Everything You Need to Know About Jon Gray

Jon Gray happens to be the pinnacle of one of the richest real estate operations in the nation: Blackstone. We’re talking, though, about a private equity firm and not a property management company dealing in home rentals and RTOs. However, the model this man known as Jon Gray follows certainly applies to just about any facet of the real estate industry, but let’s get to the bread and butter of why this man fits the bill as a major player in real estate.

For Starters, Blackstone Is a $93BB Real Estate OperationJon Gray

Back in 1992, Jon Gray revolutionized the operation, starting as a staffer for the original $334MM real estate fund. Through a novel concept of “Buy It, Fix It, Sell It,” he took the work of Blackstone and skyrocketed real estate private equity in such a way that it may awe the likes of all real estate gurus clear and wide.

Think about it: he grew the $334MM funding to the $93BB we’re seeing today for Blackstone. That’s pretty impressive. And while his mantra has the simplicity of a children’s book, one thing’s for sure — if it worked enough to result in the monumental $26BB purchase of Hilton (yes, Hilton), then we say don’t fix it if it ain’t broke.

A Trendsetter of the Profitable Real Estate Private Equity Front

Jon Gray is in. No matter how you slice it. But the point about Job Gray is that he knows how to keep the cash flow coming when it comes to real estate, and ultimately that’s a benefit for everyone. Whether you’re a home renter, a homeowner, a home investor, or someone interested in rent-to-own.

There’s no telling how far Jon Gray will go with Blackstone, because as it stands, the company has one other major player in the business, making Blackstone a key component in an industry only beginning to soar. Good news for everyone.


Everything You Need to Know About Jeffery Hayward

No matter how you slice it, one thing’s for sure: Fannie Mae has been getting things done. You then have to wonder just who’s responsible for the mortgage loan giant’s phenomenal success most recently, and we can most certainly point the finger to someone by the name of Jeffery Hayward.

Who Is Jeffery Hayward?

Oh, he’s just the Executive Vice President and Head of the Multifamily division at Fannie Mae, not that that would mean much to you except for the fact that there are numbers attributed jeffery hayward-1to his successes within the organization proving that he can get families into homes faster than grants and scholarships can get students into school. For starters, Hayward’s responsible for mortgage financing of literally over 500K homes annually. That’s right: every year.

Now if that number doesn’t impress you, this one will — $30BB. That’s the number of dollars he’s been able to infuse of liquidity into the mortgage industry.

When looking at a bunch of real estate gurus out there this year, Hayward’s the man as far as getting the assistance many people need in getting into a home, something that, say, the HOPE Program can praise through and through! And it’s no fluke either: Hayward has 25 years of lending experience under his belt, so he apparently knows what he’s doing.

Additionally, it was only almost three years ago that he was given the responsibility to boost the multifamily division upon receiving major criticism with the post-financial crisis. Did he succeed? The short answer is YES. We’re talking insane record amounts of capital and still even maintaining a pretty reasonable loan-to-value ratio.

Talk About Playing Damage Control….

All of us look for a sure bet in securing a mortgage, because that’s the way to get into a home. Plain and simple. Heck, you could have all the income in the world, and maybe even a decent down payment, but if you’re credit’s spotty, chances are that home loan’s out of your reach — but not with Fannie Mae, and it’s all because of one Jeffery Hayward.

It all starts with Fannie Mae and the exec VP. Mr. Jeffery Hayward, keep making it happen.


Everything You Need to Know About Samuel Zell

Why is Jon Gray on a goldmine? Who is Jon Gray anyway? Well, if you’re intimately involved with a certain real estate giant by the name of Blackstone, you’ll know Jon Gray, but let’s just talk about this guy by the name of Samuel Zell, and it’ll all be clear to you:

Why Samuel Zell Has Made Real Estate Mammoth Headlines

Talk about starting from the bottom…. Samuel Zell epitomizes the American Dream, like a Samuel Zell-1Jordan Belfort, Wolf of Wall Street, but without the scandal and controversy. Starting off as a student from the University of Michigan, this was a man that went first local with a property manager to buy cheap homes, flip them houses, and then rent them to students. Small potatoes, right? Well, you have to start somewhere….

It certainly helped that this man Samuel Zell had the street/book smarts not only to aggressively go after such a business, but to graduate from law school. Now you know this guy Samuel Zell has the backing of a brain meant for success, and with the backing of a senior partner at his previous law firm, he jumped headfirst into the real estate industry with his company Equity Group Investments (EGI).

