A Modest Proposal for Wealthy Foreign Real Estate Investors

by Mike Cabellon

Ideally, if you’re reading this, you’re rich. Nay, you’re mega-rich. You are probably from another country, and you’re an oil magnate, or a construction baron, or maybe even a royal sheikh. And, ideally, you own some luxury property in New York City. Allow me to introduce myself: I’m Mike. I’m 25, college educated, and broke as shit. Not that that’s a particularly unique circumstance. My generation is notoriously underemployed, and New York real estate is, as you probably know, very expensive.

But according to a recent New York magazine article, folks like you are gobbling up New York luxury condos like Vegemite/speculoos/whatever food is popular in your country. What’s more alarming, however, is the fact that “30 percent of all apartments in the quadrant from 49th to 70th Streets between Fifth and Park are vacant at least ten months a year.” What?!

Let me propose something here, because I’ve got a problem (that is, most of my income goes toward rent) and you’ve got a solution. It’s simple: Let me live in your luxury condo.

Hear me out: You wouldn’t have to lift a finger. I’m not asking for your time, or your money. I’m not asking you to pay off my debt, or even to hire me a moving company. All I’m asking for is permission.

I currently pay $925 a month for an admittedly nice, but windowless room in Brooklyn. It’s reasonably sized and, as far as rooms go, not the worst thing I’ve ever lived in. And, in all fairness, $925 is a pretty good deal for Brooklyn. But you know what would be even better than paying $925 a month for a small room? Paying nothing for an entire high-rise condo.

The New York article goes to particular lengths to explain the amount of secrecy required to make these fancy real estate purchases: shell companies, offshore accounts, briefcases full of cash, the works. It’s like a James Bond movie. So, understandably, you — a man or woman of extraordinary discretion — wouldn’t want any ol’ schmo living in your real estate investment that might have their nose all up in your business.

If you let me live in your property for free, you can rest assured that I, for all intents and purposes, am an idiot. I don’t speak Russian, Portuguese, or any other foreign language. I don’t understand anything about finances; I have no idea what diversifying investments means or what an amortization schedule is. I barely have a working understanding of how my own student loan repayments work.

With the money I save on rent every month, I could do lots of stuff. Maybe I could upgrade my cell phone plan to 3GB of data a month. Maybe I could shop at Whole Foods once in awhile. Hell, maybe I could even rent out my current room for more than $925, potentially making money! In a sense, you’re helping me grow my own entrepreneurial spirit.

So think it over. I am being 100 percent serious about this. If you’ve got keys to a luxury high-rise condo, email me. I’ll be waiting patiently by my computer that undoubtedly cost less than the pants you’re wearing.

Mike Cabellon is a New York-based comedian. It doesn’t pay very well.

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