New York City-based real estate agent Domingo Perez shares his journey from creative director to luxury real estate agent.

Domingo Perez unknowingly fell in love with real estate as a precocious six-year-old living in the Canary Islands. One day, Perez came across a construction site filled with excavators moving dirt back and forth on an empty lot.

“When I was six years old, and you know how kids, especially boys, love Tonka toys and trucks and ground movers, and things like that?” he said with an air of nostalgia. “So, I’m six years old and I’m in the Canary Islands and I’m watching this huge truck move this enormous amount of dirt.”

“It turned out that lot ended up being my home for the next 11 years,” he added. “My parents bought a lot, they built a three-story family home there, and they turned the first floor into commercial, the second floor into a rental, and we lived on the third floor.”

Although he was enamored by the scene that day and saw first-hand how his parents built a small real estate empire, Perez’s creativity led him to a career in marketing where he’d become the creative director for one of the world’s foremost public relations firms Publicis Groupe.

However, real estate was never far behind.

“I’m on 19th Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenue [in Chelsea], and there a spanking new building and a banner hanging over one of its balconies that says, ‘100 percent financing call now,'” Perez recalled.  “I had no idea what 100-percent financing was, so I called the next morning, and they said if you can show us your W-2 and that you’ve been employed for two years, we’ll give you this apartment for no money down.”

“That’s how I bought my first apartment at the age of 25,” he added.

Over the following years, Perez continued moving up the ranks of the advertising world, got married, had children, and cultivated a love of travel, expensive cigars, and good food. Although he was happy with his position at Publicis Groupe, Perez couldn’t shake his attraction to real estate.

“I had an amazing run, and it was my first love,” he said of being a creative director. “In between, I kept buying and selling apartments knowing well if the market ever began to turn for advertising and I wanted to get out, I knew exactly what I would do.”

Perez earned his real estate license in 2013 but didn’t use it until 2018 when he joined Warburg Realty.

“It came time for me to choose,” he said of his decision to join Warburg. “I asked myself, ‘Can I find something where I can use all this marketing skill to make a living?’ Real estate went hand in hand [with marketing].”

Perez immediately put his advertising skills to work by creating an enviable Instagram profile that perfectly melds his passions of real estate, art, culture, and travel. Between photos of listings, you’ll find shots of centuries-old architecture, his family riding camels across the Sahara, selfies with clients, eye-catching art, and his prized cigars.

Where it may feel forced for others, Perez said his social media presence is organic and reflects a life and career bursting with creativity.

“I believe that having been a creative director all my life gives me a leg up on how I communicate and how I come across visually in my social posts,” he said. “I think long and hard about what I post. It’s very artful.”

That approach extends to how Perez markets and stages his listings, which have a minimalist, yet eclectic look.

“For me, simpler is better, and I love the minimalist approach,” he said. “If done well, it allows the buyer to see him or herself in the unit rather than cluttering it with all the wonderful things the seller might love. I encourage them to neutralize it and become a palette for the new buyer to imagine something.”

For agents who are battling a creative block, Perez encourages them to hire a creative team or simply slow down enough to find inspiration.

“This may sound cruel, but I don’t believe you can tap into a creative side if you don’t have a creative side,” he said of agents who may be more ‘right-brained.’ “Instead join an agency with a great marketing team like Warburg or hire freelancers for you. There are so many wonderfully talented people who can take that off your plate.”

For truly creative agents who are facing a creative block, Perez urges them to find inspiration from the people and things they’re truly passionate about.

“If they are creative and they’re having a hard time creating their marketing, then it comes down to finding inspiration, and there’s inspiration all around you,” he said. “Travel, my kids, dinners, wine, music, I mean those are my passions.”

Email Marian McPherson

We’re highlighting agents with extraordinary stories through our feature, Agent Plus. Do you know someone who should be highlighted for their work inside and outside of the office? Send your nominations to AgentPlus@inman.com.

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