Each summer, real estate agents give themselves permission to change gear and engage in volunteering, all while reconnecting with community.
This article is part of our ongoing series offering tips on how to sharped your skills this summer and use the season to your advantage. Read more in our Supercharge Your Summer section.
Each summer, agents around the country give themselves permission to change gear and engage in volunteering opportunities close to their heart, all the while reconnecting with community. What’s not to like?
Douglas Elliman agent Devin Leahy has been coaching at the Manhattan Kickers Football Club for four years. The upper West Side-raised agent works with his old soccer coach and has ties to the community and a passion for soccer.
Over the summer, Leahy, who captained his soccer team at college with some national success, will be coaching at the club’s holiday camps held at Chelsea Waterside Park on Manhattan’s Far West Side. At the camps, he’ll be mentoring up to 60 kids, offering training sessions in the middle of the day while exchanging his suit and tie for coaching gear.
“Coaching soccer has given me a great sense of purpose in my life,” Leahy told Inman earlier this month. “It serves as an outlet for me to give back to young soccer players through the game I fell in love with at an early age and served as an amazing release from the turmoil I experienced growing up in NYC as a young athlete.”
For Leahy, who runs the Leahy|Sassoon team with business partner Ariel Sassoon, some of his largest deals last year were inked during the summer, so June and July aren’t necessarily down time. Hopefully, he said, this season will offer the same rush of activity, and he’ll manage around that, he said. This is the beauty of having a team, he said.
Leahy’s year-round youth soccer training schedule doesn’t seem to be doing his business any harm — the Leahy|Sassoon team of four agents netted a sales volume of close to $100 million in the past eight months. Most of their properties fetch around $4 million barring standout deals like a recent $14 million Central Park West apartment.
And yes, the agent has won business through his soccer coaching. For example, a parent network introduced him to a number of clients, with one family recently purchasing a $1 million home through him. He is also in the process of helping a buyer with a $20 million budget thanks to his soccer parent contacts.
“I do always try to keep it separate,” Leahy said. “When coaching, that’s what I’m doing.”
The Leahy|Sassoon team is stepping up its involvement in soccer, recently donating $30,000 in commission to the Manhattan Kickers Football club to create and fund The Kicking-It-Back Program. The program, which launches later this summer, provides 40 children in Harlem, of all backgrounds, the opportunity to play free of charge.
A portion of every transaction procured through the Kicking-It-Back Program will be donated back to the MKFC. The real estate team wants to offer the program to children from 3 to 6, to get them involved at a young age, said Leahy.
Back to her roots
Another agent returning to her roots is Coldwell Banker Hunter Realty’s Julie Boyle, an agent specializing in luxury property in Akron, Ohio. She and a group of volunteers with the Ohio Regional Music Arts and Cultural Outreach program go out to rural communities each summer to bring art and music experiences to low-income families, often setting up in schools and public parks. They run art classes and hold Music Under the Stars concerts.
“Through doing something I love and am passionate about, I am giving back,” said Boyle, a lawyer and former special education teacher. “I meet like-minded people, other volunteers I connect with on a personal and professional level.”
Boyle, who herself grew up in a rural area, involves her own kids in these summer programs. “I want my kids to experience these things too,” she said.
The Coldwell Banker agent says her summer months are not a slow time — it’s one of her busiest periods of the year, in fact — and she often works with clients who want to be in homes in time for the beginning of school later in August.
But she finds her arts and cultural activities well worth the effort, and she frequently makes excellent connections. When she meets someone through the Ohio Regional Music Arts and Cultural Outreach program, it happens naturally, by building a rapport and bonding over something they both have a passion for.
“I’m energized by those experiences,” Boyle told Inman. “It’s the experience itself and the people you’ve met. You’re bringing it all back to your job as an agent. You’re bringing it in to how you interact with individuals in your business.”