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Real Estate Developers

History

The United States is a relatively young country without a long history of densely populated cities. In Europe, however, there is evidence of urban areas from as far back as 3,000 years ago. In areas of early Roman settlement, archaeologists have discovered the remnants of street grids, sewage lines, and uniform construction indicating some level of formal planning. Since the Middle Ages, cities like Paris have had municipal regulations governing the placement and use of buildings.

Such planning and regulations emerge when many people try to live harmoniously in a limited space. In these situations, land is expensive. Construction of homes, roads for travel, or public buildings for commerce and government requires a substantial investment of money. The developer is the entrepreneur who sees an opportunity to make money by providing services, in the form of buildings or infrastructure, to the community. The developer's role is to envision development, organize investors to fund land purchase and construction, and oversee the project.

Individuals have played this role in much the same way as long as people have lived in settled communities. What has changed, and what continues to change, are the zoning laws and building codes regulating development and the tax laws affecting the organization of the development entity.

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