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Being a real estate developer means asking a lot of questions

I was having coffee with a developer friend of mine this morning and we got onto the topic of asking a lot of questions. We joked that that’s what we do all day.

Development projects happen because of teams of very smart people all working together toward a common goal. It’s a beautiful thing. And as a developer, there are certain expertises and competencies that you should have.

But for the most part, we usually sit in rooms as the least qualified person. We are not structural engineers. We are not geotechnical engineers. We are not architects (though I sometimes pose as a fake one). We are not planners. And we are not façade specialists, among many other things.

But we are the ones taking on most of the financial risk and trying to bring everything together. And what that means is that you end up asking a lot of questions. You collect information, you try and consider what could go wrong, you lean on past experiences, and then you make a decision — often without perfect information or 100% certainty.

This is how projects move forward. You have to rely on others and you have to make decisions. Because not making a decision is even worse. It burns time, which is why too many cooks in the kitchen can be the kiss of death for development projects.

I’m sure the same thing can be said for many other things in life.

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