Now make no mistake — that was a startup. But a successful one at that. Actually, that’s quite the understatement.

The company became so successful, building such a gargantuan real estate empire that turned the heads of many, including one very successful real estate investment firm by the name of Blackstone, who wanted in on the moneymaking power of EGI and worked out a deal for $39BB, the largest buyout in history at the time.

So That’s Why Jon Gray and Blackstone Are Loving Life?

In a way, yes…. Well, they were already successful. But now, they’re so much more. Thanks so Samuel Zell. Now that’s a real estate power player right there, out of many real estate moguls for 2015.

Everything You Need to Know About Barry Sternlicht

Who likes the Sheraton? (Raises hand). W Hotels? Sure. St. Regis? Definitely. Talk about icons in the hotel industry, and we’re not talking about the one-of-a-kind diamonds in the rough like the Hilton or Trump (sorry, Donald), but the ones you see everywhere. You have to imagine that there’s a real estate guru out of many major real estate players in the game responsible for such a franchise of gigantic proportions, and you’re correct.

His Name Is Barry Sternlicht, CEO of Starwood CapitalBarry Sternlicht-1

It just so happens that Barry Sternlicht in his bid to become the “King of Hotels,” (which wasn’t hard to do) as well as Hot +0.83% and Resorts Worldwide, he revolutionized the hospitality industry with hotels popping up like newborn rabbits given his hands-on approach to the marketing and expansion of such brands.

He, in fact, was directly responsible for the Westin “Heavenly Bed,” not only a luxury you’d find in those hotels but an additional revenue source of marketing for homeowners to even update their own homes, thereby dabbling into the residential real estate market for current homeowners interested in property values and ROI when selling homes. Smart move.

Luxury. Retail. Some of the finer details. That’s Barry Sternlicht to a tee, focusing on the minute, the stuff we don’t see. Like crystal manufacturer Baccarat, a purchase allowing him to feature such incredible crystal chandeliers in a hotel that it would remain a staple in the hospitality industry and make him a trendsetter.

It’s About Imagination. Innovation. And Growth.

And Barry Sternlicht epitomizes that in true form. Who knows what else he will have in store for us in the future as he continues to try and reinvent himself in this industry, whether it’s residential, construction, home design innovation, or the hotel industry. As far as real estate gurus go, Barry Sternlicht goes pretty darn far!


Everything You Need to Know About Jonathan Pollack

One thing you have to know about real estate is that there is risk: just look at this real estate investment risk guide! It’s like playing with fire — but can reap some big rewards, especially if you know what you’re doing. Thankfully, one man by the name of Jonathan Pollack not only knows what he’s doing, but knows that he knows what he’s doing so much that of Blackstone had to take notice and signed him on as the head of real estate debt strategies.

Why Is Jonathan Pollack so Important When It Comes to Real Estate Debt?Jonathan Pollack-1

Damage control. Underwriting. Allocating. This man knows his numbers. He knows marketing. He knows restructuring. And he was doing it for 16 years as the commercial mortgage backed securities man at Deutsche Bank as the financial institution was reporting losses. They were consolidating. He was underwriting. He’s the reason many of those big names still remain afloat in a sea of real estate crashes and recessions, so it makes sense that one Jon Gray would want Jonathan Pollack on board to make sure that Noah’s Ark stays above waters while a potential real estate Armageddon arrives.

What are his accolades? Simply put, Jonathan Pollack’s responsible for revitalizing the business of Motel 6 (yep, the “we’ll leave the light on for you” chain) through effective restructuring of the business. Even some of Manhattan’s famous skyscrapers saw remarkable buyouts that kept the towers standing tall and proud in the Big Apple. Successfully puts him on a list of top real estate gurus, don’t you think?

So Ask Yourself This Important Question:

Would you want someone like Jonathan Pollack on your side? Of course. He’s the man to make sure the buildings stay up. Where there’s a successful real estate business, there’s risk given the industry. So you certainly want to make sure such a real estate giant doesn’t fall too hard at all.


