Real estate investment and management was a brand-new business for us that neither Florence or I knew much about. I realized that it would be less risky for us to go into it with a partner rather than as a solo operation. Abraham Scharf was a guy I knew in the neighborhood who ran a mom-and-pop grocery, and like me had been putting money aside to buy real estate. He said to me, “Michael, between the two of us, we know a lot of landlords. Why don’t we look for a piece of property to buy together?”
I started asking around among the landlords that I knew for buildings in the area that were available. Abe and I looked at a few buildings and eventually decided to go in together on what was called a “taxpayer”—a one story commercial building with a row of stores. Taxpayer buildings were simply built structures with brick bearing walls and wood or steel beams, usually with a common attic and basement. You wouldn’t get rich owning a taxpayer, but you could definitely get a revenue-generating property at a low entry price.