You will have to do ugly things to get ahead in real estate

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@Jim K. ,

I agree with many posters here. REI -WILL- stretch your comfort zone. That said, if you find yourself doing anything which conflicts with your principles in any way, you may need to re-evaluate REI or your principles or both.

What I do find is excessive focus on the money and insufficient focus on the business.

In REI we provide safe, secure housing in a way which serves the needs of both the tenant and the owner / landlord. Where either of those is out of balance, you will find conflict. Tenants may take advantage causing stress to the owner / landlord. The Owner / landlord make take advantage causing stress to the tenant. That's just human nature, and it is up to us to maintain our honor and integrity. We can only control our own selves, no one else.

My $0.02 ...

Originally posted by @Steven Harris :

@Mark Cruse , I'm extremely new to BP and I haven't quite started my RE investing career yet, still reading up and trying to "see" how best to get started. But when I read @Jim K.'s comments that included subconsciously wishing that the Black kids playing down the street were White kids because the area would appreciate better, that sentiment screamed systemic racism; a literally baked-in problem in these United States of America.

Thank you Mark & the few others who cared to call him out on his conscious or unconscious racist views.

I specifically mentioned it as an example of how systemic racism in real estate affected me in one instance. And make no mistake, it affected me exactly like a disease. That's why it's called "systemic" and not "systematic" racism.

Originally posted by @Steven Harris :

@Mark Cruse , I'm extremely new to BP and I haven't quite started my RE investing career yet, still reading up and trying to "see" how best to get started. But when I read @Jim K. 's comments that included subconsciously wishing that the Black kids playing down the street were White kids because the area would appreciate better, that sentiment screamed systemic racism; a literally baked-in problem in these United States of America.

Again, I'm new to BP and only came here after reading Rental Property Investing by @Brandon Turner but I can't help but be a little disappointed to have read so many replies to that particular post that made 0 mention of the racist perspectives he boldly laid out in bullet points!

That particular perspective is held by so many people in so many different areas of business; all of which are vitally important to getting fair pay, access to "nice" houses in "good" neighborhoods, etc. The subconscious or maybe not so subconscious belief that Black people or all low income minorities devalue neighborhoods and destroy property is a very hasty generalization of the whole based on behaviors of the few. As you pointed out Mark, you have units in predominately low income White neighborhoods and those areas are plagued by the *few* who disrespect, devalue and otherwise make unsafe the area. Yet the baked-in narrative remains that low income Black people and minorities, by virtue of their ethnicity destroy and devalue while White people, by virtue of their ethnicity only always add value.

When it's time for me to rent out my apartments, regardless of race I will implement the same consideration process for all. Rental history matters. Source of income matters. Previous landlord references will matter to a certain degree only because I know it's possible to get a bad reference simply because of a personality difference that could have nothing to do with how promptly rents were paid and how well the apartment was kept.

Thank you Mark & the few others who cared to call him out on his conscious or unconscious racist views.

Just as a data point out here in Oregon were the population is about 90% white  8% hispanic and 2% everyone else.

our neighborhoods are just like any other neighborhoods in virtually every city.. Poor is poor  those that dont take care of their property and let their neighborhoods go down in value know no color lines in this area..  in this are they are known as tweakers and white trash .

I have spent better part of 20 years loaning money and owning houses in Jackson MS.. I even lived there for a year.. And i see the same thing there in that city..  its 80 % black.. you have the ghetto war zone .. West Jackson   you have C class blue color pretty tough to manage area of rentals  South Jackson  you have nicer predominately homeowners in north east and north Jackson but the value between the neighborhoods can be substantial yet the demographics are all the same. .. so within the same race there is neighborhood segregation .. just like older NE cities that segregated by European ethnicity  IE Germans lived here the Polish lived here the Jews lived here the Italians  lived here. 

I think something is missed in this whole argument folks tend to want to live where they are comfortable and within their ethnic or religious communities.. I mean just look at the Jewish faith Or the Mormons 

the rest of the social issues are on full display on the news every day..  Hispanic gang bangers  black gangs  skin heads  Aryans etc etc.

now out here in Portland we have a new one  ANTIFA the white 30 year old stupid as dirt hates everything loves to destroy others properties and thinks they are social justice warriors. 

Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs :
Originally posted by @Mark Cruse:

@Jim K. It just seems like you have some unattended to deep seated issues that are eating away at you. Most of the stuff you are alluding to I have NEVER heard any of my landlord associates talk about. It will be changing soon but I have all class D units and none of that applies in my mind. I started out there because I can handle risk, and the higher the risk the higher the reward. It was a good training ground to equip me for anything. Iḿ nice and fair by nature but like someone said earlier, I take the middle of the road approach. This is my business and the goal in any business or any job is to make a living for you and your family. I have a place for them to live and they need a place to live. In fact, I feel great about it because in so many cases no one gives a damn about them, will exploit them and never give them any kind of chance I would. If they could do better and go somewhere else, most would. They cant. With me they get a fair landlord that treats them decent and a decent place to live in. In terms of wishing little kids were white, some can interpret that as racist. I know its a common mindset and this is America with its current political climate,  but itś not that Black and White. No pun intended. That ideology is what leads to redlining and bigoted business models. If this is something you ponder often, you probably subconsciously treat them different and should not invest in minority communities.  I have had several tenants from several demographics. Most have been low income whites and behavior has more to do with class levels as opposed to their pigment. Yes, I get the over all notion. Yes, in general a white area is perceived as more valuable but its so many things that go into it. Pouring white paint on the face of those kids wont do it. Come to the Curtis Bay/Brooklyn  area of Baltimore. Predominately low income whites with high crime and poverty. I have units there which do not appreciate and creates nothing but problems many would associate with other demographics. Buy some units there and tell me what color you would be wishing they are next. I guess you were posing the question to someone else but it came from somewhere. Either way, nothing you said so far is anything to feel guilty about over all. Treat people good, give them respect and treat them no different than the class B and A and its all good!

Mark, I actually made it a point to Meet Jim and his wife on my last trip to visit one of my vendors north of his town.

I walked through some of his units.. they are by far some of the nicest rehabs for rentals I have ever seen in my 20 plus years of funding probably close to 5k of these rental units that all you folks buy..  And he is self taught on how the components work etc.. Jim and his wife are the farthest thing from a slumlord .. I have seen slumlords in the deep south I understand the difference. 

Thanks Jay, but I kind of knew it was going to happen as soon as I typed it. I've reached out to Mark. This has become toxic.

Originally posted by @Terri FY :
Originally posted by @Jim K.:
Originally posted by @Terri FY:
 First of all, the conversation was between Mark & I calling out Jim K's racist comment he made in bullet 1) @ the start of his post he created.  RE should be a business where you're helping solve someone's RE problem regardless of anyones ethnic, socioeconomic background.   It should be a win-win for everyone involved in the RE transaction everytime.  Apparently, u have a problem knowing that racism exist in RE, because let me guess--it doesn't affect u and/or your family.  In that case, why don't u go finish rehabbing somebody's house or whatever u do.  Or, perhaps if u reread & think about Mark & my comments, u may learn something.

Originally posted by @Bruce Woodruff:

@Terri FY Maybe its the people who turn everything into a race issue who are the real problem.

Terri, you have four posts, a made-up last name, and no location or pic. If you think "U may learn something" from your posts, it's that you have no skin in the game but a boatload of opinions. You sound like a broke baloney peddler trying to justify to yourself why you have nothing except disjointed hot air indicating a complete lack of writing ability to contribute here. If anyone says or writes the words "white" and "black" around you, oh no, they've punched the race button, time for Terri to start the illiterate squawking. That's all you've shown yourself to be in this discussion. Now, go ahead, call me a racist again. That's what you know. And I think that's all you know.

 "To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a state of rage almost, almost all of the time — and in one's work. And part of the rage is this: It isn't only what is happening to you. But it's what's happening all around you and all of the time in the face of the most extraordinary and criminal indifference, indifference of most white people in this country, and their ignorance. Now, since this is so, it's a great temptation to simplify the issues under the illusion that if you simplify them enough, people will recognize them. I think this illusion is very dangerous because, in fact, it isn't the way it works. A complex thing can't be made simple. You simply have to try to deal with it in all its complexity and hope to get that complexity across."

