5 Ways the Next Recession Can Make You Rich


It’s been all over the press in the past year: After a record-breaking 2015 for real estate, the recession’s coming — and it’s coming soon.

Sam Zell, the real estate billionaire, has predicted recessions in the past, and when he starts selling, a downturn isn’t far behind.

Billionaire George Soros preaches economic apocalypse to anyone who will listen. (“We’re repeating 2008,” he says.) Meanwhile, new president-elect Donald Trump said last year that the next recession’s already here.

Despite the dark forecasts from billionaire trail blazers, grim as they may sound, every cloud has a silver lining — and a recession is no different.

Brad Pitt’s character in The Big Short [Image via: https://youtu.be/EqjrWefjkUk?t=9m14s]

In fact, the best deals come from the 3 Ds; deaths, divorces and defaults — three things that spike in any recession.

“That’s where you get the best deals,” Neil Patel, a rock star entrepreneur, internet master and real estate investor, told me recently.

Sure, it may not bypass everyone’s moral compass; however, the fact remains that one man’s misfortune is another man’s BALLING!

Now that we’ve got the conscience out of the way, let’s look at the opportunity. Here are five ways — including the 3 Ds — you can prosper from a recession, much like the crew from the hit movie The Big Short.

5 Ways the Next Recession Can Make You Rich

1. Leverage your equity.

In other words, don’t splurge or buy yourself that new car you’ve wanted. Sit on that equity. Sitting on your equity allows you the luxury to take out a cheap home equity loan to deploy to another investment. With 3% interest rates on home equity loans, you don’t really need the world’s greatest cap rate to expand your portfolio.


But if you’re looking for deals, simply look through the lens of 3D.

2. Take advantage of defaults.

It’s often a cause and effect thing. As we saw during the last downturn, when the economy tanks, people lose their homes. Sometimes it’s the other way around…

But when the market plummets, properties can be yours for pennies on the dollar. Once the market recovers — which it historically has always done — you not only have a good cash-flowing property, the value is “back to normal,” and you cash in on the recovery.


Oh, hell yeah.

3. Keep an eye on divorces.

According to Forbes, divorce rates go up when the economy goes down, with economic uncertainty putting a strain on happy homes. And when couples split, the assets have to be divided evenly, opening up opportunities for shrewd investors.

It happens a lot, says Earl Antonio Wilson, a Brooklyn-based lawyer, who handles various “3D” deals in the New York City area. “With divorces and settlements, you sometimes have to liquidate fast — especially to satisfy court rulings on net worth splits you may not necessarily have in cash.”

Fortunately for you savvy BP investors out there, one man’s heartbreak is another man’s “hallelujah!”

4. Help with the fallout from deaths.

With deaths, there’s often an overwhelming amount of emotions to deal with, as well as a mess of heirs not knowing what to do — sell, keep, split.

Oftentimes, the property is older, may be the family’s free and clear, and possibly has gained a fortune over the past 20-25 years — a very common scenario in markets like Brooklyn and Queens.

Say the property has three heirs and is probably worth $850,000 on the free market.

“It happens all the time,” Wilson says. “If the heirs never owned the property in the first place, a $250,000 payday for each may be just what the doctor ordered to help mend the loss.

“And funerals aren’t free, either. And neither are lawyers. Those costs have to be covered.”

5. Watch for lower interest rates.

It’s almost counterintuitive; you’d think if the market plummets that banks are wary of giving frivolous lenders money.

But that’s not what happens. Remember, markets are dictated by simple supply and demand. And banks need to lend you money to make money on their money. So when the economy is down, the opposite tends to happen; interest rates go down.


Think about it: People don’t want to lend money when they don’t think any money exists. This offers great opportunities for both savvy and rookie investors. Now, the lower your cost of capital, the easier you can bolster that debt yield ratio (NOI/mortgage note) and get approved.

And if you prepared for the downturn by boosting your FICO score and keeping a nest egg for a down payment, you can find tremendous deals from any of the 3D’s — deals that will add serious commas to your portfolio.

Investors: Do you think a recession is headed our way? Any strategies you used in the last recession that helped you financially?

Be sure to comment below!

About Author

Philip Michael

Philip Michael is the founder of New York Equity Group (NYEG), a 12-man investment company with $5M in assets and $25M in investor capital under management. When he’s not buying real estate, Philip moonlights as a TV/radio personality (Fuse, SiriusXM, Fox Sports) and hosts events and seminars to help young professionals build wealth through real estate. Follow Philip on Twitter at @Philip_Michael.


  1. Christy Greene

    I have quite a few real estate agents who are my clients and I always ask them what the market looks like based on what they are seeing and hearing. Inventory is low where I am and the buyers that are buying are the first time home buyers who don’t have a lot to put down. I am waiting and being patient for as I am hearing the same thing regarding a down turn coming.

    Real Estate is about patience. I am willing to wait.

  2. Jerry W.

    Just keep in mind that acquisition is great, but you must keep cash flow up. Jobs can get scarce and if you are not cash flowing well a minor setback could put into having to sale at a loss. I wish so badly that I would have bought 10 more houses when I bought my primary residence, I would be retired now. I had to struggle to buy just one home. I do not plan to let opportunity pass me a second time.

  3. Mitch Larrivee

    As an agent and wholesaler I know the market is changing without a doubt. However, the links in this article related to a looming recession are over a year old. The fact is that there are still more buyers than the market can absorb. Thus prices are being driven up (aka seller’s market). We’re between cycles so I see the next 6 months to a year holding growth. After that I expect a correction or small recession. It won’t be as obvious as the Great Recession, but if you’re watching the market you will get some great deals.

  4. Hello Philip,
    Unfortunately, what go up must come down. So, the answer to your question is yes at some point we will face a recession.

    However, if we use at least two of your suggestions we (real estate investor) will be fine – exactly better off than the normal citizens.

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