Founders Message

Roland Hopkins, NEREJ Roland Hopkins, NEREJ

Should what happens in England effect what happens in the USA? Not really, but apparently it does as the stock market took a pretty large dive. If you came upon an extra thousand, ten thousand, or even maybe a hundred thousand, where would you safely invest it? You could buy a bunch of scratch tickets and scratch. Your chances of making a profit might be one in ten. You could go to the horse race track and bet only on the favorite in each race. Lots of fun, but the favorite only wins 33% of the time and pays little. You could buy a race horse, but then have to feed him, vet him and find a place for him or her to live (I tried that one). How about investing on the stock market – only blue chip stocks? How could you lose? Oops. England breaks wind and the market crashes the very next day.

Hey, I got an idea. How about buying a piece of real estate? If it’s a small building on a small piece of land, guess what, you insure the building, and even if it burns down, you’re covered, and the land will still be there a hundred years from now – and even longer. So what’s the best investment you can make? Real estate!

Now I will tell you an interesting and true story. I never invested in real estate because I honestly felt it would be competing against my own clients. But I did meet some smart young brokers who when offered a discounted commission on a sale, the discount going into a small ownership of the property, between ten and twenty years later those patient investors woke up very rich. They invested in real estate that never went away and never will go away. Can you imagine the Colosseum in Rome being remodeled into condos? I’m not suggesting to Warren Buffet to sell all his stocks and buy real estate. But speaking of Warren, probably the smartest man in our world, didn’t he open some real estate offices all over the country a few years back. Hmm...I wonder what he was thinking.

Roland Hopkins is founder of the New England Real Estate Journal, Norwell, Mass.