Forums Welcome to NABPM Know when you’re being sabotaged….Know when you’re being blocked
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  • #1204 Reply
    Lance Thompson
    280 Posts

    Good people,

    Just want to say from the beginning that I’m going to get long-winded in this message because with me being over 40, and having had “a few birthdays”, I want you younger people to know how to spot a lot of the “subtle” racism you’re going to deal with in the real estate industry. Be aware from the beginning that racism will NOT stop you in real estate, or in any other industry for that matter. But you do have to be prepared to encounter it, and while I don’t want you to go out “looking for it” cause that will take you out of your game, be aware that it’s there, know how to spot it and know how to deal with it when you DO encounter it as you most assuredly will. As most of you are acutely aware, you don’t get called the n-word these days………naw, the racism is MUCH more subtle and “hard to spot”.

    So to make a long story short, I have gotten more & more to the point that I simply don’t want to deal with the City of Baltimore or with Washington, D.C. any more. Living here in the Washington, D.C. Area, I’ve had my fill of bad experiences with real estate in both Baltimore City and in Washington, D.C……..D.C. properties are wayyyyyyy overpriced and much too expensive and to me it’s simply a waste of time to buy a $500,000 home and then try to find all kinds of “creative ways” to make it profitable by renting it to 3, 4 or 5 tenants at a time, charging them astronomically high rent prices and then trying to find different ways to get all 3, 4 or 5 of them to pay their rent on time every month (which often backfires)……Baltimore on the other hand has properties that are much lower priced than DC, but Baltimore is so “tenant-friendly” that it’s “very difficult” to turn a steady profit with Baltimore properties. This is how tenant-friendly Baltimore is……#1. In Baltimore the water utility company doesn’t allow you to shift the water bill into the tenant’s name, it has to stay in the owner’s name throughout the duration of you owning the property……#2. If the tenant refuses to pay the water bill (which they often do), the water utility company won’t cut the water off so long as the property is tenant-occupied, nor will Baltimore courts allow the water to be shutoff……& #3. When the water bill accumulates up to $2,000 or higher they turn it into a lien against the property and then begin the process of taking the property FROM THE OWNER, leaving you with only 2 choices……either pay the water bill yourself OR lose your property. So as a result of such tenant-friendly laws, Baltimore has thousands of boarded-up homes that current owners or the banks CAN’T SELL…….they’re just sitting there. And when you buy a house in Baltimore City, it seldom goes UP in value…..most of the time it either remains the same price, or it goes DOWN in value, unless you buy in a very good area of Baltimore City which are few & far between. The only place where Baltimore properties go UP in value dependably is the much more expensive ones in the Baltimore suburbs! Now there are Baltimore property owners that come up with all kinds of “creative ways” to go after tenants many years after they have moved out to recoup the money the tenant owes them for past unpaid water bills…..I’ve talked to owners who have turned past water bills over to area collection agencies and have recouped their money that way. But my whole thing is this……why even go through that?? So I’ve been looking at other East Coast cities to invest in…..in particular, I have been taking a close look at Richmond, Virginia and at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as cities to buy more rental property in.

    I zeroed in on Pittsburgh so let’s move on to the specific racism I experienced when shopping for property up there recently. First thing I did was talk to this brother I’ve known here in D.C. for 25 years who was born & raised in Pittsburgh. I asked him what the city’s policy was regarding utility payments for tenants of Pittsburgh rental properties. He said that he didn’t know but that he could put me in touch with a high school classmate of his (a Sista) that works for the City of Pittsburgh who could tell me exactly what the city’s policies were. He gave me this woman’s phone #. I called her…..(this was about 12-15 months ago). I explained to her the frustration I was having in dealing with Baltimore’s water company regarding Baltimore water bills and I asked her what Pittsburgh’s policy was. She immediately set my mind at-ease and said “Oh no Mr. Thompson, you wont’ have to deal with anything even remotely close to that in Pittsburgh. Our city’s policy is that all utilities remain in the name of whoever lives ON the premises, and if they don’t pay the water bill, the gas bill or the electric bill here? That utility immediately gets cut OFF. Pittsburgh doesn’t play that.” I said “Cool……thank you very much Maam. You’ve been extremely helpful”.

