Bill Cooper loved catfish for lunch.
We were sitting eating at a restaurant in Denton, Frilly’s, one of his favorites. Bill was an Engineer (Civil and Electric) and a PE which allowed him to be a registered surveyor too. But the way he made his money, and a lot of it, was real estate.
He was now in his early eighties but his mind was still razor sharp. Just for fun, after a days work, he loved to solve trig problems. And he was a born teacher. Unfortunately I was not a born student but I did learn a a thing or two from him.
After we had ordered and had been served (I always knew exactly what he would order because he always ordered the same thing), I asked him, “if you were to boil down everything you know about buying real estate into one pithy nugget, what would it be?”
He looked at me. Took another bite. Looked out the window. Took a sip of his ice tea. Then chewed a bit. Looked at me again briefly. Thought about it. I knew him well enough to know he was thinking.
The silence, while he thought, was getting slightly uncomfortable, even for me.
After several minutes of cogitating he said simply, “Bah rait. “
That was Texan for “buy right.”
Buy right? I asked.
“Bah rait. Yep. Bah rait”.
OK. Buy right. Meaning, don’t pay too much for something.
“If you bah rait, hardly anything can go wrong. If you do not bah rait nothing you do can make it rait.” Which is about as much elaboration he ever gave me on anything.
Best advice I ever got.