There is perhaps no better time to be involved in Philly’s real estate and housing scene. Philadelphia is in the midst of a development boom. In neighborhoods

What reading list would you give someone who wants to work for a real estate development firm?

Real estate development is not really a defined field in the same way that, say, accounting is. Much of real estate development is project management—bringing a lot of different experts to the table and making sure everyone is working toward the same goal (getting a building built, renovated, or re-positioned). That said, certain elements of real estate development, like market analysis, underwriting and financial analysis, and basic legal/zoning analysis, have general best practices that can be learned. These suggestions also apply to general property investment.

  • Your city/county’s zoning text and zoning map. You don’t need to read the whole thing, but you should understand what can and cannot be built in a given location. This is everything when it comes to urban and suburban development.
  • Real Estate Development: Principles and Practice, by Miles, Berens, et al. Good introductory textbook to the basic elements of real estate development. Read this end to end and you’ll have a rudimentary understanding of the process.
  • Real Estate Finance and Investments, by Linneman. Great introductory textbook behind the financing of real estate investments, including development.
  • ULI Case Studies (available at Urban Land Institute). A subscription is expensive  – $249/year – but ULI’s case studies are an extraordinary resource. Hundreds of detailed case studies of development projects. Well worth it.
  • Excel Modeling Course: This isn’t reading, technically, but being fluent in real estate financial modeling makes it much easier to present a compelling case to investors, city officials, your boss, etc. Real Estate Financial Modeling, Model for Success offers online courses that are hands-on and a good value.