Anyone with any experience working for a real estate developer?


Anyone with experiences to share what it is like to work in a real estate development company?

Oct 1, 13 6:14 am

Got an offer, so just wondering what it is like the other side...

Oct 1, 13 6:16 am  · 
Enjoy the $$$
Oct 1, 13 11:03 am  · 

Enjoy doing takeoffs, lots of square footage calculations, a crap-ton of paperwork, and endless meetings.  

Oct 1, 13 12:14 pm  · 

Enjoy having more real control over the architecture than you ever had before in an office.

Oct 1, 13 12:28 pm  · 

How do they describe your potential job?  Are you an in-house designer or is it more of a management position?  It can be a good eye-opener to see what the priorities are in a developer's organization vs. those in an architecture firm.  Sometimes I see design snobs look down on people that work outside of straight up architecture firms or teaching positions, but I think smart employers would appreciate your diversified experience, provided you made the most of it.

Oct 1, 13 12:34 pm  · 

I worked with a small office it was a design build and manage type of place. There was a basic formula so the work was a little repetitive, but I got to learn about the financial side of things and got to negotiate construction contracts and do all sorts of interesting and not so interesting task.

If this is an early stage in your career I would say go for it even if you are not in love with the designs the firm is producing just for the contract and construction administration experience.

You should expect lots of small fast projects if it is a mostly commercial developer as a store may want a new entrance or a new ADA toilet, Most of the work could be making adjustments to the properties the firms owns or manages, but again each one is experience in a wide range of task,if you are not done with IDP you should be able to get lots of experience in hard to get categories.


Best of Luck

Peter N

Oct 1, 13 12:39 pm  · 

I interviewed for a development firm nearly two years ago. The hiring process was quite slow and I took another job before even finding out if they were going to hire me.

They didn't care much about my architecture background, but wanted to know what I knew of the market and where I saw things going. I had a quick 5 minute interview when I first arrived, this I assume was to filter out people who had no idea what they were in for. I then met a development manager right after who spoke to me for about 30 minutes. 

A week later I was invited in to take an IQ test and a test in using excel. The following week I was interviewed by a VP. The final step was to meet the owner of the company, but as he was on holidays and I had another offer I decided to pass.

They were a much more formulaic developer but it looks like I could have learned quite a bit. We never talked money, but I imagine it would have been fairly decent. I'm in government now though and I am enjoying the stability and non pressure work load. 

Oct 1, 13 5:30 pm  · 

My boss is putting together a scheme and such for a developer. They are trying for a office building, but I'm just the inquisitive drafter.

Oct 1, 13 7:31 pm  · 

I have.  It was a developer-builder.  I was licensed by then, but my work consisted of a variety of things including estimating, site visits, documentation, in-house contractor coordination, subcontractor relations and bid analysis, database management, some design, and AutoCAD.  Since they were mostly speculative, there weren't that many meetings ... about as many as in an architectural office.  This particular outfit was particularly arrogant in that they imparted the feeling that it was a privilege to work there, with a lengthy employment screening sequence, and then, when people defected to the other known names in the same niche, they would let you know that their new place was so much more laid-back.

Pros:  can learn a lot and develop a sense for building efficiency, paid better than at some firms (especially boutique types - no thanks), diversity in terms of educational backgrounds and lack thereof, felt more like a traditional business

Cons:  not being among architects and having dialogue about design, the feeling that architects weren't valued as much as the CM and MBA types, upward mobility may be restricted because it's a "good ole boy" network of another type, and some "knuckle draggers" for whom architecture was too artsy-fartsy

In short, I think that one has to see the org. chart, or get a feel for who is command, to see if there is any upward potential.  I did not think working for the developer-builder or for an A/E firm that was heavily flavored by engineers, albeit better paying, was sustainable for the long-term, and I'm using sustainable in its traditional context.

Oct 1, 13 8:02 pm  · 

^ I learned something today and that has put a tear to my eye.

Well done on the process of working with a developer to the ones who are not were you are at today thank you. It seems like it is a lot of work to deal with a developer project I couldn't image doing that. My co-workers do a lot more than me and what you said today gives be a boarder understanding of what they go thru. I hope to get to be able to use the title architect someday but not for quite some time from now.

How long ago was this?(I know things could be confidential) What type of building was it and how was the fee ....hehehe... I image it was in the 6%. The building my boss is working on is from what I know already designed they are going thru a site plan scheme and he has at least three different ideas from what I know which is little lol.

Oct 1, 13 8:38 pm  · 


It shouldn't get you down.  It's bottom-line oriented.  They still produce acceptable design, in most cases, but some strip malls and tilt-ups are indeed cheesy. 

Actually, the private developer is only hard to work with in that they make cost-cutting decisions very quickly and don't want to look at the cost-benefit of better design, unless you are convincing and twist their arm.  They act and think quickly.  On the other hand, if you had to schools or hospitals, the word is "process."  For schools, there are meetings with school officials and teachers, state regulatory agencies, and sometimes even the community itself who wants a say.  Hospitals are very technical.

This was a gig starting before and ending after Y2K, because I remember pensively buying a round trip to Europe on-line for $763 (from the West Coast) that took me there the day before Christmas and brought me back on Jan 2.  I wanted to celebrate with my cousins and wondered what could go haywire, but when we watched Sydney Australia shooting off their fireworks in their time zone , we all breathed a sigh of relief:  New Millennium!

Oct 1, 13 9:13 pm  · 

I actually left the architecture industry and went to work for a branding agency, before leaving the "creative industries" altogether to join the Financial Services industry.

I honestly wasn't expecting anyone to call me up for an offer. The offer is very good and very tempting. I think they called me up because of my experience combination in retail-branding and commercial architecture.

I'm very content with my new lifestyle in Financial Services, since I don't work late nights or pull all-nighters anymore. I don't miss design at all. The high stress / late-nights is a deal breaker for me, and I wonder if the Developer (client-side) is the same with architecture, with regards to stress levels.

Does anyone with experience in Real Estate Development have any input with regards to the stress levels?

Oct 3, 13 2:35 am  · 

It's a manager position. I'm no longer interested in hands-on design work. I'll leave that to the younger and more enthusiastic (not to mention more talented) designers out there.

Position is for Research and Development, which includes market analysis and incorporating findings into design guidelines. Doing experimental work towards a final prototype and real world implementation.

I have health concerns (chest pain - and I'm only in my early 30s), so I am not suited for a pressure-cooker type of working lifestyle.

Oct 3, 13 4:55 am  · 

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