James Baldwin

Jim K,

I hope everything works out well in your business, & I hope u solve your issues, particularly your racism.  Have a good day, & be blessed.

p.s.  Everything in your last post to me was untrue; Everything, perhaps except my # of posts regarding your initial post; I didn't keep count, but apparently, u did! Chow!

Ciao.

@Jim K. Agree. I started cleaning in this business by running my own units. Did the maintenance, cleaned the Toilets, collections, fixing doors after a break in… sewage back ups… you name it I did it. I didn’t have the money to pay anyone to do anything so I did it.

I remember one particular situation where I kept some of a tenants security deposit because he left the place trashed.

As he called me screaming on the phone he left the place spotless, ironically I was in his bathroom scrubbing and sent him a picture in real time of his own pubes.

Yeah… you got to get your hands dirty at times LOL. The tenant then continued to berate me that I’m a rich landlord and am trying to screw him. The joke was on him though I was almost broke and just made out my credit cards to pay for a new washer and dryer I had to replace due to his negligence.

I can’t say I have not become slightly emotional on a collection call from time to time when I see new cars, new furniture, satellite TV, and no rent payments but… I’m not a perfect person.

Alas, in the end RE has been good to me and I’m not about to break my moral code because someone else has no moral code. You have to follow the letter of the law in reality and in spirit in this business and all business in general. No short term gain is worth long term pain.

But yes…. You have to do some nasty things if you want to make it from the ground up and are

Not coming into the game with a half million to spend.

Wow, what a topic. Thanks for all the mentions and everyone who contributed substantive analysis in regards to this topic. Like others mentioned, it was a disturbing comment that appeared to be very consistent with the current climate for many in America. I do see several non-minority members here who stated that they concurred by liking my posts. However, until I mentioned it, it appeared that no even even slightly picked up on it as anything abnormal. Maybe no one really noticed. One person even expressed that they dont see anything wrong with the post at  and  was wondering what the big deal was. My point here is these are the things minorities have to deal with nearly every day of their lives and are consistently told by others we are lying, complaining too much or its not a big deal. As illustrated earlier this is precisely the very direct ideologies (amongst other things) that has without question robbed millions of minorities of billions in collective generational wealth. In addition it continues and leads to certain segments of society consistent and assured despair/misery. As stated, most of my tenants are low income whites but their behavior would NEVER be tied to their ethnicity like the ones of color. By looking at them, it will never be assumed that they are lazy, a gang banger, a drug dealer or a threat of someone who wants to harm them and society. Unfortunately, for the darker one´s this will be the normalized perception. Iḿ an educated business owner veteran and am still perceived this way by certain people. This business is much more complicated than having all your tenants being white. The sad part is this isnt the first kind of comment of this nature Ive heard from landlords here. When I did hear them, on a 100 percentile basis not one was a person of color. In the DC and Baltimore region we have several but I sincerely hope that one day there is a substantial increase in minority land lording. With all the turmoil I have had in my portfolio, I never once thought of blaming it on their white skin. As stated before, I implore that if any landlord has racial bias or fear of minorities you will not be good at it in those areas. Stick to the places where you feel good about the ethnicity and your incredible property value.  In closing, this was a great topic and many great things that needed to be said have been said. 

Originally posted by @Terri FY :
 First of all, the conversation was between Mark & I calling out Jim K's racist comment he made in bullet 1) @ the start of his post he created.  RE should be a business where you're helping solve someone's RE problem regardless of anyones ethnic, socioeconomic background.   It should be a win-win for everyone involved in the RE transaction everytime.  Apparently, u have a problem knowing that racism exist in RE, because let me guess--it doesn't affect u and/or your family.  In that case, why don't u go finish rehabbing somebody's house or whatever u do.  Or, perhaps if u reread & think about Mark & my comments, u may learn something.

Originally posted by @Bruce Woodruff:

@Terri FY Maybe its the people who turn everything into a race issue who are the real problem.

You have zero credibility. Are you even in the Real Estate business? If so, list your accomplishments. I suspect that you are simply a rabble rouser that stalks the internet in search of anything with the word 'black' in it so you can start the name calling.

@Jim K.

