Moonlighting as a real estate developer

As a busy professional, you have limited spare time and want to spend it wisely. And the idea of becoming a real estate developer piques your interest. It’s no wonder: real estate development can be an exciting and lucrative endeavor. Some experts declare that being a developer commands your full attention. But for many of us, that just isn’t realistic.

Maybe you love your career. Maybe it’s hard to walk away from the fulfillment and compensation you get from it. Maybe you’re just not ready to close that door yet. Whatever the reason, it is possible to moonlight as a real estate developer, particularly if you’re driven, goal-oriented, and ready to put in some long days to achieve your goal.

Getting started in moonlighting as a real estate developer

Study up

To be successful as a real estate developer, you’ll want to amass a firm foundation of knowledge. And if you already have a background in related work, good for you. If you don’t, your chances for success will increase when you put in the time for training. So you may want to consider going back to school part-time, online, nights and/or weekends, to get a degree that will support your goals. According to, “8 Tips For Becoming A Successful Real Estate Developer,” some degrees that can help get you there include construction management, engineering, urban development, business administration, law or finance. If going back to school isn’t the right move for you, consider working for someone in the real estate industry (residential or commercial, depending on your interest) or attaining your Realtor’s license. And remember to keep building on that knowledge with supporting courses in real estate. That base of knowledge will serve you well.

Build your team

Being a developer and achieving success at it is largely dependent upon having the right team of experts on your side. Consider amassing a team that includes a general contractor, engineer and architect. Better still, partner with a solid design-build team that can guide you through the process from start to finish. You may also want to find an attorney to help you set up your business and develop and review contracts along with a great real estate agent to help you understand and find your tenants and customers. And don’t forget to develop a strong relationship with the individuals or entities who are financing your project.

Consider getting certified

Getting certified helps you prove that you are capable and knowledgeable, while at the same time strengthening your skills to increase your chances of success. According to, “How Do You Become a Real Estate Developer?” those certifications could include the Realtors Land Institute’s Accredited Land Consultant and the Commercial Real Estate Development Association’s Certificate of Advanced Study in Real Estate Development.

Establish a legal entity

Establishing a legal entity for your real estate development business is the next step toward becoming a real estate developer. This is where your lawyer comes in. It comes at a cost that is well worth the investment; in the end you’ll have the authority and oversight you need to build your business the way you envision it.

Entering the world of real estate development

You’ve put in the legwork, you’ve gotten certified, you’ve built your team and established your legal entity. Now, you’re ready to get started as a real estate developer. Put that base of knowledge to work for you, and you’re sure to find your way in the exciting world of real estate development. Though you’ve done it on the side up to this point, with a bit of success under your belt—who knows? You may feel more comfortable stepping away from your career to be a developer full-time. If and when that moment comes, you can feel confident that the legwork you put into it will pay off.