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Make 10 calls today

On this day, March 10th, 1876, the first speech was transmitted by telephone.  When Alexander Gram Bell famously said, Watson get up here now before I fire your lazy-ass.  Just kidding!  Bell said, “Watson I need you.”  Now, in the spirit of the long legacy of the telephone as the unsurpassed marketing giant of both Realtor and lender alike, let’s all pick up our newest version of the telephone and call ten people today; 10 people that might get you closer to your professional goals. 

Russian investors in the USA

Hey I have a question; since we’re sanctioning Russia, does that mean we can kick all the Russian organized crime out of the United States? I’ve seen that movie “A history of violence”, and I think the Russian mob is on a different level.  Not good people, not good.  This whole thing did kind of get me thinking; Russians invest in real estate in the States and I know we’re confiscating massive yachts, so are we also taking Russian investment properties?  Here’s a good starting point.  

According to a NAR survey a full 29% of Russian investments in US real estate is in the state of Florida.  That makes sense. I think if you ever spent a couple winters in Siberia or Stalingrad or Leningrad, you’d probably opine for the sandy tropical beaches, drinks with umbrellas, blue-buffoon-New York transplants, and a few Jimmy Buffet tunes being served up in sunny Florida as a warm and welcome alternative to Russian winters.  

Florida is followed by GA at 16%, NY at 13% CA 8%, Ill at 5%, and then a whole bunch of states at 3%.

Getting nervous

From Forbes, Dolly Lenz, one of the most sought-after luxury real estate brokers in America, tells Fortune she’s getting inundated with inquiries from Russian clients who are considering selling their U.S. real estate holdings. Those luxury units—with a lot worth over $10 million—are located in some of Miami’s and New York City’s most exclusive neighborhoods, including Billionaires’ Row in Manhattan. “The heat is up. They’re scared that they’re going to have their real estate seized or potentially seized. Or linked to someone who is seized. They’re scared to death of [guilt] by association,”

Further, and as you can imagine, this is effecting existing real estate sales when it comes to high-high-high-end properties in the states that the reds want. Quote, “We know of several deals where [Russian] buyers had put down money on new development—with significant deposits. And are deciding to not go through with the deal. That’s pretty bad…They told us they will walk away from the deposit if the climate stays this way,” Lenz says. In some cases, she says, they’d lose a deposit upwards of $15 million if they go through with exiting the real estate development deals.

Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act

So interestingly we have a long rich history of taking peoples properties without their consent.  It’s what gives us legal, not necessarily moral authority under the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act, which has its roots in the 18th century when America would seize cargo from foreign ships that didn’t pay a customs or import tax. It also grew in use as a drug law enforcement tool in the 1980s, and it’s a common tool against terrorists and fugitives. Civil forfeiture laws have become popular ways for state and local governments to raise revenue, although critics say it’s a practice abused by law enforcement to profit off of criminal activity and now, countries that make our naughty list. 

Now, at this point if you’re the average Dmetry or Svetlana Russian living in the United States, it doesn’t appear government or laws at any level are leveling their sites on your home or business.  These seizures are reserved for the oligarchs who own properties and toys that make headlines, and if you know anything about American politics, our elected officials won’t do anything unless it’s covered in the press. As the siege continues, you might see sentiment change to be more inclusive in our exclusive behavior.  

Save the Vodka

Oh, and one more thing, quit pouring out your Russian vodka, most of it is distilled and bottled right here in the United States of America.