A plumber by trade, some of the most run down, cost chomping customers have been The ones that own low income properties. Some of the best paying customers they want the job done right for the long run I have also been landlords. Much like life you got to work through the bad to get to the good

I've had many positive interactions previously on BP (including with @Jim K. and @Bruce Woodruff ).  I've also run into some trolls.  I wouldn't pretend to know the heart of most men I've met, much less those I've come across on a real estate website, but @Terri FY struck me as sincere.  Of course, I could be wrong...

@Mark Cruse

It was provocative and unnecessary I bet he wishes he wouldn’t have said it.  But I don’t think he is racist he was using it to illustrate cynically the real estate business and some “ugly” truths.  I would bet most people feel like I do who are reading this thread, even if they don’t completely agree with you would hope you that you accept an apology for any offense.  Especially because I have no living in real poverty, or being black.


best of luck to you,

@Jim K. Doing “ugly” things is not a guarantee for success in any niche including being the master of doing ugly things. While watching and hearing about people doing horrible things to get to the top may make us feel like we should change our plan, it has never been worth it if it is out of your character.

Some people are just known as a**holes all their life and nobody expects anything better from that person. I learned a long time ago that people only do what you allow them to, and it is a shame that a lot more of us don’t stand up.

In my journey to become a real estate investor, I get daily reminders that if I don’t know who I am, What I stand for, what I want, and how to do it, I won’t succeed.

I have a buddy who was probably the nicest person I had ever known. He had a unique idea for a business, but in order for it to succeed, he had to be a jerk or hire jerks. Day in and out he would embody this, and that became his mindset. He reached his goals, but lost a ton of respect and friends.

I said all of this to say, know who you are, figure out what you stand for, what you want to do, and how to get there. If how you get there requires you to not be who you are, you are faced with the decision to either adopt that mindset, find another way to succeed, or pick a different goal.

Anybody can learn to do anything, so figure it out and reach for the stars! Wishing you the best!

Originally posted by @Chris John :

I've had many positive interactions previously on BP (including with @Jim K. and @Bruce Woodruff ).  I've also run into some trolls.  I wouldn't pretend to know the heart of most men I've met, much less those I've come across on a real estate website, but @Terri FY struck me as sincere.  Of course, I could be wrong...

 Chris,

Thank u, & I am very sincere.

@Eric Bilderback never once did I allude to him being a racist. Clearly it was a racist remark but my vigor was not directed to him directly. I made light of how it was racist in nature which most didnt seem to detect and further illustrated how these sometimes subconscious bigoted mindsets devastates so many in minority communities. I made light that though it may not be a big deal to some, I was showing how stuff like this creates astronomical damage to others. I was hoping that when people insinuate we are making it all up or complaining about nothing, they can ponder some of the things mentioned here. And like I sated, those with these mindsets can better serve society and all communities if they stay out of these places they have such negative color based perceptions of. This is not the first time I have heard stuff like that here so its a general comment; not directed to him personally.  

Originally posted by @Terri FY :
Originally posted by @Chris John:

I've had many positive interactions previously on BP (including with @Jim K. and @Bruce Woodruff ).  I've also run into some trolls.  I wouldn't pretend to know the heart of most men I've met, much less those I've come across on a real estate website, but @Terri FY struck me as sincere.  Of course, I could be wrong...

 Chris,

Thank u, & I am very sincere.

Where's your skin in the game? How many rentals do you own or manage? Where in American are you? What do you look like? Why don't you have a history of commenting AT ALL in these forums if it means so much to you and these topics are so near and dear to you.

Because from my perspective, it looks like you just commented using a thoroughly anonymous profile to paint me as a racist. Rather illiterately, which annoys me more than your attempted character assassination.

Originally posted by @Mark Cruse :

@Eric Bilderback never once did I allude to him being a racist. Clearly it was a racist remark but my vigor was not directed to him directly. I made light of how it was racist in nature which most didnt seem to detect and further illustrated how these sometimes subconscious bigoted mindsets devastates so many in minority communities. I made light that though it may not be a big deal to some, I was showing how stuff like this creates astronomical damage to others. I was hoping that when people insinuate we are making it all up or complaining about nothing, they can ponder some of the things mentioned here. And like I sated, those with these mindsets can better serve society and all communities if they stay out of these places they have such negative color based perceptions of. This is not the first time I have heard stuff like that here so its a general comment; not directed to him personally.  

