Real Music & Real Estate . . .

Yiddishe Cup’s bandleader, Bert Stratton, is Klezmer Guy.

He knows about the band biz and – check this out – the real estate biz, too.

You may not care about the real estate biz. Hey, you may not care about the band biz. (See you.)

This is a blog with a gamy twist. It features tenants with snakes and skunks, and musicians with smoked fish in their pockets.

Stratton has written op-eds for the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post.



I get a kick looking at buildings for sale. Any kind of building: office, commercial, multi-family. I feel like I’m going out on a date. My heart races. Not everybody is a deal junkie, I know. Deals are stressful and there’s a lot of posturing. Most people don’t go for it. There’s risk — enormous risk.

I know brokers. They all work on commission. Nobody is on salary. They eat what they kill. There’s a lot of BS, as you can imagine.

When I  see a property that throws a nice bottom line, I skip around my living room like a kid. I do a deal or two a year. My dad owned a shoe store in Willowick. His landlord was Albert Ratner. When I first started, I called Ratner. I cold-called him. He agreed to meet me at his Terminal Tower office. I said, “My dad used to have the shoe store in Willowick. Remember him?” Of course Ratner remembered my dad. We talked about Arnold’s Shoes. Ratner said, “I take it you don’t want to sell shoes. You want to learn about real estate. Then do it. Buy a building and learn it.”

I did. I like it. I like almost every facet of real estate. I even like bankers.

Granted, there are always holes to patch. Asphalt, concrete. Nothing lasts forever. Office buildings — the worst. Medical-office space – the absolute worst. Medical is very painful. Doctor as tenants, they think they’re God.

Multi-family . . . I’ve made a fortune there. I’ve got a crew that’s on top of everything. Still, I handle some of the mishigas myself. A tenant calls and says, “Hey, my bathroom ceiling is falling in.” Ever heard of humidity, buddy? Open a window. “Hey, my stove smells like carbon monoxide.” Bullshit. Carbon monoxide is odorless. “Hey, my cat is dying from the black mold in the bathroom.” Black mold is not Black Plague, deary. Get some Clorox and a scrub brush.

I like foreclosures; I like straight-cash deals; I like leverage. I’m a deal animal. For me, there’s nothing better than hanging around old people at Jewish Federation events and asking if they own property. Some sell, some don’t. No broker. Sweet.

I have holdings in Ohio, Utah, Florida and Texas. I’m not only Rust Belt. I learned that from Ratner.

Please call my assistant if you’ve got something for me to look at. Thank you.


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1 comment

1 Ken Goldberg { 05.17.23 at 10:11 am }

Whew – took 11 hours of my precious time to get through that one, Bert! I hope you send it to Al Ratner, whom I hope, at 95, has the time to read it….,

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