Lessons Hollywood has Taught us


With all the news circling about COVID-19, it seems a majority of us have been given a little extra time to slow down and be present with our families.  Amidst country wide orders to hunker down and stay home, I thought there would be no time like the present than to share a few movie reviews with you.  

I love watching movies.  More than a good story, I  can also appreciate movies that are relatable and uncover a life lesson. Thus, movies about Real Estate naturally connect with me at a deeper level, especially when there is some wisdom to learn and share. I asked my operations manager, Dama, and my attorney and better half, Raquel, about their favorite real estate movie to share with you. Once you dismantle the lights and the cameras have quit rolling, hopefully you are left with a tangible lesson you can apply to your real estate journey.  

THE MONEY PIT (Damaris R., The Guzman Team Operations Manager) 

The Money Pit is Dama’s favorite real estate movie. The Money Pit is a movie around a young couple who find themselves needing to find a home quickly in New York. They decide to purchase a large estate in the country for a (suspiciously) low price.  They soon realize why as the house slowly begins to fall apart at every turn, and find themselves in a money pit of repairs. Ultimately their relationship begins to suffer. 


Sure, the Money Pit may seem like an exaggerated situation, but there are a few truths in here that deserve to shine in the spotlight. The first is, if the price seems too good to be true, do your due diligence. Ask questions. Its true, you don’t always know what you will get when you purchase a house; having said that there are  contingencies in place that will protect you against buying your own money pit.

The second is to always request your Realtor to include a Home Inspection contingency when you are making an offer. This will give you a real time report of the home condition, and if there are repairs to be made, can give you an estimate of what’s needed.  The third is, real estate can present some unexpected twists and turns. Approach each with a mindset of curiosity. This will keep things in perspective and will help to protect those important relationships in your life.  

I BOUGHT A ZOO (Raquel G., My wife, Attorney and Investor Partner)

I Bought a Zoo is my partner, attorney, and wife, Raquel’s favorite real estate movie.  A Los Angeles journalist and widower, Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) decided to move his kids to an 18 acre property containing a Wildlife Park to make a fresh start.  The Wildlife Park is still home to many animals who are looked after by Kelly Foster (Scarlett Johansson) and her staff. Together, they work to renovate and reopen the zoo.  


Who sets out to buy a zoo? For a regular family, I am confident to say that few, if any at all, set out to buy a zoo!  In this movie, Benjamin Mee courageously steps out to begin a new life with his kids (after his wife passes away). Certain life situations, will have you make some decisions that may not always look agreeable. In fact, in some cases, it may not even be the house you had initially had sought out for in the beginning. 

If you invite in flexibility, you may just find an adventure waiting for you. You may not always find the right house in the right neighborhood, in the right school district, but you may just find a new adventure waiting for you. Invite flexibility in and stay open minded. A fresh start may not look the way you imagined. By choosing to adapt to the market conditions and available inventory you may just end up in a home that was better than you could have imagined. Hopefully without a zoo though.


Quick Summary: The Big Short is a movie about the events and key players that lead up to the economic collapse of 2008. Michael Burry, senses, (or rather predicts)  that the number of subprime home loans are in danger of defaulting. Michael Burry, Jared Vennett, and Mark Baum and other greedy opportunists together throw billions into credit default swaps and make a fortune by taking full advantage of the impending economic collapse in America.


This one hit home for me personally.  I knew several people who were able to purchase a home during this time in history when the average American was getting qualified for mortgages that in reality were not able to afford long term. In fact, I was qualified for a mortgage at the time, which I had no business being qualified for. In the end I turned it down, and Raquel and I have always refrained from over leveraging for such a time like 2008.  The biggest lesson here, is, even though you may qualify for a certain loan amount, doesn’t mean you should go for it. Know your numbers. If you are unsure what that looks like, sit with a qualified, honest, and experienced mortgage specialist (I can refer you if you need one).   

Hollywood doesn’t always get it right, but if you can extract and separate some of the the drama you will find a few powerful nuggets you can carry with you.  


Photo by: Annie Spratt on Unsplash