Seven Characteristics of Successful Real Estate Developers by Jeremy Berman

Jeremy Berman Put-in-Bay is a model of a successful serial entrepreneur. At age 42, he has been a healthcare provider for 20 years, working with people with limb loss and limb instability. He has opened a bar and a climate-controlled storage facility. And he has already spearheaded several successful real estate developments.

What are the attributes of a winning real estate developer? Jeremy Berman lists seven important personality traits for real estate development.

Basic Knowledge

You don’t have to have a PhD to be a real estate developer, Jeremy Berman says. You don’t need to have a MBA (although an MBA with an emphasis on real estate couldn’t hurt).

Real estate developers do need the level of knowledge required of real estate agents, to avoid legal problems down the road. They benefit from knowing the fundamentals of construction management, public relations, and taxes. But real estate developers who find a good mentor can learn the essentials on the job.

People Skills

Real estate developers have to exert unflappable leadership skills with investors, lenders, architects, engineers, builders, inspectors, agents, buyers, and many more! Real estate developers need to be diplomatic but persistent to guide the process of building and selling their projects.

A Good Sense of the Balance of Risks and Rewards

Every real estate development carries risks. The overall economy could sour. Natural disasters could interfere with water supplies or the availability of utilities. The cost of materials can soar.

Real estate developers aren’t gamblers. They make informed assessments of the balance of risks and rewards when they plan their projects, Jeremy Berman Put-in-Bay says.

Problem Solving Skills

Real estate development isn’t a profession in which it’s OK to go with the flow and hope for the best. Every real estate developer has to work around unknown and unknowable risks that can threaten the completion of the project.

Real estate developers must complete their projects on time and under budget to keep investors, bankers, and buyers happy. Constant use of problem-solving skills is part of the job description.

Making Hard Decisions

Jeremy Berman Put-in-Bay explains that the ability to make hard decisions is essential to being successful in real estate development. You can’t make everybody happy, so you have to focus on who and what counts. Real estate developers have to keep their projects running smoothly to meet deadlines and control costs, but they also have to understand the big picture of where their development fits into their long-term goals.


Successful real estate developers think outside the box. They find ways to satisfy owners of the raw land they develop that keep their cash flow under control. They find creative yet honest ways to meet local zoning regulations. They find sources of financing outside the mainstream for their development and their buyers,

Real estate developers who find new materials, designs, technology, and tools for public relations make a bigger splash in their communities and open future opportunities for themselves.

The Ability to Seize a Competitive Advantage

Finally, Jeremy Berman says, great real estate developers have a great sense of potential. They see possibilities that other developers do not, adding value for everyone.