I am writing to you about Opportunity Zones. Apologies if I am outspoken here, but there is a reasonable chance that this is the “biggest thing” to hit the real estate world in perhaps the past thirty or even more years. The Tax Reform Act of 2017 has made a mega-gift to the real estate world.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It will not be published in any traditional media – it will go only to friends of our firm.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®
I have been around for an awfully long time now. Close to 35 years since I started my real estate career in 1984 – after a year in litigation. And, just for amusement, this issue is going out on my sixtieth birthday. I have seen a lot of things happen, including the laws of unintended consequences upend some really smart real estate players. Here are some things I have seen (very smart) people do that have turned out quite badly for them in the end, always to their surprise:Read more
There is something particularly dangerous and awful lurking out there that can potentially destroy just about any business – even a very successful one – and that is letting someone get between you and your “customer.” To be clear what I mean here by “customer,” it could mean:Read more
This article contains my thoughts on which are the ‘best’ books to read in order to build a world class real estate organization. As a philosopher I am supposed to think – of course – that’s what we philosophers do. However, when you really are honest with yourself, you admit that most thinking is built on the thinking of others. You learn something and then you apply it to something else or you build on it, or, just maybe, you break away from what you learned completelyRead more
Sometimes people are brilliant at what they are doing but overlook an opportunity that is right under their noses. So here goes some hopefully useful thinking … What is the absolutely easiest free marketing and sales pitch any company can make in the real estate world – or really in any world? Answer – your name – i.e. the name of your company!Read more
The front page of The Wall Street Journal’s Review section on March 24th – said the following in very large type: The U.K. Is Doing Just Fine, Thanks Hearkening back to July of 2016 – right after Brexit – there were many – and I mean many – that thought the U.K., and London in particular, would get nailed. The fear was that everyone would move away and Britain would be screwed. The Real Estate Philosopher’s article, dated July 11, 2016 was entitled Brexit and London and Talent, Oh My, and my main point – now about 20 months old – was exactly the opposite of the fears of the time. I said in boldface type: London Will be Just Fine! Okay, I was 100% right and (sorry to be a little bit humbuggish here) it is important to examine why I was right. My thinking at the time was as follows:Read more
I start my thinking with a book I read by Howard Marks (of Oak Tree fame). The book is called The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor, and gives a good deal of thoughtful investment advice from a long-term successful investor. Anyway, Marks asks a question at the outset of his book, which is ‘do you want to outperform in the first place?’ Of course you want to outperform you might say, but that answer is very flawed. In order to “out”-perform what must you do? The answer – as Marks points out -- is both obvious and at the same time quite worrisome: You must be ‘different’Read more