Many people have the dream of being a property developer. Some like the idea of renovating wrecks and selling them on for a profit while others dream of entering early retirement with a nice little portfolio providing a solid rental income for limited effort. Or perhaps they see themselves working for a large construction company, working on finding sites for luxury homes and affordable flats.
Whatever facet of property development excites and interests you there are a few core skills that everyone will find useful:
- Imagination and visualization
- Know your way around CAD Drawings
- Selling and negotiating
- Commercial nous
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills
Imagination and visualization
A good property developer can see the potential in any situation. They can look at a derelict shell and see luxury flats. They can look at a field of cows and see a new housing estate.
Not only do they need to be able to see the potential on offer they need the imagination to be able to bring their project to fruition.
Know your way around CAD Drawings
It’s unlikely you’ll get far in property development without needing to read some CAD drawings. Computer Aided Design (CAD) is a great tool that allows structural engineers and architects to communicate their ideas to the builders and craftsmen who will actually work on the property. Modern systems can create 2D and 3D drawings as well as render eerily realistic mock-ups of the final design. But being able to mentally take a flat drawing and understand how it relates to the stage of building the project has reached is an acquirable skill that will really give you an extra edge.
Selling and negotiating
To make money from the property you either need to buy and sell it or buy and lease it. Either way, you need to start by owning it and that’s when you need all your negotiating skills to obtain the best deal you can.
You also need to be able to sell. You need to be able to sell your idea to whoever is backing your project financially – whether that’s your boss or your bank. You also need to be able to sell the property to its new owners or tenants.
How do you know if you’re going to make a profit? You need to have an interest in the property market and to keep your finger on the pulse so that when a bargain pops up, you know it. You also need to keep that commercial head on all the time. Allowing your heart to lead is a sure-fire way to ruin and disappointment. You need to be a bit hard-nosed and ruthless at times because sometimes you’re going to want to step away from a sale that’s not going the way you want it to.
Strong interpersonal and communication skills
You’re going to spend a lot of time dealing with people. And a lot of the time those people aren’t necessarily going to be best pleased to see you. From sellers who know you aren’t going to offer what they want to builders who want to explain to you why it’s going to cost more and take longer you’re going to need top-notch interpersonal skills to deal with them.
You also need to be a great communicator so that you can clearly explain what your intentions are. You might have the most fantastic and original plan for developing a site, but unless you can explain it to everyone else, it’s never going to be the success you dream of.