How do I become a Real Estate Developer in Nigeria?

It’s no news that the real estate business is a lucrative venture. And the everyday individual in Nigeria seems to think the real estate market is quite accessible that other market industries. This may be true, but only if you intend to become a real estate investor.

But, if you are considering a career as a real estate developer in Nigeria, the accessibility of the real estate market coupled with a robust capital is short of what you need for a successful career. To understand why this is so, knowing the difference between a real estate investor and a real estate developer is necessary.

A real estate investor is preoccupied with acquiring confirmed properties as investment opportunities, while a real estate developer sees to it that unconfirmed properties become confirmed properties for acquisition following the real estate development process. A real estate developer is that professional who makes available confirmed properties for real estate investors to acquire as investment opportunities, this may be in the form of certified land or developed structures.

With this distinction, you can see why becoming a real estate developer requires more than becoming a real estate investor. Are you considering a career as a real estate developer in Nigeria? Here is what you must know.

Who is a Real Estate Developer?

A real estate developer is a property development professional who manages the process of developing and selling real estate. And the process of developing and selling real estate spans from the planning phase to designing, financing, constructing, marketing and project delivery.

Usually, real estate developers are required to work closely with other professionals in the property development industry to ensure that this whole process is completed, from start to finish. At different phases of the real estate development process, they may collaborate with engineers, architects, contractors, city planners, inspectors, leasing agents, surveyors and lawyers to ensure project completion.

However, real estate developers have since discovered that they are not obligated to complete the entire real estate development process, but they can choose certain aspects to focus on.

For example, a real estate developer may focus on acquiring land working with municipalities to get permits and making it available for those who would like to build. Or a real estate developer may decide to concentrate on organizing contractors to construct buildings on properties which would be sold.

Either way, both scenario assumes a fraction of the real estate development process. But, whether a real estate developer undertakes the entire real estate development process or not, the following are the duties of a real estate developer.

Duties of a Real Estate Developer

  • Property research for development
  • Collaboration with other professionals throughout the development process
  • Ensuring budget management for real estate projects.
  • Drafting cost and term negotiations with contractors
  • Securing funds for development
  • Working with architects and engineers to create designs and development plans
  • Obtaining permits for planned construction and development activities

How to Become a Real Estate Developer in Nigeria?

As earlier stated, having access to the real estate market and a robust capital is not the only prerequisite to becoming a real estate developer in Nigeria. Though they are the obvious ones, there are still other requirements you need to start your career as a real estate developer in Nigeria.

  1. Earn a degree

Getting a bachelor’s degree is usually the preliminary step for anyone who is considering a specialized career, real estate development inclusive. It is preparation for launching your new career as a real estate developer.

Although there is currently no specific program for real estate development, you can get a bachelor’s degree in a related field that would give you a background and expose you to the likely roles you may need to play as a real estate developer.

Some programs to consider getting your bachelor’s degree in are: construction, urban planning, law, architecture, management, business administration or even engineering.

  1. Get your real estate license

To operate in Nigeria as a real estate developer, you need a current real estate license. You need a real estate license because real estate development is a specialized field and the structures you will build will affect the general public.

Like every other specialized skill licensure, a real estate license gives you the permission to develop and sell properties in a country.

  1. Gain experience

Gaining experience in the real estate development field is the most important in the list of things you must do to become a real estate developer. This step is not only required to develop sturdy and remarkable structures, but it is also necessary to set you apart in the industry.

One way to gain this experience is to work under another property developer who has a proven track record and has good credibility in the industry. However, it is important to state that when it comes to real estate development, gaining experience is two-dimensional.

One aspect is to ensure you have the satisfactory level of knowledge to do the job and the other aspect is to have a proper understanding of what the market dictates and values depending on the type of real estate development you wish to focus on.

  1. Build a network

The mere fact that real estate developers need other professionals to complete their real estate development process is an indication that networking is important.

As an aspiring real estate developer, you don’t just build your network to satisfy your objective, you build one to give speed and by extension your reputation. Yes, in the competitive real estate market, reputation can be shared.

So, before you begin your career, get in touch with other property developers and other needed professionals and connect with them.

  1. Learn how to manage finances

Budget management for real estate projects is one duty a real estate developer has, and financial management becomes crucial at this point. Without this training and exposure, this aspect becomes a nightmare.

  1. Understand the market

Understanding the market will help you decide and determine whether you want to focus on residential real estate development or commercial real estate development or both.

Research on market trends and competition on both sides of the real estate industry will help you come to that conclusion.

With this information, you will be able to define the parameters within your chosen field, discovering what is allowed and what is not to attract potential customers and keep their loyalty.

  1. Find locations with huge market potential

After understanding the market, researching to find out what locations hold a huge market potential is a smart move before starting.

With this information at your fingertips, you have what is called the location advantages from trade access to market proximity and everything in between. However, it is important to note that a saturated target market in the real estate industry may not necessarily mean that the market has a huge potential.

  1. Develop your negotiation skills

One attribute that contributes to your business success is good negotiation skills. It helps you create and build better business relationships. As a real estate developer, a good negotiation skill helps you in the area of cost management.

  1. Understand contracts

Contracts are non-negotiables in the property development industry. This is because real estate developers are often required to sign them to facilitate a transaction. So, it is quite important to know how to read one, and not just read but review with ease.

To be able to review these documents with ease, real estate developers are expected to acquaint themselves with the language typically of these documents.

  1. Consider becoming certified

Certification is not a primary requirement for a real estate developer, but it is an added advantage to emphasize your qualification and expertise.

There are certification courses unique to your side of the industry (commercial or residential development) or even general that will help teach you how to align your development vision with the industry cycles, regulations and financial feasibility.

  1. Start small

You have the passion, you have gained experience, you have the license, and you have a start-up capital start small and work your way up. But, if you think you have a thriving market that would deliver the expected returns, you can solicit investors and funds.

However, when you start small, you give yourself time to gain confidence in yourself and your credibility in business. You will be able to build a solid foundation so that you can handle future growth and learn to manage your resources.

Are you feeling it’s time you expand and take on more projects? You need the next step, put a team together.

  1. Have a Team

One way of creating a team is to employ several different professionals as required to complete the real estate development process so you can deliver more projects. This could lead to you establishing a real estate development company. Another way to get a team is to partner with a real estate development company, thereby forming a joint partnership. 


James Cubitt Developments (JCD) is a full-service real estate company that provides complete functional solutions in varying capacities concerning building projects. From the planning phase through to building, occupancy and maintenance we make it easy for you, providing a seamless turnkey development service.


Phone number: +234 715 9995, +234 715 9996


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