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Top Real Estate Moguls

Who are the real estate moguls who started with nothing? How do you become a real estate mogul? Let's take a look at some real estate moguls and see how they got rich buying and selling real estate. Let's learn how property moguls run their real estate businesses and got rich.

However, let's not forget that owning investment properties is hard. Investing in real estate is hard. There are ups and downs and problems that arise, but long term, there are a lot of benefits to owing property. And not everyone gets a million dollars from their father to start out in the real estate business like real etate mogul Donald Trump. So while it's good to dream and to want to become a real estate mogul, it takes a lot of hard work and some luck.

The number one way to become a real estate mogul is to follow around a real life real estate mogul, not just by watching reality TV shows about real estate. Go out and get an actual real estate investor and ask them to be your mentor. Perhaps you become their intern or offer to work for them for a low salary just so you can learn the ins and outs of the real estate industry.

And while there are plenty of famous real estate moguls, sometimes the most interesting are the families that own an apartment complex say in New York or San Francisco and have held on to it for generations, it makes money both in cash flow on a monthly basis from tenants, and also increases in overall value as real estate prices go up in the area. Those are the hidden real estate moguls that pass their real estate properties down to family members for generations.


Mathias Pastwa/Flickr

What makes a real estate mogul—what qualities put them in this esteemed class? First off, they own a number of real estate properties, and most often own property with a certain cache, say a skyscraper in Manhattan.

Real estate moguls also have a certain confidence and attitude verging on arrogance. They think they know it all. But they too have had ups and downs, some even going bankrupt. They’re entertaining and say things they might regret. Above all, they work hard and have a long history in the real estate industry.
Here’s a rough list of some of the real estate investing moguls we’ve gathered.

  • David Siegel (owner of Las Vegas time shares and made famous in Queen of Versailles documentary)
  • Barbara Corcoran (of Shark Tank fame)
  • Donald Trump (With the help of his father, who gave him a million dollars to start out with)
  • Allan Dalton - CEO of Realtor.com
  • K.P. Singh – Chairman of India’s real estate group, DLF
  • Mike Bloomberg
  • Astors - "the landlords of New York"
  • Ted Turner
  • Rockefellers
  • Harry Helmsley
  • Vincent H.S. Lo (Created Shanghai's version of "The Apprentice" called "The Winner"
  • Sam Zell
  • Steve Wynn of Las Vegas
  • Robert Kiyosaki - Rich Dad Poor Dad
  • William Zeckendorf - United States real estate developer
  • Donald Bren
  • Ingvar Kamprad (Founder of IKEA)

Moguls are not all P Diddy's in suits. Moguls, or tycoons Rich Dad, Poor Dad even, possess qualities that have enabled them to reach this level of success: hard workers, they're seekers, curiosity is a big trait, want to learn all the time, good business savvy, and experience. But all of them (or at least, most of them) started out on the bottom rung. Sure, some have a family history in real estate that put them on the top of the heap from the get go—still, they've made mistakes along the way, and that's when they learned the most.

Nowadays, with YouTube becoming the viral water cooler, a mogul or apprentice mogul can say some things and the message is quickly spread across the circuitry of the Internet. Take Allan Dalton of Realtor.com. Here's someone who knows everything there is to know about buying real estate.

In fact, becoming a real estate mogul yourself is not beyond your abilities. As I just mentioned, no one is really born a mogul, but they become one. For example, Ingvar Kamprad, founder of Swedish furniture giant IKEA and fourth wealthiest person in the world, started his business career as a boy selling matches until more profitable wares became available to him, such as Christmas tree decorations, seeds, and ballpoint pens. Aside from determination, time, experience, and the other favorable qualities described above, he’s also highly parsimonious. He drives a 15 year old Volvo, encourages his employees to write on two sides of each paper, and even flies economy class.

There’s something to be said about thriftiness and selling things that hold you back, but there’s probably more to be said about knowledge. After all, what good will experience, penny pinching, and curiosity serve if you can’t retain information?

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”

Robert Kiyosaki even said it bluntly in his book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, that you need to educate yourself in all fields of the real estate arena, including financing, accounting, and law. Also integral to learning and preserving this information is repetition so it will stick with you for the long run.

It also helps to be enthusiastic and genuinely excited and/or interested in what you’re doing. No one necessarily likes being in a situation they’re forced into or one they feel indifferent about. Remember, you’re in real estate for a reason, whatever that reason may be. If you see a run-down property and get excited at the mere thought of sprucing it up to create value and making a profit, you’re on the right track to success. This enthusiasm also fosters determination and motivation to hunt down as many properties as you can but always with the mindset of quality over quantity if you want to build and uphold a reputation. Remember, you have pride and a career on the line.

According to Harvard Business School, good people skills were emphasized as an extremely important asset to any mogul. You need to know how to work with people and understand there's an art to negotiating, but for the aspiring mogul, a charismatic personality alone won’t cut the mustard. People skills are learned with time and experience—you can’t just slap on a smile and make a deal.

You also have to understand the morals and ethics of the people you’re working with. If the other party you’re dealing with has significantly different morals than yours, you may not feel right sealing the deal, so it might be best to walk away. In this regard, you’ll need to consider the repercussions your actions may have on other people not involved directly in the deal, such as the public at large.

Unlikely Real Estate Moguls

Some real estate moguls might be the unlikeliest of people. Who would’ve thought of Madonna or Clint Eastwood as moguls? Well, if by mogul we mean someone fabulously successful and knowledgeable in real estate, then certainly we can omit those two from the list, but if cash and property are all that’s necessary, then we have a different ballgame altogether. Both of these stars were purportedly interested in purchasing their own islands, independently of course, but capable of doing so nonetheless. Ted Turner owns more than 1.8 million acres, making him the largest landowner in the US.



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