Surprise! 4 Famous People Who Made Their Fortune in Real Estate

celebrity-real-estate-investorsDiscover 4 people who are well known for things other than real estate but because of investments in real estate, they became famous and/or reached their full potential in the pursuits they are best recognized for. You'll learn that without real estate, Arnold Schwarzenegger may never have become the most famous bodybuilder, blockbuster movie star or politician. Without real estate, Cyrus McCormick may not have been able to distribute the enormous number of wheat reapers to small farmers around the world which reduced world hunger by leaps and bounds. Without real estate, McDonalds would have folded and wouldn't be around today. And even the hip hop star Vanilla Ice would have been just another has-been, broke, one hit wonder had it not been for real estate.

These celebrity real estate investors provide a wonderful lesson on the power of what can be accomplished in one lifetime if you diligently put your financial house in order with real estate investing. This training is for anyone who has a dream to do something extraordinary with their life. Maybe it's a ministry, a non profit, a world changing idea or a life committed to giving back to those in need. Learn how others have used real estate to reach their full potential in life.


Four Famous People Who Make Their Fortune in Real Estate

When you hear the names of these celebrity real estate investors it might surprise you, because it is not what they are known for, but it was real estate that provided the financial foundation for these celebrities to accomplish what they did, or what they're still accomplishing.

For millions real estate is a means to an end. That end could be a ministry, a non-profit, a movement, an organization, an invention, or an idea. There is one key ingredient that many would agree is missing from being able to achieve their dreams, and that is money.  People don't have the funds to do what they need to do in order to put their dreams into action.

A lot of people have made a lot of money and then invested it in real estate. To some degree, a few of the people I'm going to mention did that as well. The difference here is real estate was the foundation for allowing them to do what they've been able to do. These four people found that real estate was their foundation for success and I hope that will encourage you here as you listen to their stories.


Arnold Schwarzenegger


The first person on this list is the godfather of modern-day body-building. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a Hollywood superstar, The Terminator, and the former governor of California. But did you know that his fortune was made in real estate? When he first moved to the US, he scraped by every penny he could from body building shows and side gigs to buy income producing multifamily real estate.

It was because of real estate that he had the income to do the things that he needed to do to get his name out there. He used his real estate profits to pay for travel expenses, training, and an expensive diet, in order to become a body building success. He was a millionaire from real estate investing before he even got to Hollywood, and long before he got involved in politics. Real estate investing was his foundation.  You can hear the entire interview in his own words.



Cyrus McCormick


Our second famous person has had a tremendous impact on human history. You might not think he's famous; but his invention, the wheat reaper, is responsible for feeding millions of people. It put a huge dent in world hunger because it allowed farmers to harvest more wheat at a much higher efficiency. That impact that that wheat reaper made was absolutely enormous. It crossed all kinds of barriers, not just feeding people, but politics and all kinds of different aspects of life.

This individual's name was Cyrus McCormick. and he is very well known for this extraordinary invention; and not only inventing it, but also creating a way to manufacture it in mass quantities for farmers all around the world. But Cyrus McCormick's fortune was  actually not made from the wheat reaper. He wanted the wheat reaper to get to small farmers all around, not just the United States, but most farmers couldn't afford it. Because of this, he would often choose to finance his own equipment. This means that when the farmers couldn't pay, Cyrus lost a lot of money.

How He Did It

McCormick made his money by buying a bunch of land in a small Midwestern town called Chicago. He then built plants, housing, and other building  for his employees.   Then, of course, Chicago built up around him, and that's where he made all of his money. McCormick later sold this land in order to finance the manufacturing of the wheat reapers.

Millions of people did not starve to death ultimately  because he owned real estate, and was able to sell it and put the profits towards the wheat reapers.



Ray Kroc


Our third famous person, might be better recognized by the company he launched, McDonald's. His name is Ray Kroc and got a licensing agreement from the McDonald brothers. They had one little restaurant in San Bernardino, California, and Ray Kroc  franchised that restaurant around the globe. What is so fascinating about the McDonald's story is how the business ended up making money. Ray Kroc cut a deal with the McDonald brothers where he received a small percentage of the gross sales. He also charged an upfront fee to anyone purchasing the franchises.  Once he cut the deal, he went and tried to put together some franchisee relationships.

