Nobody is born to be a property developer. You have to learn the process and ultimately hone your skills by actually developing a project. That said, I believe there are attributes that certainly make the task easier and more effective. Here are my 9 traits guaranteed to give you a head start in property development.
I often say to people, “I’m not always right, but I’m always decisive”. Sometimes it’s better to get something moving, even if it’s off course, than do nothing at all. Making the right decisions and delivering them decisively will be easier once you have knowledge and some experience behind you. As the developer, you can take advice from various consultants, but ultimately it’s you that has to make the final decisions. Don’t suffer from paralysis by analysis.
Procrastination would have to be one of the major no-no’s for a developer. Each project needs to be reviewed daily and pushed forward. This is linked to forward thinking. You need to be on top of your game and driving from the front, not waiting for things to happen then reacting.
Clear and concise communication is important. As the developer you are numero uno. You will be communicating with professionals (surveyors, engineers, etc) and it is important that you relay to them what you want and when you want it. Clear written and verbal communication with your architect and/or builder is particularly important.
I am always trawling ahead with my projects, anticipating issues that could crop up or problems that could arise. To do this effectively you need a sound knowledge of the process involved in property development and to keep ahead of the game.
As with most things in life, not everything goes perfectly to plan. Property development is no exception. There are always small fires that need to be put out. Solving problems will rely a lot on your knowledge and experience. Sometimes it can be effective to take a step or two back and look at the bigger picture to see where the problem originated. That way, you may stop it happening again.
Organiser / Manager
You will hear me say many times, “Property development is all about managing people and processes.” The people you will organise / manage / coordinate include architects, surveyors, engineers, builders, agents. Don’t be overawed because they are ‘professionals’. You’ll never know what they know about their respective professions – but you don’t have to. You simply need to know what they do and when you require their services.
As the developer you are captain of the team. The best captains understand how to communicate with and get the best out of their team members. They are also capable of making the hard decisions for the greater good (ultimately the success of the project). On the odd occasion you might need to “encourage a better effort” from one of the team or even replace them. Tough call, but that’s what it takes.
Managing your time is critical, particularly if you have more than one project underway. Being proactive and organised is a good start. In his best-selling book, Time Trap, author Alec Mackenzie lists the 20 biggest time wasters and how to cure them. A few notable ones include management by crisis, ineffective delegation, inability to say no, procrastination, poor communication and meetings.
So how do you rate? The good thing is that these days there are plenty of self-improvement books, courses and even coaches to help you improve your weak points.
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