With England currently in the grip of a major housing crisis and with an increase in the number of new businesses also needing premises, there’s currently a big demand for useable properties. Access to new build sites is limited and building on greenfield sites also has the downside of damaging the environment. Recovering and redeveloping brownfield sites, however, has a great deal of potential, and can also help to restore urban economies. Changes in regulations are making it easier to do, so whether you’re interested in converting warehouses or just in smartening up neglected flats, there are lots of opportunities to get into property development.
Commercial and residential properties
Most property developers specialise either in commercial or in residential buildings. There are different regulations involved with each, so different knowledge is needed and, of course, it helps to build up knowledge in a specific area. Sometimes, however, it’s practical to convert a property from one type of use to the other, as patterns of demand change within a city. A lot of what property developers do involves researching permits, determining the history and potential of a building, and establishing its market potential. As a rule, a well-managed building will pay for itself within ten years, and a portfolio of three individually let properties will generate enough profit to employ one person.
Careers in property development
Because of the assumption that one needs a lot of money to invest, property development is often seen as an older person’s business. In fact, there are lots of opportunities for young people because most of this work is done by companies rather than private individuals, and they are always on the lookout for talented young people to get involved. Becoming a property developer can be a great route to success. Ali Seytanpir for example, started out modestly and went on to make over a million pounds in the business. He now provides advice to new traders looking to get into the industry. This showcases the opportunity for growth in this field.
Getting into the industry
The simplest way into a property development career is to study real estate at college, but finance or economics will also give you a good grounding in the research and management side of it, while engineering and related disciplines can provide useful preparation for surveying, budgeting for restoration work, and so forth. A master’s degree in real estate is a good option for those wishing to cross over from a discipline like this.
Even without a degree, it’s possible to get into the business by taking a junior position after leaving school and accessing in-house training. Big property companies encourage mentoring and provide good opportunities for career development.
Although property prices fluctuate, the fact that people will always need houses means that there’s much more stability in this sector than most, and that means long-term career prospects are good. If you are diligent and hard-working, it’s unlikely you will be out of work. With time and patience, you could end up running a property business of your own or acting as a consultant, earning good money in what is a highly rewarding job.