Last week, The National ENQUIRER launched a multipart series written exclusively for our readers by Donald Trump. In this installment, the White House hopeful reveals life lessons he learned working for his father that have led to his remarkable success.
AFTER graduating from the New York Military Academy in 1964, I decided to enter the real estate business, and enrolled in Fordham University in the Bronx. But after two years, I decided to test myself against the best. I applied to the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania – and got in.
In college, while reading listings of federally financed housing projects in foreclosure, I discovered Swifton Village, a 1,200-unit apartment development in Cincinnati, Ohio. I bought it with my father, Fred Trump – and it was my first big deal!
Swifton Village was very troubled. There were 800 vacant apartments, and the developers had gone under. But it gave us a terrific opportunity. We paid less than $6 million for a development which had cost twice that much to build just two years earlier.
After we negotiated the deal, I learned from my father that success was a matter of management and marketing. The challenge was to get the place rented to good tenants who would stay there.
The first thing we did was invest in beautiful white shutters. That may not sound like much, but the shutters gave a bunch of cold red brick buildings a feeling of warmth. We painted the hallways, sanded and stained the floors, kept the vacant apartments immaculately clean, and landscaped the grounds.
We also ran beautiful newspaper ads. People came to check us out, and within a year, the buildings were 100 percent rented! I put the apartments up for sale, and the Prudent Real Estate Investment Trust bought them for $12 million – or approximately a $6 million profit for us. It was a huge return on a short-term investment.
After finishing college in 1968, I moved back home and went to work full-time for my father’s building business in Queens and Brooklyn.
But I soon realized that the profit margins were so low you had no choice but to pinch pennies, and there was no room for luxuries. I entertained loftier dreams. And there was no way to implement them building houses in the outer boroughs.
Manhattan is where I wanted to be.