Everything You Need to Know About Joseph Chetrit

Yes, the American Dream. Indeed. That’s one dream out of many, of course, and that dream is real estate. What else can be more American than that, and certainly there was a man from Morocco who thought he could make it happen, and lo and behold: he was correct! Mr. Joseph Chetrit stands as one of many in the current stratosphere of real estate moguls to present an influence of change, innovation and development from a real estate investment standpoint, and here’s why:

Joseph Chetrit and His AccomplishmentsJoseph Chetrit-1

It’s interesting to know that Joseph Chetrit originally grew a family textile business after moving to the U.S. for a good 25 years. Business went well. He then caught the real estate bug and got involved in some of the most pivotal real estate deals to date — seemingly from osmosis! Maybe real estate was always in his blood….

Needless to say, the innate ability to buy up the properties and see the so-called “writing on the wall” turned out to be the winning factor, creatively repurposing such spaces and generating incredible returns to earn him his spot as a trendsetter, a standard in the real estate industry, particularly in the commercial field.

And he’s just one man…. Pretty remarkable. Most notably, though, Joseph Chetrit is known for his infamous purchase of the well-known Sears Tower in the city of Chi-Town, renaming the steel beast to ‘Willis Tower’ back in 2009. Yep. That was him who did that.

Just Reminding You: Morocco and Textiles. And Now a Big Name in Real Estate

Joseph Chetrit is a perfect example that it’s not necessarily about the credentials or even the experience. You have to have a sort of ‘knack,’ a skill and a street smart to really make it in the real estate business. Perhaps you’re thinking about getting into real estate investments? It would help to get in some research and learn from the best: why not learn from the likes of Joseph Chetrit?

Everything You Need to Know About Lee Shau Kee

What makes a real estate mogul? Is it mortgage management? RTO? Home rentals? Being a broker? Loan origination? Development? All of the above? Yes. Some of the best real estate gurus in the game know that it’s all a combination, all connected, and wouldn’t you know it — no one knows that better than Lee Shau Kee, founder of the Henderson Land Company back in 1976.

Yes, Lee Shau Kee Has Been in the Game for That Long

That alone should tell you something: Lee Shau Kee knows what he’s talking about, having a massive stake in the conglomerate of the land company responsible for some of the mostLee Shau Kee-1 intensive and extensive real estate developments not only in the U.S., but in the world. We’re talking about hotels. Restaurants. Even internet services. He’s dabbled in it all, hence why his business acument has earned him that title of “Hong Kong’s Buffet,” a little bit of everything in real estate.

Of course, the man at a very seasoned 86 years old has stepped down and allowed his son to manage Henderson with gusto while still remaining as chairman of the company, but you can bet this is a man that even when he’s long gone, his legacy will continue to live on.

Take One Look at Hong Kong’s International Financial Center, for One….

Yep, that was him. Lee Shau Kee. Purely fantastical in the scope and vision, plus the funding that went into it. Monuments like that will remain. And his longevity, his vision will also. You don’t see many real estate moguls like that, like Lee Shau Kee. And at the rate his company’s going, they won’t stop anytime soon with the comprehensive projects around the world continuing to make waves and making rich commercial real estate a relevant factor in today’s global economy.


Can Theft Really Be Okay With Ali Baba?

Who doesn’t love, or even have heard of, the story of Ali Baba? Open sesame! For all the “Arabian Nights” tales, this one rings with us quite true in the sense that we should always seek opportunity, especially from those who don’t deserve it. Let’s face the truth here: Ali Baba was a thief. Plain and simple. But that’s not all to the story.

The Story of Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves

It basically went like this: Ali Baba discovered a secret lair belonging to 40 thieves as well as Ali Baba identity theftthe way to get into it by speaking the secret words “open sesame.” Now let’s make one thing known here — Ali Baba’s a poor woodcutter. Not a lot of money to go around there. So you can ask yourself this important question — what would you do?

Clearly, if you stumbled onto a vast treasure trove belonging to 40 thieves, you’d feel the urge to nab a great portion of that treasure for yourself and perhaps provide for a future for your son and slave girl whom you’d betroth in marriage. In other words, opportunity when discovered blindly should breed provision for the future of your family. So can you blame Ali Baba? Truthfully, we can’t.

Needless to say, those 40 thieves found out about Ali Baba’s apparent invasion of the secret lair, but were thwarted completely. Ali Baba, of course, kept the lair secret for many, many years, so as not to be in the same position as those 40 thieves. Obviously.

Was Ali Baba Justified?

Now that is a tough question…. It’s not like Ali Baba’s anything similar to other notorious thieves of our history and literature at all. But think about identity theft, for instance — an identity thief wouldn’t steal from other identity thieves! But either way you look at it, you’re still an identity thief! No way around it.

