Skills

Real estate developers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Project management: Real estate developers oversee the entire process of developing a property, from the initial planning stages to the final stages of construction. Project management skills can help you oversee the many tasks involved in real estate development, including managing budgets, scheduling and delegating tasks to other professionals and overseeing the entire project from start to finish.

Marketing and sales: Real estate developers often have strong marketing and sales skills because they often work with clients and customers directly. They may need to convince clients to invest in a project and may need to persuade clients to choose their project over others. They may also need to convince clients to hire them as a developer.

Financing: Financing is the process by which real estate developers raise money to fund their projects. This process requires knowledge of financial institutions, how to apply for loans and how to structure a contract. Real estate developers may also need to know how to apply for government grants and other forms of financial aid.

Construction: Real estate developers work with contractors to build new properties. Having knowledge of construction processes and procedures can help you work with contractors to ensure the project is completed on time and within budget.

Negotiation: Negotiation is the process by which two parties come to an agreement. Real estate developers often negotiate with clients, suppliers and contractors to ensure they meet their needs and agree to the terms of a contract. This is an important skill for real estate developers because it can help them complete projects and generate revenue.

Real Estate Developer Work Environment

Real estate developers typically work long hours, including evenings and weekends. They often work on more than one project at a time and must be able to juggle many tasks simultaneously. The work can be stressful and demanding, but also exciting and fast-paced. Real estate developers must be able to think creatively to solve problems and find new ways to make money in the ever-changing real estate market. They must also be able to deal with rejection and failure, as not every project will be a success.

Real Estate Developer Trends

Here are three trends influencing how real estate developers work. Real estate developers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Rise of the Digital Real Estate Agent

The rise of the digital real estate agent is a trend that is quickly gaining popularity among home buyers and sellers. This is due to the fact that it allows them to search for homes online without having to deal with the hassle of meeting with agents in person.

Real estate developers can take advantage of this trend by creating websites and apps that make it easier for potential buyers to find their properties. They can also focus on developing strong social media presence, which has become an important tool for marketing their projects.

More Collaboration Between Developers and Architects

The trend of more collaboration between developers and architects is becoming increasingly popular as both parties realize the benefits of working together.

This trend is especially evident in the residential development industry, where developers and architects are now working together to create unique and innovative designs that set each project apart from the rest. In order to stay competitive, real estate developers will need to collaborate with architects to create buildings that are not only functional but also beautiful.

A Greater Focus on Sustainability

As the world becomes more environmentally conscious, developers are beginning to focus on sustainability as a key component of their business model.

By incorporating sustainable practices into their projects, developers can reduce their impact on the environment while also saving money on energy costs. Additionally, they can attract customers who are looking for homes that are built with environmental responsibility in mind.

How to Become a Real Estate Developer

A real estate developer career can be a great way to make money and have a positive impact on the world. As a real estate developer, you’ll be responsible for planning, designing, and building new homes, businesses, and communities. This is a very rewarding but challenging career path that requires hard work and dedication.

To become a real estate developer, you’ll need to have a strong background in math and science, as well as an understanding of architecture and construction. You’ll also need to be able to manage large teams of people and handle complex projects.

Advancement Prospects

Real estate developers typically start out as assistant developers or project managers. With experience, they move up to positions such as development manager, vice president of development, or president of the company.

The most successful developers are usually those who have the ability to see the “big picture.” They not only identify potential sites and assess their development potential, but they also are able to put together the financing, construction, and marketing plans necessary to make the project a reality. Good developers also have the ability to work well with other people and to motivate those who work for them.

The best opportunities for advancement will be found at larger development firms, where there are more levels of management. Developers who own their own firms may have a harder time moving up, since they are already at the top of the organization.

Real Estate Developer Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we’re looking for an experienced real estate developer to join our team and help us achieve our goal of becoming the premier real estate development firm in the area. The ideal candidate will have a proven track record in the development of residential, commercial, and/or mixed-use properties. He or she will be responsible for all aspects of the development process, from site selection and due diligence to construction and project management. The successful candidate will be a creative thinker with strong problem-solving skills and the ability to work well under pressure.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Develop an intimate understanding of the real estate market, including trends, opportunities, and challenges
  • Research potential development sites and analyze their suitability for the project
  • Conduct due diligence on all aspects of the development process, including zoning, environmental impact, traffic patterns, and construction feasibility
  • Create pro forma financial models to assess the viability of the project and its potential return on investment
  • Negotiate purchase contracts with sellers and leases with tenants
  • Oversee the design and construction process, ensuring that the project is completed on time and within budget
  • Manage the project team, which may include architects, engineers, contractors, and other professionals
  • Obtain financing for the project from private investors, banks, or other sources
  • Lease or sell the completed development to tenants or buyers
  • Manage the property after completion, including marketing, leasing, and maintenance
  • Stay abreast of changes in the real estate market and revise plans accordingly
  • Continuously look for new development opportunities

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in real estate, business, finance, or related field
  • 7-10 years experience in real estate development, project management, or investment
  • Proven track record of successful real estate development projects
  • Strong understanding of real estate market analysis, feasibility studies, and pro forma modeling
  • Ability to lead and manage a team of professionals
  • Excellent communication, negotiation, and presentation skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in real estate, business, or related field
  • 10+ years experience in real estate development, project management, or investment
  • CEcD designation from the Economic Development Association
  • Experience with public-private partnerships
  • Familiarity with government zoning and land use regulations


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