“I actually think it’s going to get worse. This is the new normal, and I think that you need to educate yourselves”
–David Greenfield, at JCON
Saul Friedman, managing partner, Saul N. Friedman and Co., JCON seminar speaker: Understanding Your Financials From a Bank’s Perspective
or those looking for thought leadership in their field, mentors and a solid support system are essential. JCON, a Jewish conference network based in Brooklyn, is doing just that — working to offer a plethora of resources to Jewish entrepreneurs. For their latest conference, they partnered up with Mishpacha Media Group in order to best serve the needs of the klal. Last Tuesday, July 9th, was the fourth annual JCON Real Estate Summit, drawing a record crowd of over 600 real estate professionals from the Tristate area.
In his keynote speech introduction, Mishpacha’s CEO, Avi Lazar, explained why the brand felt the need to get involved. “We have written extensively about the growing struggle within our community to financially support a family, in Mishpacha Magazine and 2.0 — our new business and innovation magazine. However, we realized that we can do more than just the printed word. Events like this allow us to include reallife experience in a practical way, expanding our reach from beyond just print. ” Shea Rubinstein, co-founder of JCON and executive vice president of JCC of Marine Park, had a pretty lofty set of goals for the night: “[We want] to empower individuals who’ve entered the real estate space by creating informative and relevant seminars, and [to give them opportunities for] meetings with the most prominent leaders in the industry and their peers.”
Rabbi Yehoshua Werde, co-founder of JCON and director of Crown Heights Young Entrepreneur agreed, adding: “My goal in this event and in all events that we do, is to empower the next generation by exposing them to a variety of industry professionals.” The event was split into three distinct sections — seminars, a keynote speech, and networking (with dinner, of course), and all of those objectives were accomplished beyond expectation. With the shape and feel of real estate changing in the wake of the NYC rent regulation law — which eliminated the ability for landlords to raise rent on NYC rent-controlled apartments, even if improvements are made on the unit — many attendees felt it was a particularly relevant time to band together with like-minded professionals and discuss the growing concern that NYC real estate is a declining market. David Greenfield’s seminar on NYC rent regulations addressed this issue, discussing the changing political landscape and the ramifications these changes will continue to have.
Ralph Herzka, in his keynote speech addressing the packed crowd, noted that if people are concerned about closing opportunities, there are other options to diversify, including out-of-state options in nearby locations like New Jersey, Maryland, and Connecticut; and he urged people to learn about emerging fields like opportunity zones. Herzka remarked “I’ve been doing this for 35 years and I’m amazed at how every day there is another opportunity in real estate.” Rubinstein is in agreement with that, reminding real estate professionals that the field is varied and vast. “Building owners and management are only a piece of the industry. There’s also construction, development, and new construction rentals that aren’t affected by these laws,” he says.
HERE’S WHAT YOU MISSED: QUOTES FROM INDUSTRY LEADERS AND PROFESSIONALS AT JCON + MISHPACHA’S FOURTH ANNUAL REAL ESTATE SUMMIT
ON MERIDIAN’S SUCCESS: “I’m really proud of the people in the company. People are what make any major company. We have a lot of great individuals and the way we motivate them is that we’re like a family. The company is 400 people today, so it’s getting harder, but… we deal with issues, and we respect each other. There’s a tremendous amount of respect from within the company for what we do, and it’s worked in many ways.”
— Ralph Herzka
chairman and CEO of Meridian Capital Group, in his standing-room-only keynote speech
EXPLAINING DEPRECIATION’S PROS & CONS: “[Filing for] depreciation is a bonus you get for buying real estate. You get to take a portion of your investment property and you can pull it out as an expense every year, as your income. You can’t do that with stock, and you can’t do that with most other investments. It’s a huge property tax advantage. The problem is, if you sell a property, whatever you’ve taken out as depreciation as a tax deduction, you now have to repay at a rate of 25 percent.”
— Michael S. Brady, Esq.
executive VP, Madison Commercial Real Estate, in his seminar Tax Strategies for Creating Real Estate Wealth
DISCUSSING THE NEW RENT REGULATION LAWS: “I actually think it’s going to get worse. This is the new normal, and I think that you need to educate yourselves. I’m telling this to you to understand, so that next time this happens you should not be surprised; you’ll realize where the trend is going.”
— David Greenfield
former city councilman, CEO and executive director of Met Council, in his seminar NYC Rent Regulation: All You Need to Know
FINDING YOUR TRIBE: “Do your research. Find smart people to help you in the industry. Surround yourself with the right people, and work harder than everyone else by triple.”
— Meir Fried
VP of J. Wasser Management, JCON speed Mentor
WHY DISRUPTION IS GOOD: “Notwithstanding the draconian and misguided legislation which was signed into law, any real estate professional, including tenants themselves, should realize that disruption equals opportunity. Game changers usually mean there will be winners and losers. Recognize, as real estate professionals and New Yorkers, we’ve weathered worse and we will prevail. Fairness and equality do not require socialism. Democracy will prevail over time.”
— David Schechtman
senior executive managing director at Meridian Capital Group, seminar speaker: Listing Secrets
ASKING FOR HELP: “There are so many people in the frum community that have already reached success and want to be that uncle that helps you succeed. They were there for me when I was looking to start work, guiding me or introducing me to other people that made my climb so much easier. It’s one thing starting at the bottom of the ladder, but when you have a person who’s looking out for you, it can help you jump a bunch of rungs. In our community there are so many people who can and will help.”
— Sruly Rosenbaum
regional business director, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services
ADVICE FOR NEW ENTREPRENEURS: “I would tell young people to get themselves a connection with somebody who has a lot of experience. You can learn a lot. The older experienced people really enjoy giving advice. I had one of my clients interview me, and he said to me ‘I’d like to learn, not from my own mistakes, but from your clients’ mistakes.’ I know what mistakes my clients have made, and based on that, I can give good advice. That also goes with hard work, being honest, being organized, keeping appointments on time, and realizing that money doesn’t grow on trees. You won’t strike it rich the first week, or the first year. That kind of money is not going to last. Slowly save and grow, along with your age.”
— Saul Friedman
managing partner, Saul N. Friedman and Co., seminar speaker: Understanding Your Financials From a Bank’s Perspective
MANAGING YOUR EXPECTATIONS: “The secret in real estate is to keep pushing through the hurdles. People want to go into the business and all of a sudden they see so many diff erent hurdles that they have, and they give up before they even start. It’s easy to say and hard to do. It’s not a business that you’re going in, and expecting it to come easy to you. You have to know going in, that you’re going to have to fi ght for your life on a daily basis. And if you’re willing to do that, then this is the perfect business for you.”
— Eli Karp
founder and CEO of Hello Living, JCON speed mentor
DAVEN FOR SUCCESS: “Be proactive, be creative, be curious, become expert in what you do. Constantly daven for success. Before and after every meeting, every email, every proposal, say a short tefi lla to Hashem asking that your efforts should bear fruit.”
Director of SBA & Business Lending, Cross River Bank
Thank you to Mendel Rosenfeld Director of Swiss Events for the seamless production and coordination of the event.
(Originally featured in 2.0, Issue 4)