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Real estate development is a subject near and dear to my heart. Not only is it my profession, but the subject goes all the way back to my childhood. In short, I take great pride in real estate development. I think it’s important to be such a pivotal aspect of a community. You are not just designing buildings; you are designing experiences and places that people earn their livings, make professional and personal connections and make memories. Even when these buildings are long gone, the memories created in them will stick around for a lifetime.

As a tenured developer, I always enjoy passing on advice to younger members of the industry. Any new, up-and-coming developers looking to make their mark in the industry will undoubtedly need some guidance, and so, I want to offer my help. With that being said, here are some real estate development mistakes to avoid when looking at a new development site.

Make a Quick Phone Call to the City

If you’re being commissioned by a city, or simply looking into developing for a city, township, what have you, it couldn’t hurt to make a quick call to the city’s planning department. You aren’t necessarily looking for anything in particular; instead, you’re looking for the process and organization on the front end. Ask for more information on the project you’re being commissioned for and gauge the response. If the information is quickly available and can be sent in a timely and organized manner, then press on. But if there are multiple hiccups in the process, then the actual process of the development will probably be even more cluttered and disorganized.

Look Into the Community

If you’re being commissioned for a project, sometimes you’ll be called in to another city that you’ll likely be unfamiliar with. What better way to get an idea of a city’s planning committee than by asking the locals? And by that I don’t mean walk up to a stranger and ask about the planning committee, although you’re certainly welcome to do so; instead, ask the locals who practice in the real estate industry on a daily basis. Look for tenured professionals, like real estate agents, to get a sense of how long you can expect a process to take.

Take this information and run with it. Utilize it to make smart decisions for your future as a real estate developer. If you don’t take these crucial pieces of information into account, you can get stuck with an expensive project that wastes your time and your money.

Good luck.