At 21 years old, Ms. Acchione has already checked off the box of having tried out entrepreneurship in real estate. Last year, while taking a real estate finance course at Schulich, she ventured into land development, purchasing property in Markham with her savings, hiring a team to design and build a house, and then selling it.
The opportunities for young people to prepare themselves for the development business have never been better
|Schulich School of Business (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
“Young people today have significantly more opportunities to prepare themselves for a real estate development career than we would have had over 30 years ago when I got out of school,” said Frank Giannone, president of FRAM Building Group, a developer of award-winning residential and mixed-use communities across Canada and the United States. “A great example is the Schulich program. Things like that didn’t exist back then. The opportunities for young people to prepare themselves for the development business have never been better.”
That said, Mr. Giannone, whose daughter Christina is also studying real estate at Schulich, has some advice for aspiring young entrepreneurs. First, he said, is to learn the skill set needed to deal with the politics and bureaucracy of local governments when it comes to zoning and permits.
“If you’re starting from scratch, setting up your own business when you get out of school, you have to be a very patient, diligent person,” he said, adding that the other route is to gain the skill set and experience first by working with an established company.
“Marketing — they need to do their homework, not just to rely on reports. You can buy the reports but you also have to be doing it yourself,” he said. “They still have to do what I did when I started, which was to spend the weekend visiting sales offices and looking to see if what I was hearing from a report was accurate or if there was something else happening. Also, spend a lot of time reading about trends of how people are going to want to live in the future so you can get an edge and be ahead of the curve.”
He also advises budding entrepreneurs to pay a lot of attention to finding and developing a strong relationship with a good builder. “Because at the end of the day, you have to deliver a quality product,” he said.
“Our business is very capital intensive, so you have to either have your own money or have a partner who really believes in you. It’s a risky business, but you if you do the right things to reduce the risks, it can be a very good business,” Mr. Giannone said.
For now, Ms. Acchione is holding off on her land development venture because she worries the housing market might be heading the way the U.S. market did in 2008 and she wants to focus on finishing her studies.
By Alexandra Lopez-Pacheco
Taken from: http://business.financialpost.com/2012/10/29/building-a-real-estate-career/