"Development requires the ability to envision new projects and the perseverance and aptitude to actually get them built"
The role of the developer is to orchestrate the entire development process from start to finish. Developers can be one individual outsourcing all the work to third parties, or a large firm which handles everything in house. Either way, the developer must have knowledge of nearly every process, phase and service involved, including site selection, market analysis, finance, construction, leasing, and sales - and it doesn't hurt to have legal and transactional skills to handle the contracts and liability concerns present in development projects. Development is a dynamic business field with a steep learning curve. The developer is often required to be the first one in with equity and the last to get paid, but if the process is managed correctly, the payouts will be well worth the time and effort it took to get the development done. In the current environment where owners are more conscious of the bottom line, it is crucial that a developer has knowledge and ability to execute on nearly all of the development process.
Information on this page provided courtesy of Cornell University Baker Program in Real Estate
LEED: Accredited Professional by Green Building Certification Institute
CDP: Certified Development, Design, and Construction Professional by ICSC
CAASH: Certified Active Adult Specialist in Housing by NAHB
CAPS: Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist by NAHB
HCCP: Housing Credit Certified Professional by NAHB
Vision and ability to execute on a project
Knowledge of entire development process from finance, acquisitions, investments, marketing, leasing, sales, site selection, construction, partnership agreements, legal, etc.
Strong management and delegation skills
Ability to form strong partnerships
Strong market knowledge and up to date on current trends
Ability to raise equity capital
Strong communication skills
Looking to the Future
The immediate future of development will be shaped largely by the impact of the effects of the financial crisis. New developments will have strict lending terms and many projects will not be able to find financing. As the economy recovers, developments will require solid market analysis and conservative estimates on revenues, and many developers will be forced to hold and manage projects because there is no capital for buyers. Long term, infrastructure needs and sustainability will have a larger impact on the development field. As the costs of energy rise and tenants and users become more eco-conscious, organizations such as the US Green Building Council and their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system will become more prevalent. Also, infrastructure, especially in the United States, will become a large area of opportunity as bridges, highways, and public utilities start to become functionally obsolete. State and local governments will look to privatize the development and operation of these projects due to the high costs and limited availability of public funding. The key to finding and capitalizing on opportunities in real estate development is to understand current economic and market conditions and the ability to adapt your product offering to meet the demands caused by these trends.