PROPERTY PLUS

Signature strategies were his `Trump' cards

A recent CNN poll showed that over 63 per cent of voters wanted to see Trump's plan for rebuilding the World Trade Center go into action. To know the success secrets of Trump, here's George H. Ross's Trump Strategies for Real Estate from Wiley .

D. MURALI

Signature strategies were his `Trump' cards

When commenting about the cost of UN (United Nations) renovations, real-estate developer and TV star Donald Trump had a simple message for the world body's officials - that he could fix up the dilapidated headquarters for a third or half of the $1.2-billion price tag that the UN has estimated will be necessary - according to a July 25 posting on http://rismedia.com by Pradnya Joshi.

More recent news about Trump is an August 5 report in Bloomberg, that Trump is offering "24-hour access to chauffeured Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedans and a chef for parties as incentives to attract buyers" for his "first residential condominium in Toronto". It also mentions that Trump's `92-story hotel- condominium tower in Chicago' is scheduled to open in 2008. Trump is "most famous for several large skyscrapers he developed in Manhattan and named after himself," notes Wikipedia, and adds that he is paid a reported $3,000,000 per episode of the TV serial The Apprentice. It seems a recent CNN poll showed that over 63 per cent of voters wanted to see Trump's plan for rebuilding the World Trade Centre go into action.

"There is a huge difference between the legal aspects of real estate and the business of investing in real estate," says Ross, to explain how one need not stay away from a property merely because of some legal glitches. "Almost every problem has a price tag," and you can look at the problems as "a way of improving the deal". But that's not what your lawyer may advise you to do. That's because "most lawyers don't know the business of real estate," declares the author. "They are ready to render advice on any legal issue, but leave the business decisions to their client."

Okay, let's get on to real business, because Ross outlines the five personal qualities you need to succeed in real estate. First, "use your enthusiasm for the project to inspire others". Enthusiasm is contagious; so, capture the imagination and get the cooperation of key players, viz. buyers, sellers, lenders, tenants, contractors, and others, advises Ross. Rather than talk numbers too soon, share with the others your vision for the property you want to buy or renovate, and "tell a great story about how you found it, what your inspiration was, and the difficulties you have already overcome."

The second tip is to build relationships with everyone involved in a deal, directly or indirectly. "If you can establish a rapport and a feeling of mutual trust it inevitably makes for an easier negotiation and a faster, more amicable conclusion to any problems that arise". Leaving pleasant memories is the best personal advertisement in any real estate transaction, Ross counsels.

Next lesson, "Use showmanship." But how, you may ask? "Instead of showing prospective buyers a vacant piece of land, show them a rendering of what the project will look like after it is built," suggests Ross. "Hire an artist if necessary. It may be worth investing in a scale model of your property so that buyers can visualise the final product." Plus, the way you dress and appear do make an impression. "Your dress should be chosen to give people confidence that you can do what you say you're going to do."

The fourth lesson reads, "Be better prepared than anyone else".

Anticipate problems and questions and be ready with answers, writes Ross. You can do this by being objective, and putting yourself in the shoes of the other party. "There's always some wrinkle in the transaction, something that you will need to address so that you can quickly move on so the other party doesn't dwell on it. Keep your goal in mind and think through any potential obstacles and have possible solutions ready." The author cites `Ziff's principle of least effort' according to which "most people will put the least amount of effort in a transaction that they can in order to proceed".

Therefore, if, unlike them, you do more preparation than they are willing to, you can make the deal work to your advantage, gaining "greater control in a fluid situation".

Lesson five is, "Be tenacious." If the first lender says `no', try with other lenders, encourages the author. "Everything worth doing is difficult, and in order to accomplish it, you have to be tenacious."

And there are ten more chapters dealing with important and `real' topics such as choosing property, principles of negotiation, tactics in high-powered deals, raising money, estate specialists, budget, marketing, property management, and holding/exit strategies.

A book worth investing in.

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