For the Love of Real Estate
When I was a kid growing up, I thought of real estate as kind of a cheesy profession. I don’t know why as I had no experience with what real estate was or how complex it could be. Maybe it was all those stereotyped pictures of Realtors? The real estate I knew was open houses conducted in model homes for large housing developments where all the homes were one of five versions offered. I grew up in south Orange County, California, wink wink.
It was not until after I met Stacey that I began to understand the true nature of real estate. Sort of.
First, real estate is multi-faceted. There’s residential real estate, commercial real estate, development, syndications, flipping, and investment properties. Within each of these categories are even more subsets, such as income properties, multi-family developments, new constructions, custom homes, hotels...the list goes on and on! Suffice to say, real estate is not ‘cheesy’ and boring, as I had once thought it to be. Quite the contrary, real estate is interesting and something I feel like I’ll never know everything about.
As it is, I have focused my expertise of real estate on residential luxury properties in the beach communities of Los Angeles. My husband, Stacey, is quite the expert in 2-4 unit income properties, luxury homes, investment properties, new constructions, flips, numbers, and design. The man is well versed and when it comes to real estate in this capacity, he knows his stuff. I feel grateful to have had him as a mentor all these years, yet I don’t know if I’ll ever be at his level when it comes to real estate.
You see, Stacey has a natural ability to see what others do not. He can look at a property with vision and foresight, able to see the best in project, not just what is presented to him. Because of this, he has helped many clients sell their homes for extraordinary amounts of money, far surpassing other Realtors proposals. Likewise, he has helped many buyer clients get the best deals on homes and helped them to create their own value after their purchase.
What has impressed me the most about Stacey is his uncanny ability to play with numbers in his head. I have stood by and witnessed him manipulate numbers, calculate mortgage payments based on interest rates, and easily assess value on properties. Sadly for me, this is not something that can be wholly learned--I truly believe is a God given gift and natural born ability. Still, I have learned how to properly assess a property, see beyond its face value, and after watching Stacey play with numbers so easily for so many years, something numerical in me clicked. Now I am also able to work numbers around much more fluently in my own head; I’m not quite at the ease and grace of Stacey and I still whip out my calculator many times, but I understand the basis for where the numbers come from and where they should be going.
Real Estate is exciting because it’s a combination of reason, intuition, calculated speculation, and surprise anomalies. As much as we want to predict market trends, interest rates, housing prices, etc, there is always a margin of the unseen in real estate. Covid, for example. Who could have predicted that such a dire situation would create a real estate extravaganza? A housing shortage, of all things! In the beginning of the pandemic, things looked bleak and unsteady, but, as we learn time and time again through the history of humanity, people don’t give up so easily. Even when the world seemed to be crashing down on top of us, people still wanted to buy, sell, move, and create better for themselves.
Covid demanded a paradigm shift and the people responded. Real estate adapted quickly to the changing world and the market showed up to validate the necessity of good Realtors and brokers.
As most wealthy people will tell you, real estate is an excellent way to invest your money because not only does it pay you back in high dividends, it also gives you a place to house your family members, create lovely living spaces for the people in a neighborhood, own vacation property, or make a viable income through income properties or commercial investments. Even the single home or condo owner has likely made a smart investment that will pay back in either money or security of living, both being highly valuable in today’s world.
One of the only wealthy people I know of that doesn’t like investing in real estate is Elon Musk, and I think we can all agree that he is an extraterrestrial here to help us learn some extraordinary things--I just can’t compare that man to anyone! He lives beyond the status quo in all ways, including the premise that “rich people own real estate”.
So is real estate cheesy? I think not. Maybe the idea of Realtors and their corny pictures get our eyes rolling, but even those headshots serve an important purpose. People selling residential real estate (hello, self) need to connect with the people they’re representing or trying to represent. But to lump the gigantic megalith that is real estate under some agent’s smile is a huge mistake. Real estate goes far beyond the postcards and bus benches that represent it and deep into the fabric of not only American, but international, culture. Real estate represents wealth, security, freedom, and ownership.
While some may choose to buy and share their land with others, building communes and off-the-grid living environments, others may choose to purchase a home where they can hole away forever, living in solitude away from the world. Some build developments, others strip-malls. There are farms and vineyards, while many people prefer to maintain undeveloped land, preserving nature in all her glory. Most of us, however, buy our property with the intention of creating a loving home with gilded memories. And this, friends, is anything but cheesy. For the love of real estate, I happily engage another work day.