What The Madoff Scandal Can Teach Real Estate Investors And Managers

Check your numbers.

The recent fiasco stemming from Bernie Madoff’s elaborate Ponzi Scheme has cost many investors billions of dollars. From wealthy individuals to schools and non-profits, the truth is slowly being uncovered that thousands of wealthy people did not check their numbers.

The Guardian reports that, after much research, it would seem that Madoff never traded any shares and simply made up the figures he sent to investors in neat trustworthy-looking statements. They were so delighted with the unbelievable returns that they neglected to check the numbers.

Check your numbers.

  • When you go over receipts, expense statements, and bills, are you in the habit of looking for irregularities? Make regular reviews a part of your work habit. Even the best bookkeeper has bad days and may start writing checks on a Friday afternoon that would never be written on a Monday morning.
  • Do you know how long a building project or repair should take under normal conditions? Do not be afraid to request itemization on any bills that seem too high or even, too low. A remarkably-low bill may be an attempt at making money from your sloppiness. If you aren’t sure of a price, call around and get an estimate. A few minutes can save you a few dollars quickly and a large sum over the long term.
  • When you consider a new property, do you take the time to check the numbers or are you liable to get caught up in the excitement of a high return? Taking the time to research typical occupation rates and costs can be time-consuming and boring, but the effort will reward you with a clear picture of the investment you’re looking at.
There may not be much Madoff’s investors can do about their lost money. Taking the time to learn from their mistakes offers a way for the rest of us to gain value from those bad investments. Check the numbers!