How to Get Started on the Real Estate Developer Path in North Carolina

north carolina real estate developer

Having experience in real estate is important when looking to become a real estate developer, but there’s no rulebook that limits who can become a real estate developer in North Carolina and there’s no single path to achieving a successful career investing in real estate. So even if you don’t have a formal background in real estate, don’t let that stop you.

Here’s what you should know before heading down the real estate developer path in your career.

What Does a Real Estate Developer Do?

Before getting started, you should have a full understanding of the responsibilities of the job. A real estate developer job description includes:

  • Scout land for projects
  • Renovate existing buildings
  • Manage construction details
  • Negotiate deals
  • Fund projects
  • Obtain permits
  • Attend public hearings to get public approvals
  • Oversee projects from start to finish
  • Dream up and execute real estate projects

What Experience Do You Need for Real Estate Development?

As we’ve said, there’s no single path to becoming a real estate developer in North Carolina, but certain areas of expertise tend to funnel into the profession such as construction, architecture, law, finance, urban planning, and other real estate-related professions. If you don’t have any experience in real estate, you should definitely plan to get your real estate license as it will make up for any lack of real-world real estate experience. 

What are the Different Paths within Real Estate Development?

Real estate development jobs are tiered based on experience. Some entry-level positions include:

  • Real estate sales associate
  • Architectural designer
  • Asset management specialist
  • Developer analyst

Middle-tier positions include:

  • Project manager
  • Real estate analyst
  • Real estate broker
  • Senior consultant

Top-level, or executive, positions include:

  • Principal product manager
  • Senior investment analyst
  • Chief Risk Officer
  • Director, strategic accounts

There are many different career opportunities that fall under the real estate developer umbrella. Find a niche within real estate development, talk to people who work in that field and pursue a fitting path once you’ve explored your options.

Interested in real estate? Download our free Real Estate Career Starter Kit to learn more about the steps to become a North Carolina real estate broker.

How Much Can You Earn as a Real Estate Developer in North Carolina?

Because real estate developers usually have the highest risk in any given project, they also have the highest reward. The size and scope of the development project influences pay, as does geographic region, residential vs. commercial projects, and the state of the real estate and land market. A real estate developer can make millions of dollars when involved in a project with a big price tag, but their offers are highly dependent on the market and success of each individual project. 

As of this publication, the average income for a real estate developer in North Carolina is $71,190, but it is not uncommon to see incomes break into the six-digit figures. Plus, according to Neighborhood Scout, the housing market in North Carolina has appreciated at a significantly higher rate compared to the United States as a whole. Thus, it’s safe to say that, if you’re looking to become a real estate developer, North Carolina is a good place to take root.

What are the Day-to-Day Responsibilities?

As a real estate developer, you may have to get used to constant chaos. However, for those who don’t want a typical desk job, facing new situations and challenges on a daily basis can be thrilling. Daily responsibilities include:

  • Troubleshooting
  • Visiting land plots and properties
  • Balancing the books
  • Meeting with workers, contractors and investors
  • Responding to press outlets and local organizations
  • Scheduling and time management
  • Ensure that buildings and properties are up to code
  • Researching new projects

Do You Need a Lot of Cash to Get Started as a Real Estate Developer?

You do need capital to get into real estate development, but you don’t have to have it yourself. Most real estate developers finance projects with an investor, personal, or bank loan. If you’ve never received financing for a real estate project before, you’ll most likely need to work on creating a business plan to present to investors or lenders. If you’re taking out a business loan, make sure you shop around to compare rates so you can get the best deal.

How to Get Started on the Real Estate Developer Path

Now that you understand the role of a real estate developer, it’s time to make your first deal. Here’s how.

Step 1: Select a Location

Do research on your desired area and the niche you want to fit into. Will you focus on residential projects or commercial? Does the market present any great opportunities right now for investors? Will you be partnering with others in a market you’re less familiar with? Selecting a location is about committing to a niche, market, and strategy as much as it is about finding a good deal.

Step 2: Build a Trustworthy Team

As a real estate developer, you will be working with and relying on a lot of different people. Check references and communicate your expectations for their work.

Step 3: Find an Investor or Arrange Financing

Unless you have capital saved up, you’ll also need to find an investor to fund your desired project. You can find one by arranging a meeting, expressing your needs, and showing them the expected return on capital.

If you prefer to take out a business loan, you’ll need to make a strong case with your lender about the stability of your business plan. They may also want information about your company’s finances, your credit, and any outstanding debts or bills your business currently owes.

Step 4: Make a Timeline

It’s no secret that real estate projects historically struggle to meet deadlines. Holding every person to a hard deadline – all the while budgeting in some wiggle room behind the scenes – is a smart way to make sure the job gets done on time.

Step 5: Get the Word Out

Building buzz starts before the project is done. Get the surrounding community excited about what you’re working on by contacting local press outlets or hosting a big event and inviting neighboring residents. Highlight what your project will add to the community. 

Build Your Brand for Future Projects

As in any profession, the success of one project is your audition for the next. It’s a good idea to start small, learn from your mistakes, and go bigger once you fully understand the process. Once you’ve done work that speaks for itself, real estate professionals, investors, and the public alike will want to work with you on future projects.

Ready to start your career in real estate? Superior has helped more new agents pass the North Carolina real estate licensing exam on the 1st attempt than any other school in North Carolina. Learn more about our industry-leading classes.