Miami
Exclusive interview
The real estate guru who predicted the 2008 crisis says that Miami is the promised land, like New York in the ‘60s.
Financial advisor and real estate guru, Argentine Daniel Rutois arrived in the US in 1990. In dialogue with LPO, he explasins how he earned his reputation, talks about the two sides of Trump and is excited about Milei.

Daniel Rutois came to the United States from Buenos Aires in 1990. He was 25 years old, spoke little English and identified himself with the Democratic Party. Almost 34 years later, he established himself as a financial advisor and real estate guru. He became a Republican and a Donald Trump voter. After anticipating the real estate crash of 2008, it gained prestige in the real estate market and has accumulated a network of customers throughout Latin America. From Rutois International Realty, located in a residential area of the city of Hollywood, between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, this Argentinian reviews his career and reveals the secret of his success. Which one? The ability to anticipate. He affirms that, like New York in the ‘60s, Miami is now the promised land, and he is excited about the return of a Republican to the White House. He also gives a huge vote of confidence to Javier Milei in Argentina, where he receives new clients almost daily.

Why did you leave Argentina in 1990, due to hyperinflation?

I left on October 21, 1990. At that time, many people said "if Carlos Menem wins, I'll leave." Menem won and I left.

It was more due to politics than to economy?

I left because of politics, financially I was doing well. I owed night clubs and went out almost every night. On Tuesdays I didn't go out to watch Bernardo Neustadt (a political journalist) on TV. I was obsessed, even at that time, with politics. Not knowing that I was going to become even more obsessed, like I am now. Although the majority voted for Carlos Menem, it was literally what decided me. I sell everything. I was 25 years old and I didn't know how long I was going to stay. I was in New York for a year and from there I came to Miami.

The real estate guru who predicted the 2008 crisis says that Miami is the promised land, like New York in the ‘60s.

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In these 33 years, New York changed very little and Miami, a lot. How did you experience that transformation?

Yes, New York is the same. Maybe there are areas of Brooklyn that have changed for the better and others for the worse. But Miami was a little town when I arrived. It changed a lot in the last 15 years. The Miami Design District area, Wynwood and all that part, is the future. It changed a lot. And politically too. The left is being an important influence that will affect our children. That wasn't like that before.

When you arrived in Miami, were you a Democrat?

It's that you are identifying what you are. I voted for Clinton. But I was new here, I didn't know much about the difference between a Democrat and a Republican. I was 25 years old and what I knew about politics was what I had learned in Argentina. I identified myself with Clinton, who was somehow not a bad president. The Democratic Party of that time is not the contemporary Democratic Party. Then I became independent.

Miami was a little town when I arrived. It changed a lot in the last 15 years. I used to go crazy driving, because they were all old people. The Miami Design District area, Wynwood and all that part, is the future.

Were you registered as a Democratic voter?

I was a Democrat until recently, believe it or not. And every time I looked at the record, I couldn't see it. So I changed it, but I was a Democrat until Trump's first election. There I changed to Republican.

Did you vote for Barack Obama?

No! It's like asking: Did you vote for Perón? Obama ruined this country. Everything he did with Cuba is terrifying, just like what Biden is doing with Iran and the southern border.

The real estate guru who predicted the 2008 crisis says that Miami is the promised land, like New York in the ‘60s.

Did Trump surprised you?

Financially speaking, Trump is one of my mentors. Anthony Robbins is number one, and Trump, in the real estate part. I identify a lot with him. As a person, I don't invite him to coffee. But at that time, a president like him was needed. These are very difficult times. Now, I'd rather vote for any Republican but him. Any Republican would do a better job than Biden, in fact, anyone would do a better job. But if Trump is going to be the only option, we will have to vote for him.

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Do you criticize Trump?

I don't forgive him for the attack on the Capitol. I am right-wing, but I am not a dictator. I don't forgive him, but I vote for him because I can't understand that people can elect a guy who doesn't even know his name. Obama is ruling now. Biden doesn't make decisions. Neither Democrats nor Republicans want the time to come when we have to choose between the two of them.

Did Governor Ron DeSantis excite you as an alternative candidate to Trump?

Yes, I always thought he was the one. But he is an extremist. The fight with Disney... I think it's ridiculous. But obviously, it would still be better than either of these two that we see. Trump is 20 points ahead of Biden. I don't see Biden still wanting it. He's not going to be well mentally. I would love Robert Kennedy for it.

I identify a lot with Trump. As a person, I wouldn't invite him a coffee. But at that time, a president like him was needed. These are very difficult times, in which people like him are needed.

As a businessman, what was Trump's audacity that made him your model?

He is my financial role model. He is very fast and very tough in negotiations. He knows how to sell himself. For example, I don't sell properties because anyone can do it. My business is to sell myself, my reputation, either bad or good I've been around for 30 years and you're not going to find a guy who says I cheated on him. Look at Trump, his towers named after him and how much they are worth now. The guy was on the New Jersey side, he looked at the bridge on the other side and said "I have to be there." The rest is history. Commercially he is a monster. He doesn't risk anyone but him. No ones sells himself as him. And he was a very good president. We all have flaws, but his was one of the best presidencies we had. I slept peacefully, which for me is the most important thing. Now, it's quite the opposite.

The real estate guru who predicted the 2008 crisis says that Miami is the promised land, like New York in the ‘60s.

What was the key for you to come to Miami?

I arrived with nothing. Consolidation was tough. I didn't speak much English, so I started selling everything. Sales in this country are great. There is no competition, the Latino lacks a lot of training. Then I started in real estate, I moved to mortgages, which is more creative. I spent about 15 years in the mortgage business as the owner of Power One Mortgage, it had more than 40 associates and it was a more creative business than Real Estate. After the great crisis I returned to Real Estate full time, and I dedicate myself exclusively to represent investors from Latin America.

