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How To Make Millions in Miami

By Tom Dyson, publisher, The Palm Beach Letter
Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The situation is bad in Miami, unless your name is Peter Zalewski.

I was there last week. To get a tour of one condo building, I told the ladies in the sales office I was a buyer. As soon as I said it, I felt like the gazelle who unknowingly stumbles into a lions' den... eyebrows raised, papers shuffled, and the receptionist started shooting surreptitious glances at her bosses when she thought I wasn't looking. I felt like a mark.

Thousands of realtors have lost their jobs in Miami and thousands more sit around all day waiting for their phones to ring... or for a dumb tourist like me to stumble in.

Another realtor I dealt with was so clingy and desperate, I had to ask her to stop calling me.

Yesterday, however, I spoke to Peter Zalewski.

Peter is a real estate broker in Miami. Unlike his competitors, his business is busier than it's ever been. He already employs 16 agents, and he's looking to hire nine more. Plus, he's busy opening franchises of his real estate business in Orlando and Tampa.

You see, Peter made a very smart business decision a few years ago. He saw what was happening in the Miami real estate market before anyone else and built a niche business to take advantage of it.

Peter named his niche business "Condo Vultures." He registered the name as a trademark and started peddling cheap condos to international bargain hunters. It turns out that with the dollar so cheap and international real estate markets so strong, many international bargain hunters want to invest in Miami condos. They call these people "condo vultures." I've written about this trend before here.

Yesterday, Peter told me he has 200 clients from all over the world. These aren't individual investors. These are hedge funds from London, consortiums from Asia, and bulk buyers from New York. Peter doesn't deal with individual condos anymore. He sells entire buildings.

Condo developers have reputations to protect. They can't let the press find out they have empty buildings. It scares buyers away. In today's market, this means they can't sell their condos using traditional brokers and sales channels. The condos simply end up flooding the listing services, alerting the press.

So they approach Peter and ask him to move their inventory in bulk, quietly. Peter e-mails his clients with the deal. They get an even bigger discount because the seller doesn't use a broker. Peter deals directly with the developers.

Yesterday Peter told me he had spoken with a developer just before I called. The developer wanted to move a whole building. Peter had three interested hedge funds respond back to him within minutes.

I don't think Miami condo prices will form a bottom for many years. Peter told me he's wary of false bottoms, too. But at the end of the day, he doesn't care what happens to the market for condos. As long as the condo vulture funds want to buy, Peter will sell Miami condos to them.

I love the way Peter turned crisis into opportunity. While all the other brokers in Miami are sitting on their hands looking for work, Peter is making millions. He figured it out before anyone else and now he's enjoying his reward. That's why I went to Miami last week. I wanted to find opportunity for you in this crisis. Unfortunately, condo prices are not cheap yet. In the meantime, I'll keep my eye on the market and pass on everything I learn. I hope you keep reading.

Good investing,


Market Notes


What you are about to read will not be popular among many readers: Gold is going nowhere for a while.

We are not gold bugs at DailyWealth. We don't believe America is poised for a depression. We don't believe in a global conspiracy to hold down the price of gold. We regularly take showers. We are however, gold bulls... and huge fans of gold for its "catastrophe insurance" qualities. In a world of fully priced assets, we think $800 gold is still cheap.

But considering its gain of $90 per ounce in just the last two months, we wouldn't be surprised to see the metal take a long break before rallying further. It's the way bull markets work: They breathe in; and they breath out. Given the gigantic long positions held by hedge funds and the tremendous fall rally, it's only a matter of time before the market shakes out weaker hands.

Our game plan for a gold decline? We couldn't care less. We bought our ounces years ago, and we'll buy more if gold goes "on sale."

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