Do you know what real estate development is?

It is well known that the property sector is prominent in the national and international economy, urban development, job creation, and changing the climate paradigm. Within this vast field, we also find real estate development, which stands out as an essential activity and works daily to meet the needs of today’s society, whether in the residential, office, retail or even leisure and public spaces areas.

Although “real estate development” may seem technical, it encompasses a multifaceted process involving various stages of the property business cycle, such as planning, financing, building and marketing properties.


In this article, we’ll try to understand what it is, its importance, and each stage of the process and also clarify the difference between a real estate developer, a builder and a real estate agent.


Real estate development: projects with impact


Real Estate Development is the most complex activity within the sector because it needs to incorporate all the other activities that make up the property market into its development process.

Before we look at the process stages, it’s worth trying to define what real estate development is. According to the ePortugal portal, it can be defined as:


The activity consists of developing real estate programmes on a permanent basis, with the promoters assuming both the financial risk and the responsibility for conducting the operations necessary for their implementation, to be carried out for an indefinite period through a company established in Portugal.

Real estate development is a comprehensive process that brings together legal, financial, and technical aspects. It involves the construction of buildings or implementing infrastructure on land, all with the ultimate goal of sale. This comprehensive approach ensures a well-rounded and successful real estate development project.


Thus, real estate development involves a series of interconnected stages, from the acquisition of the land to the placing of the property on the market, whether for sale or rent.


Real Estate development

The real estate developer plays a central role, as he is the entity responsible for coordinating the entire development of a project. More specifically, the real estate developer carries out market research to identify opportunities, assesses the feasibility of the project and its construction, and defines all the details. They are responsible for licensing, financing, and supervising construction at the development stage. Finally, the real estate developer also puts the property on the market and provides after-sales service.

Real estate developers can act as owners and/or service providers and build for themselves or later sell, deliver or transfer to third parties under any title.

Real Estate development

The real estate development process


Real estate development encompasses a complex and structured process fundamental to turning ideas into reality in the property and construction sector.

It begins with the careful choice of land or property, followed by a detailed feasibility analysis, both technical and economic, that meets the needs of the market. Conversely, planning covers the stages from drawing up the architectural and speciality project to obtaining the necessary legal approvals and licences. Also of note is financing, which is crucial and can involve own resources, investors or bank finance.

During the construction phase, one of the most critical aspects is ensuring efficient management. This includes overseeing the project to ensure it meets the requirements of quality, deadlines, and costs. Efficient management is key to the successful completion of the project and plays a significant role in the overall real estate development process.

Placing the property on the market, whether for sale or rent, involves defining and implementing strategies to attract buyers or tenants. Finally, there is the after-sales support that ensures occupant satisfaction.

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What is the difference between a real estate developer, a builder and a real estate agent?


The three terms often confuse clarification. Although they work symbiosis in the property sector, the differences between real estate developers, builders and agents are related to their roles and responsibilities.

While the developer is as we have seen, the developer is responsible for coordinating the development of projects from conception to final delivery. However, the builder physically executes the work as it was idealised in the real estate developer’s project. The real estate agent acts as an intermediary in property purchase, sale or rental transactions, facilitating negotiations and ensuring compliance with legal formalities.



The real estate developer’s mission is to develop “projects with a positive impact” at all economic, social or environmental levels. To this end, it must act as a liaison between all stakeholders, trusting, supporting, delegating and coordinating to achieve objectives. The Real Estate Developer is also the entity that is always available to its employees, suppliers, clients and other possible participants in the process, ensuring that everyone is aware of the decisions and developments that take place throughout the project.

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