When is enough enough? How many homes does one need!?

184 Replies

@David Smit This is a lot thread but I pretty much agree with @Clifford Paul statement. Also don’t compare a public company or REIT to private landlords. It’s comparing apples to oranges. When hedge funds or private equity groups buy all these homes they do it knowing they’ll go public to get their money back and make it a liquid investment People may think it’s greed to own a lot of properties and that’s fine. Most of these people will likely also be poor. It’s not greed, it’s just capitalism and diversifying investments.
Originally posted by @Anthony Wick :
@David Smit You’re living in a fantasy world if you think if any one person owns less units then it means others will own a couple. Life simply doesn’t work that way. There’s enough for everybody, but not everybody is ambitious and hard working. I could literally give away a property to some people and they’d say no thanks.

I did give away a duplex a few years back to someone on BP  free and clear duplex... I did it for an experiment.. it was a surplus property I got in a partnership divorce and did not want to mess with it.. I could have wholesaled it but it though it would be fun to give it away.

I got good responses.. but like you said I would have thought thousands of people would have responded to a free property but in fact less than 50 .. Although I did have a restriction that the people had to give me POF that they had the ability to rehab it.. so being this is the US and lots of beginners on this site that did weed a lot of them out who could not show 30k in a bank account.

@Jay Hinrichs The best part of wealth is indeed the ability to do such things. Only reason I’d care to be wealthy. Giving is far better than receiving indeed! If I’m honest with myself I fear what great wealth could do to me personally. 

@David Smit

The conservative financial planner David Ramsey often puts forward the parable of the Good Samaritan whenever he talks about what money is really good for. I would say we have far more accessible, immediately relevant  examples, people like Oskar Schindler.

Money may turn many men into monsters but it also gives decent people power to do decent things in the world.

Originally posted by @Jim K. :

@David Smit

The conservative financial planner David Ramsey often puts forward the parable of the Good Samaritan whenever he talks about what money is really good for. I would say we have far more accessible, immediately relevant  examples, people like Oskar Schindler.

Money may turn many men into monsters but it also gives decent people power to do decent things in the world.

like the Billionaires club that are giving away 90% of their monies to charities around the world..  Led by Gates and Buffet..  

Originally posted by @Leon Li :
@David Smit

Once you reach that wealth level you will understand. Why does Bezos continue to work so hard to achieve new heights, why did he buy whole foods, and now healthcare company and blue origin to go out of space? Conquering mars and reaching his ultimate goal maybe? World domination or maybe God complex. Who knows. Everyone has different goals.

Cause he is greedy?

Originally posted by @David Smit :

Perhaps I have an inner socialist I’m not aware of, but I have to ask the community, when is enough enough as it pertains to number of units owned?

How often they ask on the podcasts “where are you going from here?” And the answer is something like “oh, we plan to have 500 doors” or 1500, or whatever. To me that qualifies as greed if I’m speaking honestly. Why on earth would you want so many units!? I can see it if they’re lower income apartments and/or you’re syndicating, bit that’s not what I’m talkig about here.

Another case in point; Invitation homes. 82,000 units they own and rent! Ridiculous. 

The world would be a better place (I’d argue) if so many weren’t trying to commoditize or hoard everything. Honestly, that’s 20,500 families who could otherwise gain substantial financial stability through owning four rental properties each. I hate the concept of “fairness” and all that is embodied by socialism, but at some point this sort of behavior shoud fall under antitrust laws and be illegal. At some point I’d think that there’s a reasonable (high) standard of living and anything beyond that is just sheer excess. It’s as if we as a society don’t want a solid middle class. Why not step aside at some point and let the next guy have a little easier time of it? Seems the right mentality. 

Is it just me???

You know what they say....No one making over $250,000 a year has a clear conscious.

@David Smit At some point, after you lived your dreams and crossed off your bucket list, if you can't find your sense of purpose, then yes it's greed.  For most people however, I think real estate investing allows you to live your purpose.  For me, for example, my son is on the autism spectrum and real estate investing will provide me the financial freedom so I can use my time to advocate for other autistic children.  Furthermore, it will fund some critical therapy (speech therapy, occupational therapy, ABA therapy, respite care, etc) for autistic children of families who don't have the means.  So is it ever enough?  No.  Not because of my own needs, but because of the impact it has on the people around me.  I think most people here do much more with their investments then just fund their own hobbies and habits.  

Setting a smaller, more attainable goal would then mean having time to focus on ourselves, our relationships, the issues, the reasons we aren't happy in the present. 

That is scary, its much easier to just move the goal posts and work more. Shoot, we are probably avoiding doing that work on ourselves by posting on here.