    So as of late, because my property management company in Baltimore has been doing an outstanding job in collecting the monthly rent AND in getting my current tenant to PAY her water bill, I’ve gotten my investment account up to the amount where now I want to shop for more property. I ran a Google search of “Pittsburgh realtors” and I found a bunch of them that came up in my search…….very few of whom “Look like us” if you get what I’m saying. So I found one White/Jewish guy and called him. He and I were feeling each other out on the phone and I could tell in the 1st conversation that he wasn’t sure of my race on the phone (I’ve been told that with my name and the way that I sound that it takes a little time to figure out that I’m actually black……but trust me, I don’t try to camouflage my race when talking to people, I’ll gladly drop the signals to let them know I’m African-American…..I would rather not beat around the bush about stuff like that……I mean, they’re gonna find out at some point, might as well be up front about it). But by about the 2nd or 3rd conversation I dropped a few “blatant”, in-your-face hints to let him know that I was black, and after that he started in with the “subtle discouragement”. He gave me 3 red flags that signaled to me that he was a racist bigot:

    1st red flag……..He asked me “why” I wanted to buy in Pittsburgh? Now in my opinion that was really none of his business, but I was willing to “humor” his nosey a$$…….so I told him about the frustration I was experiencing in Baltimore with it’s tenant-friendly laws. As far as I’m concerned? I could have just told him I like the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Pittsburgh Pirates or the Pittsburgh Penguins and have just been done with the subject, but like I said, I decided to humor him just to see how he would respond. He listened and then told me “Well you know that the laws on utilities in Pittsburgh are exactly the same as Baltimore don’t you?”…….I KNEW THAT WAS A LIE. I had already had the conversation with the Sista that works for the City of Pittsburgh to find out their laws on utilities for rental properties. I informed him that that was simply not true and then told him about the conversation I had had with the woman that worked for the City of Pittsburgh which caught him off-guard……”Oh is that right?? Well I haven’t looked into that in a while, she may be right”…….No she WAS right. He knew by then that he had “stepped in it” so he got off the subject.

    #2nd red flag……I told him upfront that I had an LLC already formed and also had a mortgage lender lined-up ready to lend to the LLC I already had formed for the next property I purchased. He asked me 50 times, over and over again…….”So you already have an LLC formed?”………”Yes”………”And you already have a mortgage lender willing to lend to an LLC?”………”Yes”………..”And do you have a Pittsburgh Area property manager lined up as well??”………”Yes”……..”Well I’ve got a mortgage lender here in Pittsburgh you may want to deal with. Maybe he’d be good for you to work with??”………”Well I’ve already got a lender”…….”Well okay…..you may want to keep this guy on file though. I’ll give you his number and you can call him and ask him any questions you may have”………..I sighed……”Okay give me his number”. He gives me the guy’s phone # and so just to humor the realtor I call the guy…….The guy was attitudinal, curt and downright ANGRY from the time he got on the phone with me……he starts telling me all of the reasons why HE can’t lend to an LLC……”Yeah I told the realtor that that’s the reason why I’m dealing with a smaller community bank anyway because I knew that they’re not bound by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac regulations like the bigger banks are. I knew that us talking was gonna be a waste of time”……..So he and I mutually agreed that the conversation was a waste of time and got off the phone……after we got off the phone I was like “What the f–k was that guy’s problem??”……..

    3rd red flag……..The realtor had given me access to Pittsburgh’s electronic MLS real estate website and he had put the specific criteria in for me………..Single family homes and Multi family homes for $60,000 or less…….So I went into the website and found 15 homes that I wanted to make the 4 & 1/2 hour drive up there to see. So I e-mailed him back on Tuesday night, September 26th with all 15 addresses, all priced in the range of $13k – $30k and told him in that e-mail “Okay I’m coming up there this weekend to see these specific houses on Saturday, September 30th and Sunday October 1st. I’m gonna hit the road right after I get off of work on Friday afternoon so let’s setup a time to get together on Saturday morning or afternoon so we can go house hunting, and on Sunday we can put in the bids on the ones that I like”…….I call him on Wednesday morning to see if he got my e-mail with the 15 addresses. He said “Yeah I got your e-mail…..unfortunately this weekend is a Jewish Holiday so we’re going to have to schedule it for the following weekend, October 7th & 8th”……….My response?……”Won’t most of those houses be sold/under contract and off the market by then??”………”Some of them will be, but many of them will definitely still be available”………..And I’m thinking “At those low-ball prices??”………..I KNEW THAT ALSO WAS A LIE.

    Red flag #3 was the final red flag and the nail in the coffin for me and his business relationship. After we got off the phone I then ran another Google search, did some inquiring around and got referred to this brother who is a realtor up in Pittsburgh named Chris…….Chris listened to the story about the White/Jewish realtor and said “Mannnnnn……black man to black man that’s how the game is played up here. Pittsburgh is a very racially polarized City with a very large elderly white population with an Old School mentality and belief that black people should stay in very low-paying jobs and have no business being involved in real estate or other high paying professions. That elderly white population has passed those beliefs on to their offspring, nieces and nephews, other relatives and younger whites in their neighborhoods so I’m not even slightly surprised at what you experienced”. He then proceeded to invite me up for September 30th so we could go house hunting which is exactly what we did this past weekend. Turns out this guy has an OUTSTANDING work ethic so he & I will be doing business FOR YEARS………..years you hear me?? From the time we linked-up on Saturday afternoon we were driving around Pittsburgh, visiting the addresses of the homes I wanted to look at. He made my time there “extremely productive”. THAT’S my kind of realtor, you hear me??

