Project Management - man sitting in his office

Project Management

Did you know 58% of organizations know the value of having a project manager?

Based on the numbers, it’s clear that many companies understand the value of having a project manager on staff, especially in the real estate industry. If you think you possess the right skills to become a real estate project manager, you came to the right place. 

Read on to learn how to find the perfect project management job for you.

What Does It Mean to Be a Real Estate Project Manager?

If you’re interested in real estate project management as a career and want to find the perfect job, you should start by learning what project management means. 

Lewis project managers are born leaders that thrive in goal-driven environments and keep everyone working under them organized. 

Project managers are responsible for initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and completing residential master-planned community projects. Because they manage several development projects with various moving pieces, project managers always work with a team. 

Because it requires extensive work with others, project managers are usually comfortable working with others and different environments. Lewis project managers need to have an open professional relationship with the team as they will need to go to them with important questions.

What Is the Importance of a Real Estate Project Manager?

In real estate development, the project manager has a vital role. Real estate investors and development companies hire project managers to keep their projects on track. 

Budget Management: Real estate project managers work with multiple contractors, suppliers, and workers. They’re responsible for staying within a budget, paying vendors, and following protocols.

Risk Management: Because all real estate projects come with a level of risk, project managers are responsible for managing and lowering the project’s risk. They reduce the risk by obtaining the proper licenses, hiring insured professionals, and holding everyone responsible. 

Time Management: Real estate projects that fall behind schedule can be quite costly. The job of a project manager is to keep the project on time.

What Skills Will You Need to Become a Project Manager?

As we mentioned before, real estate development project managers are often born leaders, but more skills are required for the role. While you might thrive in communicating and leading others, there are other skills required for the role. 

Although the project manager works hard to make each development run smoothly, each project comes with its own set of challenges. To thrive in the role, project managers need to have these skills:

  • Multi-tasking skills
  • Adaptability skills
  • Oral communication skills
  • Decisiveness
  • Problem solvers
  • Strategic and analytical thinkers
  • Great negotiation skills
  • Creative mindset
  • Leadership skills
  • Strong work ethic 

Additional experience should include:

  • Familiarity with entitlement, plan processing, permitting, planning and zoning concepts and processes
  • Experience working with state and local governmental agencies
  • Knowledge, use and understanding of Microsoft Project, Powerpoint and Excel
  • Experience in Bluebeam, Adobe InDesign/Illustrator/Acrobat, Autocad, Revit or other graphic design/drafting software is a plus
  • Basic understanding of residential construction, municipality relations, plan reading, etc.
  • Basic understanding of entitlements, permitting processing and their procedures
  • A 4-year college degree is required, business, construction management or planning degree preferred
  • An MBA is a plus

Besides these core soft skills, project managers should also have extensive knowledge of the real estate development industry. A successful project manager also gives clear and detailed directions that everyone understands. 

Finding solutions to problems before they start is another key skill a project manager should have.

What Does a Project Manager Do?

Now that we’ve gone over the skills required to be a project manager, it’s time to learn what a project manager does. While their duties will vary depending on the development project, the core duties remain the same. 

A project manager essentially has to manage and direct all phases of a real estate development project. They’re also responsible for setting internal and external expectations.

During the course of the project, they need to track smaller projects during the lifecycle of the project. They must track the process and can give a status report at a moment’s notice. 

Aside from managing the project’s core tasks, project managers need to motivate and keep their team members on task. Without proper communication with their staff, the entire development can fall behind schedule project. 

Successful project managers have status meetings, daily expectations, and training with staff to keep expectations high. They must also focus on KPIs, budgets, billing, team evaluations, etc.

Other duties include:

  • Assist in the management of all residential project components
  • Coordinate and review the work of various disciplines (scope of work, project requirements, project timeline)
  • Interacting with outside contractors such as Architects, Civil Engineers, Landscape, Utility Consultants, Soils Engineers, & other professionals
  • Work together with Lewis team to represent company with public agencies: City, County, Water Districts, etc. relative to plan approval.
  • Assist with entitlement processing
  • Assist in the maintenance and monitoring of project status, budgets, business plan targets, problem areas, etc.
  • Coordinate and interact with VPs/PMs/department heads of other Lewis divisions
  • Note: Occasional automobile travel within the Inland Empire area of Southern California will be required.

What Is the Career Path of a Project Manager?

There is no specific way someone can become a project manager. Most people who become project managers do it because they’re good at what they do and have honed their skills over a prolonged period of time. 

Because many industries need project managers, it’s also a flexible career. Many people become project managers because they’re passionate about a particular industry and want to further their careers.

How Do You Become a Real Estate Project Manager?

If you’re serious about a career in real estate project management, there are a few different ways you can make it happen. For starters, if you know anyone in real estate development which currently has that job, you can talk to them about their career path. Finding a mentor at a networking event. 

Talking to a working project manager allows you to ask questions and learn first hand what to expect when becoming a project manager. 

Aside from getting a mentor, there are also other hands-on ways to become a project manager, such as an internship. This will give you real-life experience and a glimpse of what to expect. 

If you prefer, you can also take an introduction online course to project management. The course will align with everything you need to know about a project manager’s skills and responsibilities. 

Remember that project managing is a demanding career, so it’s important you find a great fit before rushing into the role. For example, if you’ve already worked in real estate as a realtor or broker, project management can be the next step.

Project Management - project manager in a conference

What is the Education of a Project Manager?

If you’re sure about a career in project management, there are several paths you can take. Many people who decide they want to be project managers often get a degree in Real Estate Development, Civil Engineering, Infrastructure Development, Planning or Project Management. 

While these are the most common degree in project management, there are other ways to become a project manager. Because project managers belong to different industries, having a degree in business, software, logistics, economic, etc. 

Any college degree serves as a strong foundation for any project manager. Many people who decide to change careers and go into project management can take advantage of their different college degrees. 

Having a background working in real estate is another great way to get started as a real estate project manager.

Are You Ready for a Project Management Career? 

Now that you know more about starting a career in project management, you’re ready for your dream career. 

Remember, project managers, manage and direct all phases of a project, possess critical thinking skills and great leadership. 

If you’re ready to start your new career in project management or project development, check out our hiring process.