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The subprime crisis in 2008?

Exactly. We all lost a lot of money and property, even though we saw the crisis coming. Then I returned to Real Estate. I've been on this for 30 years.

What is the strength of your business nowadays?

I am 100% exclusive to investors, who are 90% foreigners and 10% local Latinos, Argentines or Colombians who live here. That's my specialization, I do a lot of pre-construction. Developers know the sales power that my company has, before a project comes out they present it to me and I decide if it will be a good option for my customers. Then I go on tour, as they say. For example, I go to Argentina, I held events in different places such as the Faena Hotel, the Broadway Hotel on Corrientes Avenue, among other places, as well as private events. I also usually visit Colombia and Mexico. They are the three strong countries, but I have done it everywhere.

Before the subprime crisis I said: ‘This is going to blow up.' We gave away the money. With each loan you earned 4%. On a loan of 400 thousand dollars, do the math! And we did two a day. They sold to guys who didn't even qualify to rent.

You anticipated the subprime crisis. Why did you see it coming?

I saw it coming. I told the salesperson: "We make loans at 1%, that were actually 5%, but the payment was based on 1%." And I was like, "This is going to explode." We gave away so much money. With each loan you earned 4%. On a loan of 400 thousand dollars, do the math! They sold to guys who came and didn't even qualify to rent! It was easier. They did not qualify to rent, but they did qualify to buy. It was crazy!

The real estate guru who predicted the 2008 crisis says that Miami is the promised land, like New York in the ‘60s.

How did that easy money that led to the crash of 2008 become naturalized?

The government was obviously guilty, the Chinese bought toxic loans, the banks knew it, when they realized it, the ball was already so big that no one could back down, until it exploded.

Currently, what is the real estate status in Florida? Some propose that there is a bubble, after the brutal rise in post-pandemic properties.

The word bubble does not exist. Because there is a bubble when they lend you 100% or 90% and the property drops in value by more than 20%. Today none of that exists. I say it with pride: I anticipated every crisis. The ‘law of anticipation' is the key, in life and in business. That's how I grew up so much in Argentina. When everyone was going to sell, I recommended waiting. Until the customers realized that I was right, because I am not interested in the commission. Actually, I sell where I buy. And when I buy, or it's time to sell, I let my clients know.

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What do you recommend to your customers now?

Without doing anything, the bank pays you 5% annually, which is greater than the return that a rental gets today, and real estate prices will not rise for now. Isn't it easier to sunbathe and put your money in the bank at 5%? That's what I'm doing today with my money and my clients.

Are these good times to sell?

We have been selling for more than fifteen months. No it's not the best time, but we must sell. Today, Argentine people call me and I tell them "used, nothing." Do you want to invest now? In pre-construction or previous to that? Because in times of inflation there is nothing better than buying from zero and freezing prices. We Argentines, or Latin Americans, really like that way because you buy something for 500 thousand, you are going to invest 250 and you are going to pay it in installments.

Where do you recommend buying land here in Miami?

I have specific and very well studied areas where we are investing, anticipating what is to come. You have to read the history of the United States: every time the rate goes up, property goes down. It's not that I'm a magician, I just follow the indexes and adapt.

Without doing anything, the bank pays you 5% annually, which is greater than the return on rent, and real estate prices will not rise for now. Isn't it easier to sunbathe and put your money in the bank at 5%?

In Miami, does the move of people like Jeff Bezos or Lionel Messi impact real estate?

I don't think it impacts prices. What did impact was that during the pandemic the governor of Florida was the only one who kept the state open, and that helped the appreciation of properties because demand increased greatly. Look at California, totally destroyed. In Florida, I call Miami the promised land, like New York in the '60s.

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How much real estate development does Miami have ahead?

We are still growing, notice that we are among the 10 most important cities in the world and we are still the cheapest. That tells you something.

The real estate guru who predicted the 2008 crisis says that Miami is the promised land, like New York in the ‘60s.

What is this growth due to?

The Governor made the State more popular. Apart from the fact that everyone wants to come because of the climate, the security, the low taxes and the proximity to most Latin countries. I lived in New York: it's 10 times colder and has 10 times more traffic. Miami is THE place.

What do you think of Milei's first steps as president in Argentina?

I am excited like never before, not even with Macri.

Why does Milei inspire you more than Macri?

I am excited about Milei because he tells people what he encountered, he is also the Messi of economy and if they let him govern, you will see a country that will compete with Europe and will be the regional leader. For the first time, the poor will have the opportunity to live as they deserve. Milei is having the courage that, honestly, Macri did not have. Macri was clearly a populist, even though I voted for him. He was a populist with good intentions, but a populist, while Milei is clear.

I am excited about Milei because he tells people what he encountered, he is also the Messi of economy and if they let him govern, you will see a country that will compete with Europe and will be the regional leader.

Is there social capacity to endure such a severe adjustment?

I think that people will give Milei time, because finally the majority realized who their real enemy was. The difficult thing will be for people to understand that in a country with 20% or 30% annual inflation, it takes at least 12 to 16 months to stabilize it. We have more than 200%, so at least we have to give the economy that same time to resurface.

Are you optimistic then?

I have no doubt and I bet on how much or how little reputation I have achieved in telling you that Milei will get Argentina out of the extreme poverty that Peronism brought us, but people will have to help, because we have many internal and external enemies who are betting and need things to go badly in order to return to power and continue stealing and mistreating those who have the least, mainly motivating them not to study and continue destroying education, which was key in the success of the left and populism. But I congratulate young people in Argentina. They are above young people around the world, who are going to the left, even in the US. So I trust Milei a lot.

Translator: Bibiana Ruiz.

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