Upon receiving the “Rookie of the Year” award at the Real Estate Board of New York’s (REBNY) 29th annual Charity Gala, Halstead Property agent Matt Martin received some wise words.
After the announcement, Corcoran Group president Pam Liebman came up to him and, to paraphrase, said that Martin (pictured on the left above next to colleagues) would be getting a ton of calls the next day, but her firm wouldn’t be one of them because she could see he was happy. She advised him stay where he is.
Martin is in steadfast agreement with Liebman; he has been recruited but doesn’t plan to jump ship, he told Inman.
The agent interviewed at a few brokerages before launching his real estate career in January this year. His first and best interview was with Halstead president Richard Grossman. Sitting in the reception hall at Halstead, Martin was also struck by the number of agents coming in the door who looked up from their phones, smiled and greeted him.
So…this happened last night. I’m so honored to have been awarded @rebny ‘s Most Promising Rookie Salesperson of the Year award last night, which honors an agent with less than 2 years in the business who exhibits sound moral character, high ethical professional behavior, excellent leadership, meaningful roles in deals and significant contributions to the firm’s success. I came into this business to do something I love while making a difference in people’s lives. I committed to staying true to myself and my values in a tough industry, and I am beyond humbled with the recognition and honor. #bowtieagent #rookieoftheyear #rebny @halstead #resdoy17
Ten months down the track, Martin, who has been working with top producer, Laurie Silverman, to help learn the business, attributes his running start partly to his direct access to the president of the company and the collegial atmosphere of the office. Martin has closed almost 20 deals including 12 rentals with a total volume of $13.2 million, seven of which were driven by Silverman.
According to the new agent, it’s no accident that he’s the fifth agent working for Grossman to receive the REBNY rookie award in the past nine years.
Grossman is who you go to if you get stuck and “always has some creative idea to push things forward. He’s very good at directing you to think outside the box,” Martin said. Sara Rotter, Halstead’s executive director of sales, is also instrumental in new agent success.
Martin, 35, comes from a corporate and finance background. He was formerly a finance director at Disney, overseeing its Broadway portfolio. Before that he worked for HBO and Deloitte. Twelve years in finance have given him the confidence to think laterally when navigating the tricky New York real estate market.
In a difficult deal early on, he was able to offer real value when the appraisal on a Brooklyn property was likely to come in much lower than the asking price, which the seller was refusing to drop. Martin gave five different scenarios of how his buyer would respond to various appraisals, adding another 4 to 5 percent premium to each appraisal price. Martin wanted to promote that he had a serious buyer but that he wasn’t going to pay a ridiculous price.
“I don’t think I would have been able to come up with this if not for my history in finance,” he said, noting that he has relied on that strategy a couple more times since.
Martin’s past work has also prepared him to tackle the typical agent’s everyday tasks with ease — he’s been creating documents, writing emails, setting up processes, and creating video for years.
“For me to come in and create monthly newsletter templates to new buyers and renters, that all just came naturally,” he said.
Martin also has a background in fundraising for HIV/AIDS charities on the East and West Coasts. He has done five Boston to New York bike rides for an AIDS charity, raising $75,0000 over the years.
“I take a lot of those fundraising skills and apply them to the real estate business, of putting yourself out there and reminding people of what you are doing,” he said.