"When I’m at a party and I tell someone that I’m a real estate developer, often times they have no idea what that means. They usually think I’m a real estate agent. Or they ask me to explain a typical day. Either way, I’ve found it generally smoother (and more impressive) to just lie and say I’m an architect."
Real estate developers are effectively the entrepreneur that make a new building happen.
Developers are like an orchestra conductor
But at the same time, developers assume 100% of the risk of the project. If the building fails (because you can’t sell the condo units or lease out the space), that all falls on the developer (and his/her investors). All of the other team members are getting paid based on the services they provide. They’re consultants.This distinction is what (can) make real estate development so lucrative–with risk comes reward. And I’ll be completely candid in saying that this is part of the reason I decided to get into development. I was training to be an architect and I started realizing that I could make more money as a developer. But I also came to the realization that as a developer I would likely end up having more say over the built environment. That’s the unfortunate reality of my industry. Even though architects spend far more time than your average developer thinking about what makes buildings and cities great, I would argue that they don’t have nearly the same amount of say. Because if they did, we probably wouldn’t have so many crappy buildings in our cities. But it’s this way because architects aren’t assuming the risk.
"Cities need more developers that care about design.”
“Harry, cities don’t need more architects that care about design. We have lots of those. Cities need more developers that care about design.”