Real estate just became its own separate asset class. However, ironically, that may have occurred just at the moment it should have been morphing more deeply into other asset classes. Don’t get me wrong, as a real estate professional I am very happy about real estate being named as its own investment class; however, it is worth taking stock of what is actually happening around us and its implications.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It will not be published in any traditional media – it will go only to friends of our firm.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®
One of the most important things for any real estate business and, indeed, any business is a successful marketing program. Of course in our hearts we want to believe that if we just do something great then everyone will figure it out and be impressed. But alas, that is just not true. Indeed, Einstein flunked physics and couldn’t land a job. And everyone has an example of a super-talented person that ends up just toiling in the trenches for someone else. Like it or not, the world belongs to the marketers. And I believe that this will increase more and more over time. Someone – but I cannot find the exact quote – said something like this:Read more
I have been watching â€“ and our firm has been participating in â€“ the co-working trend. It started with Regus when it was founded in 1989 but didnâ€™t really go anywhere until WeWork captured everyoneâ€™s imagination with its trendy platform. Since then, numerous competitors have entered the market, each with its own twist to appeal to different parties.Read more
My law firm is in NYC handling real estate transactions in the US that originate from counterparties based all over the world. A bunch of these transactions depend on money coming in from China (debt or equity or other structure). It used to be there was always a degree of uncertainty about the viability of this capital, but this uncertainty was gradually diminishing as more Chinese players developed stature and reputation in the US.Read more
Let me tell you an interesting story about a professor who teaches a course in entrepreneurship. He starts his course by reading the notes from the founding partners meeting from the original meeting of the founders (now about 70 years ago). It goes something like this:Read more
Sometimes someone tells you something that is so ridiculously obvious but so dramatic to everything you have ever thought about, that it kind of shocks the heck out of you. So here is something that just sent me for a loop. It is a certainly philosophical in nature, so that fits in well in this publication â€“ and it concerns the juxtaposition between luck and skill and how the two are intertwined.Read more
As you may have heard by now, real estate is set to become a separate asset class on the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) and the S&P 500, separating it from the Financials Sector. Notably mortgage REIT's will be left behind in the Financials Sector under a newly created sub-industry group called...you guessed it...Mortgage REIT's. What are the implications of this? I think they are dramatic and possibly one of the biggest changes to the real estate investment world since the internet popped up twenty some-odd years ago and made information freely available.Read more
I was reading this morning about a superstar Olympic hopeful. A woman named Simone Biles (check her out). She is the top gymnast in the world right now — and the United States has high hopes for her in Rio. During her rise to greatness, she fell a lot (off the balance beam and in other places), but she kept on winning because she kept on doing things — and taking chances -- that no one else could do, or dared to try. Maybe she fell a lot because she was pushing the edge of possibility in gymnastics rather than playing it safe. Maybe that is why she is the top gymnast in the world — because she was not afraid to fall — and to fail?Read more