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How to Become a Property Developer: The Complete Guide

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According to Indeed, a property developer in the United States earns an average annual salary of $81,388.

Becoming a property developer can be a rewarding career and one that has many options when it comes to career paths. For example, you could become a real estate property developer or you could start your own business.

In this guide, we’ll show you everything you need to know about property development. Learn about what a property developer is, what they do, and how to become a property developer.

What Is a Property Developer?

A property developer is someone who buys a property, or piece of land, and develops, builds, or renovates it. The end goal of this process is to either sell it for profit or rent it out to tenants.

Those who buy existing properties often do so cheaply. This means that they save money on the initial purchase and then renovate the property to increase the value of the home. Renovating and conducting vital repairs are all part of the job description.

Those who buy land often do so cheaply too and then build new properties, whether it’s residential or commercial properties. This process often takes longer than buying existing homes because you’ll need to get planning permission.

What Do Property Developers Do?

Being a property developer is a varied and rewarding role, however, it is also very demanding and requires you to be an excellent multitasker. Your exact tasks will depend on whether you’re self-employed or are employed as a property developer through a real estate company.

General property developer duties may include:

  • Researching potential properties and land opportunities to develop
  • Visiting the plots of land and properties
  • Meeting and discussing property plans with contractors and investors
  • Working out the cost of each property development
  • Scheduling and managing projects.

As a property developer, you might also have to troubleshoot project complications. For example, contractors not turning up or not completing the job properly. Once the renovation is complete, you’ll also need to check that the property meets all requirements and regulations.

How to Become a Property Developer

The two most popular routes for this career is employment within the real estate industry or self-employment. Property developers within the real estate need certain qualifications and experience. Those who choose the self-employed route need property development knowledge and financing to cover the costs.

How to Be a Property Developer: Real Estate Industry

Most people go to college and study either business, management, or civil engineering at a Bachelor’s level.

A degree in business or management can help you develop the necessary skills for a career in property development. For example:

  • critical thinking skills
  • analytical skills
  • logical reasoning skills
  • and it will also teach you about management techniques.

While a degree in civil engineering can help you understand how to build and teach you about management too.

After gaining a degree, many people then go onto experience the real estate industry. Entry-level roles are often looking for graduates, so it can be the perfect opportunity to learn more about the property industry. Alternatively, you might choose an entry-level role in planning or consulting.


Once you’ve gained experience, you can then go onto focus your study on real estate development. Some people choose to do a master’s degree. While others stay in their entry-level roles and gain qualifications through the company.

Whichever you choose, make sure that you’re gaining relevant knowledge about the industry. For example, it may be helpful to learn more about:

  • the design and planning process
  • how to use land most effectively
  • and environmental regulations.

A master’s program or other property development courses can also teach you about marketing, economics, negotiation, urban history, and how to structure deals in different property settings. Upon gaining experience and relevant qualifications, you’ll be able to embark on a career in property development.

How to Be a Self-Employed Property Developer

Starting your own property development business is another way to break into the industry. Many people often start out by getting a cheap property that doesn’t require too many renovations and then do it up. This helps to see whether you enjoy the process of property development.

But if you do want to embark on a self-employed career in property development, then you’ll need to create a business plan and maybe take a course about developing properties.

As you’re self-employed, everything falls on your shoulders, which means the first thing you need to do is thoroughly research the local market. Find houses that are within your budget and that you’re able to renovate. It’s also very useful to look into the costs of the renovation and how much houses in that area generally sell or rent for.

The second thing you need to do is secure finance for the project. Most people go to the bank, discuss their development plans with property development experts, and secure a loan. Your bank loan might not cover all expenses though, so it’s always a good idea to have a pot of savings or another place where you can loan money.

Then you need to get to work on your first property. Before or during the renovation, it’s a good idea to think about whether you plan to sell or rent the property. If the first property goes to plan then you can start building up a portfolio of properties and taking on more challenging renovations.

However, property development, especially if you’re self-employed, can be a stressful career and there are several important steps that you need to follow in order to be a successful developer.

Find Your Passion in Properties

Property development is a rewarding career, with excellent salary expectations, which is why so many people choose to develop properties. If you’re passionate about properties and want a varied role that brings new challenges every day, then you should follow our guide on how to become a property developer.

To become a property developer you need an in-depth knowledge of the industry and how to renovate houses. That’s why you should check out some of our other articles about building, renovating, and managing properties.

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