I have always loved real estate. Not only the buy and sell aspect but the building aspect, the investing aspect, the big picture aspect and obviously the technology part too. I am sitting on a panel at the Inman News event conference on January 16th at 10am. Brad has made a serious mark in the real estate arena and I was fortunate enough to sit on the Curbed board with him for several years.
When Fred and I first graduated from college we honestly knew nothing about real estate. Most of our learning experiences on real estate startedwhen we first began to work. Renting our first apartment, what it cost, the location and all the other factors that come into play. We took in NYC with gusto. We'd walk from one end of the town to another when ever we could exploring different neighborhoods. To this day I can still go into random neighborhoods and see the changes because we touched every corner. We'd dream of owning a large plot of land in NYC and building a huge parking lot. At that point we certainly understood that value.
Years later before we bought our own first apartment our friend was telling us about a commercial property that was owned by his grandfather out in the midwest. It has been given as a gift to both him and his sister. Every ten years they would take out a new mortgage on the property, split the amount of cash they took from it because they had the proper tenants in place that would cover the monthly mortgage. We thought that was utterly brilliant. Once you owned a property with value you could continue to pull value from it eternally. Of course everything has to fit into place.
Needless to say our first major purchase was an apartment. We definitely overpaid into a building that was converting into a co-op and boy did we learn a lot. Fred stepped up to the plate and got on the board. Renegotiating the lease for the grocery store and parking lot in the building and I believe the mortgage on the property too. The lawyer who worked on this ended up becoming one of our friends for life. He is still our real estate lawyer today.
Fast forward, we have purchased more than our share of personal property and we have moved many times, upgrading as we went along. I believe that I have invested in companies that are changing the way the real estate world works. Sweeten, a community that connects people renovating their homes with the right contractor that has been fully vetted. Nestio, an online and mobile app that allows landlords, owners and brokers to get real time data in regards to rentals. Architizer, changing the way that architects source and collect all their materials and a place where the consumers can discover architects. Curbed, a place to get content on anything happening in the real estate market nationally and locally. We are also investors in a company that builds commercial and residential properties. A nice umbrella overseeing what is happening in the real estate world. Each are unique, Curbed has recently sold to Vox (thrilled for them!) and each give me a birds eye view into the real estate marketplace.
I am actually looking to expand our real estate world looking at buildings to buy in areas that are up and coming. That alone is a full time job but it is something I am interested in and enjoy. Truth is I'd love to buy a place and build a hotel but I might have to hold off on that until at least Josh goes to college.