Advice for an aspiring real estate developer

I get LOTS of emails.  Many of them are from new and experienced investors looking for advice.  Here’s an email thread between myself and a new investor, Ian, that you might find valuable.  If you have advice for an aspiring real estate developer, please leave it in the comments.  Ian is surely reading this post and is eager for your advice as well.

IAN WRITES – “Hello David, my name is Ian. I have a passion for real estate development and would like to get into the business and any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.  Do you have any advice for an aspiring real estate developer?  Thanks in advance and look forward to hearing from you soon.”

DAVID WRITES “Great to meet you.  There is a ton of advice for an aspiring real estate developer on my website for free:  Real estate development is a very complex business.  How robust is your current investing experience / portfolio?”

IAN – “I have zero experience in the industry and I am aware that I need to start off very small before I can get into actually developing my own properties, but I don’t have any contacts on the development side of things. I know a couple of people who own small duplexes and apartment buildings and a couple of residential agents, but no one in development. I’m just eager to learn and get my feet wet.”

DAVID – “Here’s some advice for an aspiring real estate developer to be considered asa point of departure on your path to becoming a real estate developer:

1) buy at least four SFR rental houses that are simple “buy and hold” properties
2) take classes in accounting, taxation, real estate brokerage, real estate law
3) get a job selling anything that has a good sales training program attached to it.  real estate development requires A LOT of sales skills.
4) get a job in the real estate industry as an agent or loan officer or new home sales or leasing agent (or all of the above)
5) go to lots of real estate club meetings (don’t spend a lot of money doing this) and make friends. Look at and your local REIA
6) buy lunch for as many real estate mentors as you can find.  pick their brain. be humble. ask questions. write down the answers.
7) find a developer who will let you partner with them on as many deals as you can until you’re ready to go out on your own
8) look for ways to add value to other people and add value to the market place
9) build a rolodex of capital partners that believe in you.  real estate development is very capital intensive and will always require other people’s money.
10) there are good classes taught by the Urban Land Institute –  and the CCIM institute
11) if you are into building housing go to homebuilding conferences like or if you are into commercial real estate development go to the International Council of Shopping Centers at
To your success!! – David Campbell, founder of”
Please leave your advice for Ian below.  He would surely appreciate whatever ideas you have to offer.

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David Campbell

David Campbell Real Estate Investor / Developer / Author C: 707-373-9966 Skype: HassleFreeInvesting

4 thoughts on “Advice for an aspiring real estate developer”

  1. These are some great advices! Thanks, there`s so much stuff in real estate that a man can learn about.


    This so helpful.
    There are lot many like Ian, who are willing to jump into real estate bussines
    but the experince is least and they end up in messing everything.

    This post would help many newbies around.

    Thank you for letting us have this one.

    Shantanu sinha

  3. Hi David
    Thanks for sharing such a useful advice for an aspiring real estate developer.
    I guess it will gonna help a lot to those who is in path to becoming a real estate developer:

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