For many business-minded individuals, pursuing a career in commercial real estate development can be very rewarding. Commercial real estate developers have the opportunity to earn a competitive annual salary while advancing the economy and creating millions of jobs within sectors such as office, retail, warehouse, and industrial construction. In fact, the industry supported 9.2 million US jobs in 2019 and 8 million jobs in 2020 — according to the Commercial Real Estate Development Association (NAIOP).
To pursue a career as a commercial real estate developer, there are several crucial steps you’ll need to take to obtain the education and credentials needed to succeed in the industry. Here, we highlight a few of these requirements.
Meet Basic Career Requirements
Your first few steps toward becoming a commercial real estate developer is obtaining the right education, state licensure, and experience. If you have no background in real estate, for instance, you’ll want to start by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in real estate, business administration, or construction management. Or, if you already have a real estate background, you could obtain a professional certificate in commercial real estate development.
After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, it’ll be time to earn your real estate license. You’ll need to be licensed in order to start working as a commercial real estate developer or broker, and you may choose to obtain professional certification as well. The NAIOP offers two types of certifications for interested real estate professionals:
That said, many aspiring commercial developers start out as real estate brokers or property managers. As they obtain work experience in real estate, they can transition into commercial real estate development by networking with other real estate professionals and joining professional organizations like the NAIOP, Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM), and Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR).
Learn About the Commercial Development Process
Once you’ve obtained some real estate experience and you’re ready to transition into commercial development, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the different steps in the real estate development process. Typically, these steps include setting goals for your project; applying for permits; locating, assessing, and acquiring land for your commercial property; and obtaining a commercial real estate loan.
You’ll also need to assemble your commercial real estate team. When building a property from the ground up, you’ll need to look for a general contractor, civil engineer, architect, and landscape architect.
Provide Ample Lighting to Ensure Building Safety
Post-COVID, it’s especially important to keep safety in mind when developing your commercial property. These added safety measures will not only protect your building occupants and visitors from harmful viruses and bacteria, but other safety features — like installing LED parking lot lights in your parking garages, stairwells, and walkways — will help to deter crime and prevent driving accidents.
As a commercial real estate developer, it’s important to keep in mind that your buildings and parking garages require ample lighting at all hours of the day and night. High-efficiency lighting enhances building security and safety, helping to reduce the risk of trips and falls, assaults, carjackings, and car-pedestrian accidents.
Market Your Commercial Property
After many months spent planning and developing your commercial property, you’ll need to market it to your target audience. Start by building your brand identity, just as you would for any other business. This means coming up with a mission statement and slogan, building a website and social media presence, and using online logo-making tools to create a custom logo that represents your brand — taking the time to carefully select the right colors, fonts, text, and style. You can then market your property on social media, in business journals and newspapers, and by sponsoring local events.
There are many ways to succeed in commercial real estate development, and these tips are just the start. Gain experience, earn your license, and showcase your skills and qualifications with a stellar resume. Once you get started, ensure your commercial properties are well-lit, safe, and secure. We know there’s a lot to learn when you’re just getting started, but building a commercial real estate career can be an enjoyable journey!
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