How do I start a real estate development company ?
June 8, 2007 7:11 PM   Subscribe

What resources and/or advice can you give me about getting into real estate deveolpment ?

I am employed full time and make a decent steady living. My job only requires me to work about 8-14 days / month so I have a lot of free time.

I've dabbled in real estate a bit and now own 2 rental properties. I'm considering selling 1 or both of them to free up some capital and start something potentially big that could see me quitting my job and leading to financial freedom, and a business for myself that I think I could love. Namely buying a property, developping a multi unit condo type project, making design decisions and marketing and selling the units.

The only problem I have is that I have no experience in this. I could probably muster up about 250K ( every penny I have ) to start this up and obviously will need to bring in partners with money and experience.

Where do I start ? Bonus points if you have any advice, contacts,... specific to Toronto and the GTA.
posted by dawdle to Work & Money (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I could write for hours on this topic. Please don’t do it. I’ve worked on the local government side of development for more than 30 years. I have held the hands of hundreds through the red tape and seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

You will be driving a Yugo before it is over. But then again…maybe a Cadillac. Success will take a thousand more of everything than what you imagine. Money, patience knowledge, skill, contacts, on, and on.

My gut says no. But, if can you persist, a very very few make it. I really don’t mean to be a killjoy, but you seem so naive. Write me at if you decide to proceed. I’ll do what I can. What’s one more?
posted by mrleec at 10:07 PM on June 8, 2007

On preview, I'm away for a week. So there begins the patience aspect.
posted by mrleec at 10:09 PM on June 8, 2007

The Urban Land Institute is the real estate development trade organization that I know of--they offer plenty of courses and publications.

They also publish this book, which has some good basic info.
posted by mullacc at 10:43 PM on June 8, 2007

Yeah, before I saw mullacc's comment, I was going to link to that book, too. There are probably good classes at the university there too. (Check the city planning or urban design department and the business or real estate department.)

You can definitely do this, but I'd recommend you start small. How big of a condo project are you imagining? Is it something that fits the city's regulations, or would you have to get special permits? You might just pick a random property, call the planning/permit desk, and ask what it would take to get permission to build what you're imagining. Before you take the step of new construction, what about buying a big house, rehabbing it inside, and converting it to condo units?

If you wanted to do something bigger, I'd recommend getting a job as a project manager for a developer first -- that way, you have mentors and people with various expertise, pre-established connections with lenders (the company will have a general reputation and the record of handling those quantities of money), and you're working with someone else's money. You can develop the experience and connections you need and then take it independent.
posted by salvia at 12:24 PM on June 9, 2007

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