As an aside, a lucky break that didn’t seem lucky at the time – in the distant past now -- was many years of depressing purgatory at a couple of major law firms where I was on the ‘loser track.’ And if you are a lawyer reading this, you know what I mean. There is nothing like having some humility whipped into you when you are young enough to learn from it. Consider the most obvious decision for a law firm, namely, how many lawyers to hire. If you hire too many, you have overcapacity, and if you don’t hire enough, you have under capacity – either of which can be tragic. However, when you are making hiring decisions, you don’t know how much work will come in the door in the coming year, i.e., will it be a Global Financial Crisis year or a COVID year coming up, or a robust year. So you do the best you can. Interestingly, I have been wrong almost every year in making this kind of decision.Read more
As the Chairman of Duval & Stachenfeld – a law firm in mid-town NYC known as The Pure Play in Real Estate Law – I am inviting you to join The Real Estate Philosopher®. This will consist of my thoughts and also thoughts of friends and colleagues.
It will not be published in any traditional media – it will go only to friends of our firm. The purpose here is very simple – to put forth thoughts in the real estate world that are different, provocative, and challenging of accepted wisdom. Hopefully, nothing said here will be mainstream thinking.
You may be wondering how I am qualified to write on these topics since I am “just” a lawyer. However, I have an unusual place in the real estate world. As the Chairman of The Pure Play in Real Estate Law (one of the largest real estate law practices in NYC), I interact with an incredible number of real estate players. This ranges from small real estate shops with nothing but a gleam in their eyes, to some of the largest real estate institutions in the world, and everything in between. This gives me a unique and global perspective and allows me to act as an amateur philosopher in the real estate world. This has always been my hobby and it is what I love doing.
a.k.a The Real Estate Philosopher®
There will be a real estate point made at the end of this article, I promise. Please do enjoy the rest of it…. So let’s see if I have this right. The reason that Bitcoin is valuable is because they won’t make more of it. It is not the greater fool theory, right? If so, I want to talk about our hedgehog. For those of you that don’t know, the hedgehog at my law firm is a very powerful unifying principle. It stands for the proposition that we really care about our lawyers and our clients, and it is not just because the lawyers bill hours and the clients give us money. It is because there is something special in the relationship.Read more
I have been positive on NYC since people started writing it off a year ago – I guess everyone knows that by now. You may find this hard to believe, but I think I missed the biggest reason for positivity. And this is a reason why I am now even more of a NYC bull than before. I give credit for this thinking to Donna Olshan, President of Olshan Realty.Read more
The last time I stuck my neck way out, it was to pound the table that we would have a Big V Recovery, a phrase I coined. I was dead-on accurate that time, so this means I must be right this time, right? I am just kidding, but I am sticking my neck out again right now and saying that this is the best time ever to purchase, invest in, and otherwise play in the retail space. Let me get right into it:Read more
So it seems like there is a decent chance that the tax on capital gains will swing to 40% from 20%, or something close to that. So my Opp Zone partners and I were kicking around how this would affect Opportunity Zones, and it is pretty obvious…..Read more
Right now, interest rates – and inflation – have been tame for so long that I wonder if we are not really considering a possible imminent outcome, which is that due to all the government spending, inflation goes kind of crazy to the upside. If so, have you considered what would happen to your investments in real estate? Would it hurt your existing deals by reducing the value of what you own? Would it cause defaults on indebtedness? Would your borrowers not be able to make their payments? Would your tenants not be able to pay their rent? Are there CPI hurdles in the documentation that would harm your investments? Would other negative outcomes ensue? To be clear, I am NOT predicting that that will happen. Trying to think ahead, I know I don’t know whether there will be inflation coming, but I am wondering if maybe we are just too used to ridiculously low-interest rates. I mean, the ten-year T-Bill getting near 2% “feels” kind of high, doesn’t it?Read more
Alas, I am not as famous as Seinfeld (at least not yet), but we said the same things about NYC only a few months ago, and it is starting to look like we have a solid point. To start out by being just a bit of an apologetic humbug, I will note that I have been writing non-stop about the strength and power of NYC as the place to invest in – and lend on – real estate...Read more
Hello, real estate friends. Welcome to 2021. I am guessing you might feel a sense of relief that 2020 is over with. COVID is still circulating and as awful as ever – and actually worse than ever - but at the same time, 2021 looms up ahead of us with the hope of better times to come. Here are my thoughts as a mixture of trends I am seeing plus some predictions for this year:Read more