With all the articles on the internet about real estate this and real estate that, it's easy to get all excited oneself and forget the whole purpose of dabbling in real estate in the first place. The get-rich-quick real estate scheme (some would say "scam") has become a powerful meme in our popular culture over the past ten years, what with the constant onslaught of late-night TV infomercials suggesting that we are missing out on something big.
This unusual real estate article will take a deep breath and a step back away from all that hype and pause to consider instead the iconoclastic question: why? Just why do we want real estate? What is its point, its purpose?
Well, as you well know (since you're reading a real estate article and thus have an obvious interest in the business), it's all about wealth. Money. Power. The ability to do things, as any first-year physics student can advise you.
And there is no surer way to wealth and power than real estate. No truer, more time-tested method of controlling your destiny than controlling the very ground upon which you stand.
Okay, simple enough. We all know this. After all, we can determine that fact simply by researching any of the world's richest people and immediately finding out that all of them - think of it, every single one, without fail - owns land. Despite the vast variety of businesses and professions in which they have each made their fortune, the one common denominator we will certainly notice is how every one of them also happen to own extensive pieces of property. Whether tycoon or rock star, they will all own vast tracts of land. Guaranteed.
And that's the power of real estate. It is why they call it "real" estate. Everything else is a pale imitation of true power.
But with great power comes great responsibility. And many a property owner can tell you about all the headaches involved, from purely administrative tasks like taxes and utilities to tenants and rent. As a landlord, the likely hassles involved are expected to be yours to bear in their entirety. In some jurisdictions, such as New York City, it is said that the law tends to favor residential tenants over residential property owners where it can. With commercial property there is no such alleged favoritism, except insofar as you are able to wield any political influence in your own favor.
Why get into real estate? The answer is pretty obvious, even before our discussion - but that answer is a lot more comprehensive now, a lot more nuanced, too, and a lot more informed. It is not something to simply dabble with, as others' lives and livelihoods are involved. With the aforementioned exception of commercial property, being a landlord is a role held to fairly high standards by many municipalities in the United States. Investing in real estate can mean money, but first and foremost in the eyes of the law, at least where residential realty is concerned, it is about providing a public good.
Barbra I. Miller writes frequently on real estate topics for various online publications. Please visit ThePerfectFitRealEstate.com
for more great articles from industry insiders such as Isaac Toussie