    The next message will show you the final text message I sent to the White/Jewish realtor to let him know that I had found a new realtor and that we would be parting ways immediately.

    #1205 Reply
    Lance Thompson
    280 Posts

    Good people,

    Below is the text message I sent to the White/Jewish realtor to inform him that I had found a new realtor. Needless to say, this is not his real name nor the real name of the racist mortage lender I dealt with. Their names have been changed to protect their identities, and to protect the NABPM from ever being sued. The biggest thing that I want you to notice and that I want ALL OF YOU to implement as a regular practice when you decide to hire a realtor is this………if it’s a white realtor that you don’t feel “comfortable” with……..if your gut keeps telling you to NOT trust this person, do NOT………I repeat do NOT sign an exclusive agreement for them and them only to be your realtor. Now don’t get me wrong……..if you ever make the mistake of signing an agreement like that and you find that you want to get rid of that realtor, you can just call their boss and 9.9 times out of 10 their boss will allow you OUT of that contract. But the point is, if you feel in your gut that you can’t trust him or her, be VERY RELUCTANT to sign that exclusive agreement with them. You can end up “wasting time” getting out of it which can lead to you missing out on properties you may want to bid on.

     

    Hans,

    Just sending you a note to let you know that I’ve got a new realtor and you & I won’t be working together anymore. No disrespect but I just got the feeling that you were trying to discourage & block me instead of encourage & help me. And the conversation with Jason Schneider at ABC Bank yesterday was what sealed it. When he & I got on the phone he was very curt and attitudinal with me for no reason whatsoever. I got off the phone wondering “What was the purpose of that conversation? I’ve already told Hans that I’ve got a lender ready to lend to me. And what the f–k was that guy’s problem?”. That just struck me as a complete waste of my time…..more like an effort to “stall me”. That’s why I’ve never signed any exclusive agreement with you. ┬áSo anyway, I’ve got a new realtor lined-up who will be showing me the houses I want to see on this coming Saturday, September 30th and Sunday, October 1st.

    Good luck to you. See ya around.

     

    Lance T.

    #1215 Reply
    Reginald Ready
    280 Posts

    Interesting post, thanks for sharing!

    #1222 Reply
    Lance Thompson
    280 Posts

    Yeah, no problem Reg. You know, when you listen to these comments by this white conservative Reverend Jamie Johnson who had to resign from the Department of Homeland Security because of these comments, while initially it may make you mad…..listen to the “whole” of his comments and what he’s saying in its entirety. He mentions here some of the sentiments expressed to him by black Jamaicans and Africans who feel like American blacks suffer from laziness and an unwillingness to work hard to reach our goals. Now I know that what he’s saying there regarding that sentiment toward American blacks by Jamaicans and Africans is true because I have heard some of those sentiments expressed by some of our Jamaican and African brothers and sisters firsthand, and on more than one occasion…….as have many of you. My ex is from the Ibo tribe of Nigeria and she and her parents used to express that sentiment to me quite often. So I know that Reverend Jamie Johnson is telling the truth on that.

    The problem is that he’s making the 1 mistake that white conservatives ALWAYS make…….they NEVER account for the bigotry, discrimination and racism that takes place on a daily basis against many American blacks like the racism that I outlined in this lengthy e-mail. And whenever white conservatives DO acknowledge the discrimination that we face everyday they always say something like “Well it’s always easy to complain about it. You guys never actually DO anything about it though”.

    Well that’s the entire purpose of the NABPM…….to DO something about the discrmination black and brown people face and encounter in real estate. For future reference, any of you black people ever hear any complaints from ANYBODY that’s white about the National Association of Black Property Managers regarding whether there’s a need for this organization or about “How would you react if you saw a bumper sticker that said National Association of White Property Managers?” or “How would you react if you saw a bumper sticker that said National Association of Jewish Property Managers?”, you should immediately shoot back with “Op!!!……..Op!!!……Op!!!…….Op!!!…….You all are always griping, moaning and complaining that black people only sit around and complain about discrimination and racism but that we never DO something about it. The NABPM has been assembled to give us a fighting chance against the racism and discrimination that we face in real estate. This IS us doing something about it. So I don’t want to hear you griping when we TAKE ACTION!! Now we’re DOING something about it…….so go somewhere and have a seat.”

     

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