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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It will not be published in any traditional media – it will go only to friends of our firm.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.


Bruce Stachenfeld
a.k.a The Real Estate Philosopher®

You Will Never “Find” a “Good” Deal Again

Jun 28, 2019

The title to this article sounds needlessly provocative, but – alas – I think I am right here in what I am saying. The (good?) old days are gone. Those were the days where people looked for deals and sometimes “found” “good” ones. They would get setups from brokers and hear about them and then they would try to do them.

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The “Formula” for “Success” in the Real Estate World – This is Exactly What to Do – Truly!

Feb 28, 2019

Why is it that when I ping the top guy/gal at a real estate company at 11 P.M. on a Saturday night – because I had an idea – she/he responds by 11:15 P.M.? Why is it that many of the top people in the real estate world still cold-call people when they don’t have to do that any more? Why do some people succeed in building incredible franchises and others just don’t?

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Ten (Not So Obvious) Predictions for 2019 in Real Estate

Jan 7, 2019

Only foolish people try to predict things. Well, actually, that is not true. Smart people make continuous outrageous predictions. When they are right – which happens by chance to pretty much everyone at some point – they crow about how prescient they have been. When they are wrong – which usually happens way more than 50% for most predictors – they rely upon either (i) the fact that everyone will forget what they predicted or (ii) a revisionist claim that their prediction wasn’t really a certainty anyway, or what they meant was…..

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Dear City Council of New York City - Please do not Impose Commercial Rent Control on New York City

Nov 6, 2018

I ask you nicely. Please do not impose commercial rent control. I love New York City and this will really hurt us. I appreciate that those in favor really wish to do something “good”. But with all my heart, soul and intellect I ask you to reconsider. The free market certainly can be harsh – and indeed it is certainly the worst form of regulation – except for all the others….Commercial rent regulation will be a very bad thing.

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Anti-Fragility – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Aug 30, 2018

Some of the greatest “thinkers” are often not afraid to get ideas from other people – and so it is for The Real Estate Philosopher. My thinking in this article comes from Nassim Nicholas Taleb, in his new book called Antifragile.

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How to Avoid Getting Taken Advantage of in a Real Estate Deal

Jul 19, 2018

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:

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Real estate
Peter Drucker
Michael Porter
Power Niche
Creating Value
Capital Providers
Five Forces
Peter Thiel
Seth Godin
Uniqueness Challenge
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