Isaac Myers III
Issue No. 5 - Autumn 2018.
Fair or unfair the real estate investor ––– much like the real estate agent and the real estate broker ––– gets a bad rap. To invest in real estate and to purchase another person’s house is to pounce; and can be interpreted and viewed as an act of aggression, and a way to express dominance and domain. That which once was yours, has now become mine.
If the broker or the agent is only in it for the commission, then the investor is only in it for the profit; why invest, why purchase at all if you won’t be able to sell for a profit, or perhaps more artistically, to flip.
Real estate investing takes the board game of monopoly and lays it out in front of you on a map that’s best known as reality. And of all the cities and of all the maps where the game can be played, one well within reason could argue that the stakes aren’t higher; the risks and rewards greater; and the thrills richer in any city in the world other than New York, New York.
Ask around. The real estate investor will be described as a shark, a snake, and the rea- son why the market went sideways in 2008. And if you think about it for long enough, maybe the O’Jays “Back Stabbers” (1972) will play in your head. “Somebody’s out to get your lady / a few of your buddies they sure look shady / blades are long, clenched tight in their fist / aimin’ straight at your back / and I don’t think they’ll miss / (what they do!).”
The image grips you. And the lore concerning real estate investors stays with you, so when an investor or a broker or an agent calls, if you pick up the phone at all then you’ll slam it down (or aggressively press “decline” on your smart phone).
But what happens when the investor is no longer an investor? What happens when you don’t slam down the phone, or when you read his or her e-mail, and there’s something about it that feels right, or at least doesn’t drive you to right away send it to the junk folder?
One might call the ability to keep someone (a prospect if you will) on the line, or to have an e-mail responded to, salesmanship, and it is, but it’s also more: it’s trust, and belief; belief that the person who you’re talking with or in some cases standing directly across from, or sitting down with has your best interest in mind, and that a win for them is only a win if it’s also a win for you.
Koby Keys gets this. “In this business, as you know, a billion people are doing it. So you don’t stand out. From the prospect’s perspective, you’re just the other guy calling him. That’s all you are that point when you make the first phone call. You’re just the guy calling them. So what are you going to do to stand out to this person since they’ve already put you in a category? People have to ask me, ‘What’s your name again?’ So that when I call again, I’m not just another investor or agent calling, I’m Koby. And if they’ve separated me, just by knowing my name and remembering my name, then I know that I’ve done my job and have made a connection.”
Keys first wrote me through LinkedIn on October 1st, 2016. “How’s it going Isaac? Thank you for connecting. I am a NYC real estate investor. I purchase properties all cash throughout the five boroughs. If you know of any homeowners looking to sell now or in the future please let me know. I pay top dollar for solid leads. I look forward to hearing from you. Real estate referrals are an excellent way to make extra income.”
At the time I was helping a homeowner sell their three-family home in Williamsburg. I told Keys about the property and offered to show him the place if he was interested. The property didn’t match what he was looking for, but we both still thought it would be a good idea to meet.
We met in Bryant Park and sat outside and spoke for an hour. At the time he was teaching a class on real estate investing. He told me a bit about the class, and what he knew about real estate investing: how to pick the right properties, how to bring people together and to work strategically.