I have absolutely no beef with and could not take any offense at any of Mark's comments. He's right. I did make a racist statement. I made it as a fully-aware example of how the business has tried to warp my mind. That's the meaning behind the word "systemic" in the term "systemic racism." We call diseases systemic, and this kind of racism is, at least to my mind, very much a disease, even a kind of leprosy on this country.

Originally posted by @Mark Cruse :

Wow, what a topic. Thanks for all the mentions and everyone who contributed substantive analysis in regards to this topic. Like others mentioned, it was a disturbing comment that appeared to be very consistent with the current climate for many in America. I do see several non-minority members here who stated that they concurred by liking my posts. However, until I mentioned it, it appeared that no even even slightly picked up on it as anything abnormal. Maybe no one really noticed. One person even expressed that they dont see anything wrong with the post at  and  was wondering what the big deal was. My point here is these are the things minorities have to deal with nearly every day of their lives and are consistently told by others we are lying, complaining too much or its not a big deal. As illustrated earlier this is precisely the very direct ideologies (amongst other things) that has without question robbed millions of minorities of billions in collective generational wealth. In addition it continues and leads to certain segments of society consistent and assured despair/misery. As stated, most of my tenants are low income whites but their behavior would NEVER be tied to their ethnicity like the ones of color. By looking at them, it will never be assumed that they are lazy, a gang banger, a drug dealer or a threat of someone who wants to harm them and society. Unfortunately, for the darker one´s this will be the normalized perception. Iḿ an educated business owner veteran and am still perceived this way by certain people. This business is much more complicated than having all your tenants being white. The sad part is this isnt the first kind of comment of this nature Ive heard from landlords here. When I did hear them, on a 100 percentile basis not one was a person of color. In the DC and Baltimore region we have several but I sincerely hope that one day there is a substantial increase in minority land lording. With all the turmoil I have had in my portfolio, I never once thought of blaming it on their white skin. As stated before, I implore that if any landlord has racial bias or fear of minorities you will not be good at it in those areas. Stick to the places where you feel good about the ethnicity and your incredible property value.  In closing, this was a great topic and many great things that needed to be said have been said. 

Mark, I agree 100% with everything u said.  This discussion was quite interesting.  So glad we get it, lol!

Jim said this: "Have you ever caught yourself looking at a bunch of black kids playing on a street you own a property on and wishing they were white kids so that your property value would go up?"

The definition of racist is this: "having, reflecting, or fostering the belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race" - Merriam Webster

So actually Jim did not make a racist statement, not a word about one race being superior.....at worst we could call it prejudiced or biased......



"You will have to do ugly things to get ahead in real estate"   agree or disagree - 

I read most of the 95 posts. There were two interpretations of the definition of ugly. The 1st was morally or ethically ugly, {taking unfair advantage}  the second was esthetically ugly, but morally positive {cleaning trashed houses} I found it unfair that OP was called out for supposedly being racist for admitting that a racist thought can make an appearance even in the mind of someone who is opposed to the evils of racism.   The point Jim K was making was that this is a symptom of systemic racism. Even a woke social justice warrior can recognize that systemic racism is so pervasive that nearly everyone is affected by it.  Because it is embedded in our institutions, our systems, our culture, and especially our economy. In other words, everything. 

Those who attacked Jim and called him a racist remind me of the ridiculous character played by Stephen Colbert a few years back who claimed that he could not see color - to the point where Colbert's character claimed he did not know if he himself was white or black.  If you are claiming that recognizing the existence of racial thoughts is a form of racism, well that is denialism. And denying the existence of racism can be part of a racist belief system.  

So most of the discussion was about that.  As to the meat of the original post itself, most posters agreed that it is not necessary to be an evil landlord to make good money at this business. Most posters agreed that turning ugly houses into habitable housing often involved dealing with disgusting or ugly "before" conditions.  I summarize the answers as: do morally ugly things: NO. Deal with ugly houses? Yes.

My answer is no to both types of ugly.  You can make money with new homes, clean homes, industrial, commercial, etc.  There are many ways to add value, rehabbing is just one tool in the box.