Quotes by Will Rogers

Will Rogers on Real Estate

“…out here I had been putting what little money I had in Ocean Frontage, for the sole reason that there was only so much of it and no more, and that they wasent making any more…” April 13, 1930 (Note: this is the line that is often paraphrased to say: put your money in land, because they aren’t making any more of it. This is the most “famous” of the Will Rogers quotes on land or real estate.)

“I argue with wife over what little pieces of real estate investments we should try to pay on and hold, and which to let go back. We always said, “Put it in land, and you can always walk on it.” We did, but no buyers would walk on it with us.” 1932

“I arrived at my hut in Beverly Hills just in time to keep real estate men from plotting off and selling my front yard. They will sell you anything or anybody’s in the world as long as they can get a first payment… It used to be only Iowa that was out here but now they have three or four adjoining states interested and they are here, too. Real estate agents — you never saw as many in your life; they are as thick as bootleggers.” 1923

“You buy lots in Los Angeles with the same frequency you would newspapers in other towns. After buying it, you put it back in the hands of the agents again, for don’t think you are going to get away with that lot. It has to be sold three or four times that day.
Why, every lot out here has its own agent. Agents get rich out here just off the various commissions on one lot. If an agent handles two lots he opens up a branch office and has an assistant.” 1923

“It’s the greatest game I ever saw. You can’t lose. Everybody buys to sell and nobody buys to keep. What’s worrying me is who is going to be the last owner. It’s just like an auction; the only one stuck is the last one.” 1923

“And if you call one a real estate agent and he won’t sell you anything. He is a REALATOR. It’s the same as what the old fashioned real estate agent used to be only the commission is different.”

“A Realtor is an old fashioned Real Estate man with a neck tie.
A Real Estate man sold you what you wanted, a Realtor sells you what you don’t need.
A Real Estate man showed you what you could raise on the land, a Realtor tells you what you can build on it.”

“Got a nice letter the other day from Barney Baruch. I had about a year and a half ago, just before the crash (October, 1929), sorter half way decided to get a little dab of some kind of stock. Everybody all around me was just rolling so in profits, that it made the pay I get for my joke telling seem mighty little. I had never, or havent yet, got a dollar that I dident tell a joke for, either on stage or paper, so I knowing Barney mighty well, and having a mighty high regard for him personally, so in my little talk with him I asked him to invest in his own way a little dab that I thought I could spare.
Well I had to naturally tell him something of my affairs, so I told him what I owed, mostly on unimproved Real Estate. Well he liked to have thrown me out of his Wall Street Office. “You owe that much, and you want to take some of your money and buy stocks? You go home and pay your debts. Lord knows how long it will take you to do ’em. But pay what you can of ’em. You won’t like this advice, no man does. He don’t want to pay his debts as long as he thinks he can make an easy dollar in something else. I wouldent invest a dollar for you anyhow, things are too high, they don’t look good. Now go start paying on your debts.”
That’s the nearest I ever came to owning stock. (I mean outside of a few horses, and cattle.) Less than a month from the day I was in his office the Bust came. So every few months he writes me and asks me how I am making out on the debts, and how much I got ’em whittled down.” Jan. 11, 1931

“Land taxes is the thing. (This land is taxed at $60 an acre, same as it was taxed when wheat was $2.50 a Bushel. Now wheat is two bits and it’s still taxed at $60.) They got so high that there is no chance to make anything. Not only land but all property tax. You see in the old days, why the only thing they knew how to tax was land, or a house. Well, that condition went along for quite awhile, so even today the whole country tries to run its revenue on taxes on land. They never ask if the land makes anything. “It’s land ain’t it? Well tax it then.” 1932

“Millions and millions of people don’t pay an income tax, because they don’t earn enough to pay on one, but you pay a land tax whether it ever did or ever will earn you a penny.”

“The good people of Dakota offered to give Calvin Coolidge a farm if he would live on it. I wouldn’t advise you to give those people too much credit for generosity. There is not a farmer in any State in the West that wouldn’t be glad to give him a farm if he will paint it, fix up the fences and keep up the series of mortgages that are on it. And if you think Coolidge ain’t smart, you just watch him not take it.” Sept. 7, 1927

“Every land or property owner in America would be tickled to death to pay 45 per cent of his profits, if he didn’t have to pay anything if he didn’t make it.” 1932

“(The government) sent the Indians to Oklahoma. They had a treaty that said, ‘You shall have this land as long as grass grows and water flows.’ It was not only a good rhyme but looked like a good treaty, and it was till they struck oil. Then the Government took it away from us again. They said the treaty only refers to ‘Water and Grass; it don’t say anything about oil.'” 1928

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