Today is another AMA episode (Ask Me Anything). Ryan in Los Angeles asks:
“I’m astounded by your prolific podcasting and breadth of knowledge. You seem to be inside my head in that whenever I think of a question to ask, I usually find the answer by listening to earlier episodes of your podcast. Please keep up the amazing work.
Where do you go to or what do you use to curate your summary of daily or weekly news sources you read to stay abreast of your real estate and related economic news? I find myself being overwhelmed by having to pick certain sites (e.g., REIS, NMHC, John Burns Consulting, Marcus & Millichap, etc.) to read each week.”
This is a great question. Developing content for the show is an intentional process that consists of a balance of topics of different types. As much as possible, I would like the content to be evergreen, that is to say, timeless. Some episodes are precisely that, a timeless piece of content on a particular topic. For example, if you search back through the archives. There is an episode on water rights. That’s an example of evergreen content.
Some topics are tie into something that is trending in the news. For example, there will usually be an updated economic outlook once a quarter, or an interest rate adjustment. But this year, things have been changing so rapidly, that once a quarter isn’t enough. The impacts are being felt fast and furious.
I try to cycle through the major segments in the industry including residential, multi-family apartments, retail, hospitality, office and industrial.
To answer your question specifically, I have a number of sources that I refer to regularly to when I’m researching topics.
The major brokerage houses have research departments. I read those reports and often use them as a launch pad for deeper research. I also look at the reports from the research wings of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The folks at Fannie Mae under chief economist Dr. Doug Duncan do some of the best research in the business.
I pay attention to what some of the most tenant friendly politicians are saying. For example I regularly receive press releases from certain elected officials at the Federal and State level. They often put out a press release when they table draft legislation.
I follow the work of Dr. Chris Martenson, Dr. John Campbell, Simon Black, David Stockman, Jim Grant the author of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer. I follow John Mauldin. He’s an economist who is one of the best connected guys in the business. He has central bankers on speed dial on his phone.
I speak with other investors. I speak with Robert Kiyosaki, Russell Gray, Robert Helms, Brien Lundin, folks who are specialists in their specific area.
I also mine Business Insider, the Wall Street Journal, Apartments.com, the Financial Times, the Globe and Mail, the National Association of Realtors. What I’ve shared is a subset of a long list of regular sources.
But when I find a story that I think will be interesting, I’m not merely retelling the story from a newspaper. I will go to the original sources and construct a completely new perspective on the story based on my own observation. For example, the story on yesterday’s show was about a landlord defending a discrimination complaint in New Jersey. It was reported in a local Northern New Jersey publication. I went to the 10 page transcript of the settlement ruling from the New Jersey Attorney General’s office in order to make sense of the story.
If the source of the story is in a fringe publication, I will look and see if the story has made it into some of the more mainstream publications. I don’t want to be seen as part of the lunatic fringe. There are some days when I’ve completed the research and the summary for an episode and I decide against publication. Those are difficult decisions.
Thank you Ryan for a great question.