If we aren't happy and content in the now, we likely won't ever be. The Sacred Cow, what a great example. 

Why does it have to be greedy to be ambitious? To want to see what you’re capable of? To set impossible goals for yourself and want to work to make them happen? How do you put a number on what that means for someone else?

@Jessica G. That's a very fair question and it belies most of the responses I see. I think everyone's definition of "greed" is a little different. So suffice it to say that those who keep adding more and more and more without the intention of giving back that which they're blessed with/have worked for, those I would indeed call greedy. That's accumulation for personal gain and desire. 

Those who do so but then make a concerted effort to use that skill set for the betterment of one's neighbor, I have no problem with that. 

At a certain point there is most certainly something we'd call "stupid money" where you really have to be creative to spend it all. What's funny is that many here would disagree with that, then have them fly to a place like South Sudan and their opinions will often change quite dramatically; we're so comfortable in our own bubbles that we often fail to realize the need that's out there. Oddly it's almost become dirty to talk about the need out there in light of the excess many of us have, especially if the word "greed" comes into play. That's unfortunate. The argument was made that the "rich" give 6% and that's a lot. Well, per my math they're still retaining 94% then... is 6% really "a lot"? 

@David Smit you may have a point or several, but I think that as soon as the term greed, or hoard is used you shut down the conversation for a lot of people because it feels like an attack, regardless of the intent.  The words might be useful in firing up a political base or preaching to the choir but they'll change few if any minds due to their negative connotation.

Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs :
Originally posted by @Anthony Wick:
@David Smit You’re living in a fantasy world if you think if any one person owns less units then it means others will own a couple. Life simply doesn’t work that way. There’s enough for everybody, but not everybody is ambitious and hard working. I could literally give away a property to some people and they’d say no thanks.

I did give away a duplex a few years back to someone on BP  free and clear duplex... I did it for an experiment.. it was a surplus property I got in a partnership divorce and did not want to mess with it.. I could have wholesaled it but it though it would be fun to give it away.

I got good responses.. but like you said I would have thought thousands of people would have responded to a free property but in fact less than 50 .. Although I did have a restriction that the people had to give me POF that they had the ability to rehab it.. so being this is the US and lots of beginners on this site that did weed a lot of them out who could not show 30k in a bank account.

 Hi Jay, I remember that - what ever happened with that? I remember reading and following it but don't remember who got it and what it turned out to be.

Originally posted by @David Smit :

@Jessica G. That's a very fair question and it belies most of the responses I see. I think everyone's definition of "greed" is a little different. So suffice it to say that those who keep adding more and more and more without the intention of giving back that which they're blessed with/have worked for, those I would indeed call greedy. That's accumulation for personal gain and desire. 

Those who do so but then make a concerted effort to use that skill set for the betterment of one's neighbor, I have no problem with that. 

At a certain point there is most certainly something we'd call "stupid money" where you really have to be creative to spend it all. What's funny is that many here would disagree with that, then have them fly to a place like South Sudan and their opinions will often change quite dramatically; we're so comfortable in our own bubbles that we often fail to realize the need that's out there. Oddly it's almost become dirty to talk about the need out there in light of the excess many of us have, especially if the word "greed" comes into play. That's unfortunate. The argument was made that the "rich" give 6% and that's a lot. Well, per my math they're still retaining 94% then... is 6% really "a lot"? 

 Why do you keep going back to percentages?  I've never spent a "%" in my life.

Also, when that bucket list is gone, and there is no need to be a REI anymore, why is it greedy to stay the course? If you were an artist, and you made money at it. When that income allowed you to stop painting, would you stop?

The successful REI, continuing on doing what they are successful at, should not be thought of as greedy...just because there is still money involved.

Life is not based only on what we need.  It's also based on what we want...and wanting more is a good thing.  If you reached your needs, and limited your wants, you'd lead an awfully boring life.  You'd be doing the same thing, over and over again.  Enjoyment in life comes from our successes.  We are challenged to do better and better all the time, or we sit and do nothing.

...and once again, just because money is a part of that success, doesn't make it a bad thing.

@David Smit Simple solution: Don't participate in the system if you find it distasteful. Who cares if someone else wants to go buy a million houses? We're responsible for our own actions. Live and let live!

This is definitely an interesting discussion and one I feel should be asked. 

There are a lot of different viewpoints here and I don’t think I can add much more than what has already been mentioned but I’ll try anyway.

To answer the question: I set a goal at 1000 (number of lots as I’m looking to invest in the mobile home park space). 

I first came up with that number because it’s a nice, round number. Next, I shot high because, even if I fall short of that, I’ll still be better off than I would have been if I didn’t even try.