This then becomes a simple question of morality and not crime. Was it more or less ‘illegal’ for Ali Baba to do what he did? Probably not (up to interpretation). Did Ali Baba do the right thing, however? Hmm…. Let’s “open sesame” that gate for a discussion and see what all of you think about that.

Why We Can to Some Degree Sympathize With Bonnie and Clyde

It’s obvious: we see a certain infamy and maybe even some adoration for some of the greatest stories of our time, and a lot of those stories involve characters with less-than-stellar moralities. Case in point: these infamous thieves we’ve all heard of. We’ve got the likes of Robin Hood, and even Long John Silver. We sometimes revere these characters, yet they were thieves. Sometimes cold-blooded, in fact. And then we have the likes of the notorious Bonnie and Clyde…. We can safely say this duo just might blow the likes out of any fiction out of the water for one obvious reason —

Yes, Bonnie and Clyde Did Exist in Real Life — and They Robbed a Lot of People — and Even Committed MurderBonnie and Clyde identity theft

So, without a doubt, Bonnie and Clyde were not to be adored or admired in any way. However…. (and that’s a big however), we can understand the signs of the times and realize that what can drive a person to steal often revolves around the way of life, the hardships, the turmoil, and the trouble of a victimized society scrambling for the scraps at any table.

Bonnie and Clyde basically tried to survive. In any way they knew how. In fact, historical accounts actually show that Bonnie herself was more or less the simpleton standing behind Clyde while he did the stealing, shooting, and killing! They were nomads. They were an American Bohemia of “throwing caution to the wind” and loving love, a masterful open-road eternity of duality selfishness that was, in and of itself, endearing.

In a nutshell — Bonnie and Clyde were hopelessly, recklessly, and adoringly in love with each other and their lives together. They were a tragic love story, and that’s what drew us in.

We Can Say for Certain, Though, That in This Day and Age of Identity Theft, Bonnie and Clyde Would Have No Chance

It’s all relative, really. Crime has changed over the generations. That’s why it’s so easy to look back on the legends of old — our John Dillingers, Meyer Lanskys, and Al Capones of our age — and see them for their notoriety. Crime todayidentity theft, credit and bank fraud, mass murder, genocide — rings truer than anything Bonnie and Clyde ever did.

In the end, Bonnie and Clyde are two people who were so in love that they were willing to steal and kill for each other.

Long John Silver: If Identity Theft Was a Treasure Island

Times certainly change when it comes to crime, which is why we enjoy reading about the history and fictionalized accounts of some of the greatest thieves in our time — real or fake. Case in point: Long John Silver. He was probably literature’s most adored pirate next to Captain Hook, although we loved to hate the man with the hook hunting for the swift Pan. But the reason why we enjoyed Long John Silver transcends that of any morality, or immorality as it were (as Long John Silver was no saint, that’s for sure), as well as any fish restaurant of the same name! Want to know why?

Long John Silver Dared to Dream — of a Treasure IslandLong John Silver identity theft

That’s right. He may have been a thief. But a thief of no one. Long John Silver wanted to be the man crossing the finish line first, basically. He had a map. He was willing to lie, cheat and steal to get to the X that marks the spot before anyone else, hoarding the treasure for himself. Who wouldn’t?

There’s a certain joie de vivre about the man known as Long John Silver, which echoes the more modernized version of the snazzy pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow of Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” fame. We love to watch the pirate fumble around and make a mess of everything, and we understand why: even if it’s wrong. Plus Long John Silver was a bit of a father figure: to one Jim Hawkins. And that right there, even more, makes the man known as “Silver” that much more endearing.

In Today’s World of Crime, Though, Long John Silver Would Be a Saint

Look at identity thieves, for instance. One of the top crimes in the world. Identity theft protection to this day is at the forefront of necessity, especially with the rise of the Internet and social media (did Long John Silver have a Facebook account? I think not!). All the LifeLocks, Identity Guards and other services for a lot of cloud-based credit restoration can tell you straight out that there’s no “treasure island” to be found. We, the people, are the treasure islands, and those identity thieves are our own personal Long John Silvers.

Thievery. Robbery. Breaking and entering. Larceny. That’s the world of today when it comes to stealing. Long John Silver? That’s just a man with a parrot and a dream to find the richest island never discovered. Robert Louis Stevenson must’ve had some love for the gritty pirate as he wrote the book!