How He Did It

The McDonald franchisees had become very successful but Ray Kroc wasn't making any money. In fact, Ray Kroc did not make single penny off of McDonald's for the first seven years of the business. He had another business going that whole time which kept things afloat. Then he hired a finance guy to help figure out why the franchisees were making a killing, but he wasn't.  It had to do with the deal he cut with the McDonald brothers.

A finance manager suggested buying the real estate underneath the restaurants and setting up lease agreement where as the gross income goes up, the rental income goes up too.

Valuable Real Estate

McCormick used to own all the real estate underneath the McDonald's franchises. He had to get loans to buy real estate all over the United States, and eventually the entire world.  Today, McDonald's is the most valuable real estate portfolio in existance.  It's because of real estate that McDonald's didn't go completely out of business. Ray Kroc was able to keep things afloat until he created the kind of consistency that McDonald's is today. Now, you may not like McDonald's,  but the fact remains, it was real estate that made McDonald's what McDonald's is.


Vanilla Ice


Our fourth person is someone you probably know because of his hit song , "Ice Ice Baby" which sold over a hundred and fifty million records. I'm talking about the musician, Vanilla Ice.

Rob Van Winkle was 16 when he wrote Ice Ice Baby. When he was 17 a club owner saw him dancing and recognized that he had some talent. The next thing you know, the song Ice Ice Baby hit the radios and became an international hit. Rob began touring for several years and was making tons of money. He then decided to start investing his money for the future. He did not want to put money in stocks or bonds because he wanted to physically touch his investments. So he chose to invest in real estate.

How He Did It

Four years later, Rob had four mansion spanning all across the US. He then sold all of these properties but one and made an enormous profit. He purchased a commercial property in Miami for $600,00 that is currently worth $20 million and cash flows like crazy. What was his secret? He bought real estate.


Celebrity Real Estate Investors


Now, I know that you're probably not an international super star making millions of dollars that you can pour into real estate, but the important lesson is that there were other people, that didn't do what Rob did.  M C Hammer had one hit, and then years later, was on a television commercial during the Super Bowl showing that he went bankrupt and into foreclosure. Vanilla Ice utilized his one hit wonder, to fund his real estate investments. He went on to flipping houses. In fact, he has a television show on the DIY network called, "The Vanilla Ice Project", where he renovates and resells mansions.


Further Information


I've got some great videos and blogs on this subject, such as The Perfect Formula For Building Wealth in Real Estate. Instead of trying to raise money from everybody else, be your own fundraiser. Be the person that creates the wealth and fund your real dreams.


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  1. I wished that someone would’ve came into my life and started me in real estate I would’ve ended up working from paycheck to paycheck and feeling miserable around people who kept telling me that money is the root of all evil and that they rather not have any. They were so delusional you need money to survive I’m sorry to tell them that. Then there are the ones who are happy just having a job(just over broke)making someone else rich that person is their employer whose probably invested in real estate while you’re struggling to pay the bills with nothing left over it’s a vicious cycle. Thanks for the info ali

  2. Mike Tredinnick says

    Legendary Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Roger Staubach sold his Real estate company to Jones Lang LaSalle for $613 million in 2008. He also helped teammate Emitt Smith get started in real estate.

  3. Thank you so much for your inspiring article.

  4. Tracey Fergerson says

    Always an inspiration and who knew how these four people featured became so successful. There are probably many more. Thank you for sharing this information and keeping us encouraged.

  5. As always Mr. Phil you’re so smart & you give all the right information & tips about real estate, thanks for videos.

  6. Craig Plunkett says

    Arnold is interesting but no surprise. Priod.

  7. Amos Makolo says

    I love the success stories you’ve shared. It sure gives me the motivation to get started on my real estate journey!

  8. Amos Makolo says

    Thank you for the inspiration, it gives me the motivation to get started on my real estate journey!

  9. Sherry hancock says

    Interesting. A motivating piece.

  10. Great info! Through the months i have been listening to your free training, i am learning so much and it has awaken dreams, and because of that I am putting actions towards becoming a real eatate investor. Thanks for the inspiring videos that you have been putting together. You are making a difference in other people’s lives.

  11. Jose W. Ponce says

    thank you for your post you always leave good information that one may learn something from. How can I be successful
    also in Real Estate Investing. Besides all the information you give us free on internet.


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