Yes one of my primary goals is financial independence. I want to be able to use real estate to cover my living expenses with extra.  The question is what is done with the extra?  For me, when I get more I can give more. I’d love to be able to look up a charity or a cause I can get behind and make a bigger difference than I can do currently.  Also, without having to punch a clock, I can give my time as well as my money.  

Whether that time is for volunteering or for family and friends, I want to be able to have that option.

I also agree with previous points on doing this all ethically and with transparency.  I definitely couldn’t look at myself in the mirror if I were to be shady about this.

Just my thoughts on the matter.  Thanks for asking the question.

@David Smit If you feel the need to unburden yourself I may be willing to lighten your load of too many properties. Bigger Pockets is such a benevolent group I am sure folks would be willing to purchase your entire portfolio. They may even be willing to purchase them for what you paid to make sure there is no profit. It really is a very supportive community!

I don't like the idea of government restricting how many units one can own. Everyone (or every bureaucrat ) will have a different idea of what is the 'limit' of properties one individual or entity can own.

I agree with what some other posters said that even if given the opportunity a lot of people don't want to own rentals or invest in real estate. I think it's easy to forget sometimes when on a site like BP that not everyone is interested in real estate. Most people view real estate as a big headache and/or risky. The mainstream media and financial publications usually say investing in stocks is the better option.

If it were the case that one big corporation or a handful of companies owned all the property in America, then I think it would be a different situation. If invitation homes owns 84,000 houses it's still a very small percentage of all the single family homes in America. I'm sure that if one is in an area that they are investing in heavily or were investing in heavily it would make things tougher for mom and pop investors , but I haven't heard anything like this at least recently. 

I know a lot of local investors actually have benefited from selling properties to these big funds/hedge funds. Since they are so big they can accept lower returns as they are buying in bulk. 

If the number of homes one can own as rentals is restricted, should the number of properties one can flip also be restricted?

@David Smit I think it’s also great to see the very successful investors give back via BiggerPockets and similar ways. Many help others come along through teaching and mentoring. Great question! Interesting to think about!

That's an interesting question "Is that greed" @David Smit and yet I find many people are not motivated to invest in real estate. It's honestly taking advantage of opportunity and there is always opportunity. There's always going to be new construction, sales, transfer of ownership, investment groups, etc. I just heard of a guy who owns one million units and yet and still there is plenty of opportunity for investors out here. 

Let's remember, the name of the site is "BiggerPockets". It's all about wealth creation. If someone comes on to a forum for book enthusiasts and says "I don't care for reading, books are too boring" the reaction is probably not going to be positive. I hear you calling ambitious investors "greedy" which is a very negative word. Is a multi-millionaire "greedy" simply due to the fact that they have a lot more money than others? If we consider entertainers, super athletes or business leaders such as Lady Gaga, Serena Williams, Jennifer Lawrence or Bob Iger. They are all worth tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. Are they necessarily greedy due to their high amount of wealth compared to average? At what point does the amount of money they have become "stupid money" as refer to it? Why is it stupid? Why is it wrong for someone to have created a lot of wealth?

@Rhonda Wilson  

@Aaron K.

I hear you both sincerely, the word "greed" as we use it today has an overly evil connotation but by it's very definition (some of them in particular such as Dictionary.com) it IS exactly what I mean. 

I'm not saying these people would step on a widow's back to make a dime, I am saying they want more and more assets to where the goal is the building out of a small empire. Perhaps another way to put it is it tends to become addicting. I, -that's me, personally- (not saying you need to agree) find that to be a little disturbing. When one becomes hooked to buying homes to where they're hitting numbers in the many hundreds I have to ask (in this case publicly) what's the point? They're not doing it because they have a concern that other landlords aren't as good to tenants as they are or because they want to do society a favor (unless they truly are doing it in a philanthropic sense, but I don't believe this is often a primary driver). For many folks, if they could own every worthwhile rental home in a 50 mile radius they would without giving it a second thought. They'll argue that they are doing society a favor, but when they know they're bidding against other investors they still want to win the deal for another door. So many of these arguments sound good but they're just putting up some smoke and mirrors if you take a closer look. 

So I speak of the accrual of assets for personal satisfaction and/or personal benefit well above and beyond one's day to day needs. I don't write the dictionary, but I do know that's the definition of the word "greed". Sounds dirty, I know, but greed is the word I mean to use. I'm not even saying I wouldn't befriend such a person, I just don't see the point other than the personal benefit it provides (again, there ARE exceptions to every rule, I know.)

And yes, I put it out there bluntly; I'm here to engage honestly before I'm here to be popular. Nobody needs to like me for questioning the motives of another, though I am sincere and not just stoking/trolling. Now people will call me a troll!

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