A career as a real estate developer is a powerful way to build wealth, achieve financial freedom, and control your destiny. You may be wondering how do I start real estate development as a career.
Anyone can start developing real estate and thankfully, you do not need a lot of money, excellent credit, or exclusive access to insider information to get started.
Many successful real estate developers started with little or no money and bad credit. You can do the same thing. All you need is to do a little bit of research and some planning.
Creating a roadmap with some goals and objectives can help guide you on your path to success as a real estate developer.
What is a Real Estate Developer?
Real estate developers do two things. Developers can buy land and build a structure on it. They can also purchase distressed real estate and renovate the property. A real estate developer is the project manager from beginning to end.
Upon completing the project, the developer can potentially profit from selling the property to someone like a real estate investor.
Real estate investors are in the business of purchasing and managing established properties to generate passive monthly rental income.
Developers and investors use the same methods to obtain financing to purchase real estate. The difference is in how they do their jobs and how they generate income.
The Best Books to Learn About Real Estate Development
A good starting place if you are a beginner is to find a good book about being a real estate developer. A good book about this career path can help you create a framework for success.
Here are a few real estate development books you should consider purchasing to help you become a successful real estate developer.
Building a home from the ground up is challenging and rewarding. Land development is the essence of being a residential real estate developer. In R. Dodge Woodson’s book, he provides you with a blueprint for profitable land development.
You will learn what to do at every stage of your project, including:
- Conventional and creative financing
- Handle zoning, environmental, and code enforcement issues
- Put together a professional team
- Get bids from contractors
Real estate developers do not work in isolation. A new project always involves neighbors and the whole community, whether it involves developing open land, demolishing a building, or renovating a property.
The community can sometimes be at odds with the developer, even when the developer is trying to improve how a community looks.
Peter Hendee Brown is an architect and urban planner who teaches private sector development at the University of Minnesota. In his book, he details how real estate developers are creative visionaries who imagine how improvements can lead to better outcomes for neighbors and communities.
Some of the information you will receive in this book include:
- Profiles of individual developers
- Understand the risks and rewards that motivate developers
- How development varies based on local culture, geography, and climate
- How developers connect with elected officials, community leaders, and concerned citizens
3. The Book on Flipping Houses: How to Buy, Rehab, and Resell Residential Properties by J Scott
Over the past several years, author J Scott and his wife Carol have bought, built, rehabbed, sold, and held over $60 million in properties around the country. In this book, J Scott gives you everything you need to know about succeeding in fixing and flipping residential properties.
This book is an easy-to-follow guide that is relevant for newbies and seasoned real estate pros. Some of the information in this book includes:
- Creative financing strategies
- Evaluating profitable deals
- Choosing the right properties
- Performing due diligence
4. Making it in Real Estate: Starting Out as a Developer by John McNellis
John McNellis is the co-founder of McNellis Partners, a firm that specializes in retail shopping center development. His book is an industry-standard and is taught at universities across the nation. It is required reading for anyone who wants to get into this field.
Making it in Real Estate has plenty of information that is vital to have if you are a newbie to this field. Some of the information you will get from this book include:
- Meeting and working with a mentor
- Learning how financing works
- Working with architects, brokers, and other real estate professions
- Getting your project approved
5. Real Estate Development – 5th Edition: Principles and Process by Mike E. Miles, Laurence M. Netherton, and Adrienne Schmitz
Get this book if you want a comprehensive explanation of every aspect of developing real estate. It is a widely used book by industry professionals and university professors.
The authors have extensive academic and business experience in developing real estate.
Developing real estate involves many steps. The authors go over every step in the process so that you will know what to expect.
Some of the information you will receive in this book include:
- The basics of conception
- Market analysis
- Contract negotiations
6. Professional Real Estate Development: The ULI Guide to the Business by Richard B. Peiser
Richard B. Peiser is a Harvard University professor in the Department of Urban Planning and Design. He also has experience in residential development, large-scale land development, and management. His book goes over the basics of residential and commercial property development.
Some of the information covered in this book includes:
- Finding the first deal
- Managing the development process
- Choosing consultants and contractors
- Financing and marketing
7. Prospecting with Purpose: How to Methodically Grow Your Real Estate Business by Shannon Ensor
Real estate developers and Realtors have some things in common. They both work in the real estate industry, and they are constantly looking for deals to grow their business.
Shannon Ensor is a Realtor who has insights into building a real estate business with relevant information for both developers and real estate agents.
These insights include:
- How to work smarter and create a professional image
- Effective prospecting tactics
- Managing your schedule and tracking your success
8. Raising Private Capital: Building Your Real Estate Empire Using Other People’s Money by Matt Faircloth
Matt Faircloth is the co-founder of a real estate investment company and has completed over $30 million in private capital transactions since 2004. In his book, he outlines strategies to acquire and secure private capital.
Some of the things you will learn include:
- Where to find private money partners
- How to structure debt and equity deals
- How to prepare yourself for raising private capital
- How to develop a proper exit strategy
9. The Birth of a Building: From Conception to Delivery by Ben Stevens
Ben Stevens has a degree in Real Estate and Urban Land Economics. He works as a project manager for a national real estate firm. In his book, Ben Stevens focuses on all aspects of a real estate project, from finance to construction.
He explains the motivations people have behind creating new buildings then walks through the different stages of a building project. This book serves as an introduction to many aspects of the real estate industry.
10. The Flipping Blueprint: The Complete Plan for Flipping Houses and Creating Your Real Estate Investing Business by Luke Weber
Luke Weber is a real estate professional with nearly 20 years of experience. He has completed thousands of transactions around the country. In The Flipping Blueprint, he details his strategies for successful house flipping.
This relatively short 178-page book has the information you need to start developing residential real estate as a career.
Some of the things you will learn in this book include:
- Where to find deals
- How to talk to private lenders
- Choosing the right contractors
- How to maximize your profits
11. Real Estate Development Matrix by Daniel B. Kohlhepp and Kimberly J. Kohlhepp
The authors of this book have decades of experience in the real estate industry, and they both have graduate degrees in this field. This book is for real estate professionals who need practical and non-technical information about developing real estate.
It is also appropriate for college-level real estate and business courses. Some of the information in this book includes:
- Land banking, packaging, and development
- Building development, operations, and renovations
- Acquisition and financing
- Approvals, permits, transportation, and accessibility
These are just some of the numerous books you will find to learn about real estate development. They provide information for beginners to seasoned professionals.
Find an appropriate book for your situation and learn everything you can about this profession to succeed on day one.
I would love to hear from you. Let me know what you think about the books on this list, and tell me about the books you have used that helped you build your real estate business.