This week, I sat down with Phil to get some more information about his childhood traveling, and why he loves finding residential units in SoHo. Phil claims to be an expert at blog interviews (though I’m pretty sure this was his first time), read below to see why:
Where are you from?
That’s a complicated answer for me. I was born in Saudi Arabia. I moved around a lot.
Wow! Where else have you lived?
Indonesia, Nigeria, Venezuela, and throughout the U.S. including, New York, New Orleans, Boston, Washington DC, and Houston.
Which was your favorite/least favorite?
New York will always be my favorite. I’d probably pass on a return trip to Venezuela or Nigeria.
Why is that?
What is your family life like?
Lots and lots of FaceTiming. My parents are in Texas now and I have a sister outside of Nashville. I also have family in North Carolina, Florida, and my Grammy is outside of Pittsburgh.
Growing up, what did you think your career path was?
According to my parents, my original aspiration was to be the guy who drove around New Orleans late at night and sprayed for mosquitoes. Being a fireman or an astronaut simply wasn’t glorious enough (laughs). My career path changed several times, I began college as a mechanical engineer, but switched out to chase my entrepreneurial aspirations.
What changed your mind?
I wanted to do something to meaningfully impact people. There are many jobs that allow you to add value to others, but few that allow you to have a meaningful impact, watch it happen, and communicate directly with those individuals.
What made you choose real estate over other opportunities?
When I graduated from George Washington University, I took on several freelance marketing projects. I worked with Nike, Viacom, Nickelodeon, Karmaloop, and a few others. I loved working for myself. I enjoyed the accountability and flexibility. It was very motivating for me to be my own boss.
Why did you choose Triplemint?
I was at a large, successful real estate firm before this. My experience there was great, but I aspired to do things better. In this industry, it’s tough to find forward-thinking individuals. I saw an ad for Suitey (pre-Triplemint) on Facebook, and they claimed to be a smarter, technology-powered brokerage. This caught my eye. I reached out to see what they were about and was introduced to Phil Lang, our co-founder. We grabbed coffee a few days later and we hit it off instantly. Our discussion circled around our beliefs of where the industry would be in the next 20 years, the current inefficiencies, and how we both wanted to help push things into the 21st century.
I wanted to be part of a company that’s setting the bar higher, and surround myself with like-minded individuals. I joined Suitey (Triplemint) shortly after and the rest is history.
What makes the NYC residential market so unique?
A few things. The most obvious is the sheer variety of property types you can’t find elsewhere. Detached houses, brownstones, townhouses, co-ops, condos, condops, and lofts. We have options for every taste. Also, we’re one of only a few cities where the majority of the population is renters; 65% of the population rents, and the remaining 35% are owners. It’s generally the complete opposite.
How long have you been working as an agent, and how long have you been with Triplemint?
I’ve been working as an agent for four years, and with Triplemint for two and a half years.
What aspect of your business are you most proud of?
I think it’s the daily growth that’s required to be successful in this industry. The fact that you have to come to work every day ready for whatever is thrown at you, ready to learn, and stay hungry, so what keeps me motivated is also the thing I enjoy the most. Every failure is an opportunity to grow, both personally and professionally.
What is your best memory from working in real estate?
(laughs) There are a few that come to mind, and I see a common thread. This job is the most rewarding when you’re able to make things happen when it seems like the deal is dead.
There were several scenarios where I was able to literally bring a deal back from the dead by finding a creative solution. If there’s ever a moment when a client feels like hope is lost and you’re able to reinvigorate a deal and bring hope back to both parties, that’s a great feeling all around. It also creates clients for life and the other side will have the utmost respect for you.
Favorite neighborhood and what makes it more appealing than its competitors?
I’m split on this question. I like SoHo a lot. It’s very unique. It’s actually funny, a lot of people don’t know this, but SoHo is zoned almost entirely for commercial use, which makes any sort of residential property there technically illegal.
However, since a lot of these buildings have been converted into condos, it has become a very unique neighborhood in terms of both the types of properties you get and the value as well.
My second choice is actually Hamilton Heights. It’s not a well known area, but I endearingly refer to it as the Park Slope of Manhattan. It’s has the most beautiful, ornate brownstones and low-rise buildings. The vibe is unique and happens to be where I live now. I’d happily live there for the rest of my life.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to be interviewed for blogs. It’s actually a hobby of mine, which is why I’m so exceptional at it. Kidding.
I’m a pretty adventurous eater. I know everyone’s a foodie nowadays, but I much prefer taste to the cool factor. I’ll go to Flushing just for good Chinese.
I also like to go on bike rides, hang with friends, and I read a lot. I actually just bought a new bike right before winter because it was a good deal.
If you weren’t doing real estate, what would you be pursuing?
I would have started my own business. Doing something that helps people.
Where the Wild Things Are
Favorite TV Show
Favorite Place to Travel
I’m a fan of going places where English isn’t the main language. I know that’s broad.
“To have something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.”
To chat to Phil about your real estate needs, or his great taste in TV shows, visit his agent profile and get in touch.