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Simple compelling thoughts on rental residential real estate

Real estate is compelling. I spent yesterday mulling on a new syndicated deal. I’ve done several in recent weeks.

In a great, growing location, nothing is more predictable and less worrying.

There are simple things you can do to hike the value — they’re called improvements. I hear a lot about granite counter-tops. (I wonder who makes them?)

Leverage helps goose the return. But it’s risky when the inevitable downturn comes.

The successful dynasties own the stuff outright, eventually.

Today I’m liking residential rental real estate — at rents affordable to middle class professionals working in the neighborhood.

Buy because you like the product or service? Peter Lynch used that great theory to great reward. It hasn’t worked for me as well. In fact, I often hate the product and the stock goes up — viz. Facebook. 

I hate eBay but I bought it because of the PayPal stock dividend, which I now have.

I buy things on eBay. But I hate its “service” and its web interface. No one has paid the eBay website any serious attention in years. Please hire me for a day and I’ll fix your site. Promise. No charge.

Suffice, I’m selling my eBay stock this morning.

Apple goes up and down like a mad woman’s fec*s. When it goes down, it’s painful. When it goes up, it’s Heaven. To avoid this battering of my fragile ego, I have two solutions:

1. Have faith and ignore the gyrations.

2. Own only a small number of Apple shares. I now have 3,000 which is far fewer than in the past. Rule: Never have too many. My latest theory: The more you own, the more you’ll be disappointed. It’s like Murphy’s Law in reverse.

Here’s the last year. It looks like it’s trying to break out, though reading charts is like reading tea leaves:


Please don’t download Windows 10. There are two reasons

1. Microsoft’s big upgrades to Windows are initially always buggy. I have read reports of bugs already.

2. Microsoft will send you automatic “updates” you can’t stop and which you will not want. That’s the true pig in a poke.

There’s an old rule in computing: If it works, don’t mess with it.

I’m running on Windows 7. I’m perfectly happy with it. If you’re unhappy, buy yourself an Mac. All my friends have them and love them.

For more on the upcoming disaster that is Windows 10, read Forbes Magazine’s piece “Windows 10 Automatic Updates Causing Serious New Problems.” Click here.

There are other views on Windows 10. From

The verdict so far:

Windows 10 has a lot of genuinely useful new features, as well as key improvements to old features, compared to Windows 7. None is enough on its own to make an upgrade necessary, but when combined they do make a compelling case. You’ve got better search, window management, file management, gaming tools and more. Indeed it’s only really the styling that we’re less keen on, which in the grand scheme of things is a minor point. As such, with Windows 10 being a free upgrade it would almost be silly not to at least try it.

Harry speaking now: If you do install Windows 10, do install it on a test machine, or a test hard drive. Do NOT upgrade on your day-to-day working machine.

Local contractors can do well. I spent last week at our country house trying to deal with them.

Conclusion:You can make a good living as a contractor and grow your business. But, you’d better turn up when you say you will. Calling every ten minutes to say you’ll be late doesn’t cut it. Clients get sick of begging. Good idea: respond to email.

Favorite recent New Yorker cartoons:





Harry Newton who travels to meetings and does errands around New York City on his wonderful folding Dahon bicycle. I can “park” my bike in a restaurant’s coat closet. I can check it into hotel.  I can take it into offices and boardrooms. It’s so much faster than the subway or Uber. Check out Dahon’s bikes here.

This is the Dahon MU-LT10, which will be released soon. It weighs about 21 lbs, which is very light for a folding bike. It’s around $1,600. But worth every penny.


Folded, it fits neatly into any car’s trunk, any closet, or under your table at a restaurant. Never leave this bike outside, even chained. It will be stolen.