The Real Deal New York

Meet Million Dollar Listing New York’s newest star: Luis D. Ortiz

“I booked myself a ticket for Los Angeles to … give them a reason to choose no one but me”

April 03, 2013 03:30PM
By Katherine Clarke

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Luis D. Ortiz

“Million Dollar Listing New York” will make a return to Bravo TV May 8, and it has a new cast member to boot: Luis D. Ortiz of Keller Williams NYC, the network said yesterday. A former filmmaker and Puerto Rico native, Ortiz will join Ryan Serhant of Nest Seekers International and Fredrik Eklund of Douglas Elliman as the third cast member, replacing Michael Lorber, son of Elliman Chairman Howard Lorber.

While The Real Deal spotted Ortiz filming early scenes for the second season of the hit show on Wall Street this past September, his involvement in the show was only officially confirmed yesterday.

Following the announcement, we sat down with Ortiz on the rooftop of the former Elizabeth Arden building at 689 Fifth Avenue yesterday to talk real estate, filmmaking and butting heads with Serhant and Eklund.

Tell us a little bit about yourself…
I am from San Juan, Puerto Rico. I’m 26. I have a twin brother. His name is Daniel Ortiz. He is pretty much an extension of myself. Even when we have been in different places, we always finish in the same place.

When did you leave Puerto Rico?
I left Puerto Rico [with my brother] when I was 16 years old. We were too young to understand why we wanted to leave but we were feeling uncomfortable and suffocated by something. We didn’t know exactly what we wanted to do but we wanted to step into something that was completely different. One day we bought a one-way ticket to Florida and left a note [for our parents] in the kitchen saying we were going to the beach. We took off and never came back.

How did you mom react?
She wanted to kill us, obviously. I didn’t speak to her for the first six or seven months [we were in the U.S.]. In the note I said, “If I don’t do this, how do I know if it’s going to work or not?”

What did you do in Florida?
I started working as a stockroom boy in the back of Hollister [the clothing chain] and as a janitor in a community college, but I really wanted to do film directing. I wanted to tell stories.

You weren’t one of those guys that poses topless outside Hollister, were you?
I didn’t have the body and I don’t know I would actually have been up for that.

When did you move to New York?
In 2006, I flew to New York to go to New York Film Academy. I started living at a place called the Opal in Kew Gardens Hills close to Jamaica Center. I was the only non-Jewish person in the entire community.

Have you made any films?
I shot my first film in Bolivia in South America. I was 19 at the time. The film’s name is “Amalia.” It’s an immigration story about a girl who lived in Bolivia and was very poor. Her dad worked construction in New Jersey and sent the family money but the father had an accident and stopped sending money to the family. The story is how she gets a visa and comes here and makes it.

What came next?
I came back [to New York] in 2008 to shoot another film. I need $15,000 to shoot the film. I went out on the streets and went to every restaurant and business owner with the movie I already shot in 2006 and told them they would be investing in someone that’s going to make something great. I spoke from the heart. In one night, I made $9,000. I went to like 65 restaurants and got money from about seven. The second movie is called “The Theatre of the Absurd.” I never liked the film so I never showed it.

How come you stopped filmmaking?
I was so young that I got very upset and disappointed. I said, “Filmmaking is not for me.” I wanted to move because I was sleeping on a friend’s couch in the city. I went to Craigslist to find an apartment and picked one at 95 Wall Street, which was probably 10 times what I could afford. I liked the apartment so much that I paid six months up front by taking out a loan using my father’s credentials. The broker that got me the apartment – his name is David Yomtobian [of Blackstone Properties] – said he thought I should give it a try in real estate.

Did you like the idea right away?
When he offered me the job, I went to his office at 2 Wall Street. I saw these little kids of 21 and 22 years old in an office on Wall Street. I called my brother and said “there’s so much fire in this room. I don’t know anything about this thing but I want to give it a try.”

How did you take to real estate?
I started in real estate when the market had already crashed. I started in a time where I needed to be able to fight to make money. Money was never my main motivation — it still isn’t. I only work for the excitement of things. We had to train ourselves in such a bad time that I think I’ve been through the worst.

Did you start with rentals?
Only rentals. We were on Craigslist every day.

Did you do the bait and switch?
We had the bait and switch. Everyone had it but I was always very honest with people when they called me. I needed to feed myself. Had [the listings] been legitimate, I would probably never have gotten any calls.

Did you stay with Blackstone for long?
I went from Blackstone to a company called Prodigy Network. I lasted six or seven months. I’ve been through a lot of companies, not because I am not a reliable person but the fact that I always reach a point where I find myself at the top of the firm but I’m still nobody. I’m not learning anymore because nobody is teaching me. Prodigy is where I started doing sales and then I moved to Synergy.

How was Synergy?
At Synergy, I worked with Elie Pariente, [the president and CEO]. He was someone that was young and doing something incredible. Everyone respected him. He gave me a chance to represent Cipriani at 55 Wall Street exclusively and the Setai [on Broad Street]. Since it’s not that corporate [at Synergy], I was able to do things my way.

Do you remember your first sale?
Yes. It was to a Goldman Sachs partner that I’d rented an apartment to in Battery Park City for $7,000 or $8,000 a month. He called me saying he wanted to buy something. I came into that meeting with him more prepared than I’d ever been in my life. I made him believe that I had been doing sales for 15 years. I spent nights in the office studying and tried to bill myself as someone that was doing sales. His budget was up to $6 million. We ended up closing a $5.9 million sale in Battery Park, a combination of two apartments.

How did you hear about “Million Dollar Listing New York”?
I didn’t even watch the show before I was cast in it, but everyone had always been telling me I should be on that show. I came out of 55 Wall Street one day and got a call from an 818 number. There was this girl on the line with a very sweet voice. She said, “Have you heard about ‘Million Dollar Listing New York’?” That conversation took over an hour. I have no idea [who recommended me].

What was the audition process like?
I had to do some paperwork, filling out questions, and then we did an interview on Skype. After that, the casting director came to New York to the Thompson Hotel and we did an interview on camera. They asked me about how competitive I am. I said I don’t compete with anyone but myself. When the interview was over, she said, “I think you’re way too nice for this show.” I thought, “Maybe I am not the guy for this thing.” I started really wanting it but at that point I thought I was not going to get it.

Who else was in the running?
One day at Synergy, the admin in the office said she’d been on the Upper East Side having drinks with some friends and she met a guy who said he was going to be the new cast member on “Million Dollar Listing.” My heart went down to the ground. He told her the agreement was already in place and they were waiting for the contract to be signed. I booked myself a ticket for Los Angeles to go that afternoon and smash into the offices [of the executive producer] and give them a reason to choose no one but me. All the girls in the office said I was being too aggressive.

What did you do instead?
I called the casting director. She said they hadn’t even sent the tapes to the producers yet. I asked her if she was lying. She said, “No, but now you’re being annoying.” Two days later, the executive producers called me and said it was between me and another guy. They were also worried about the fact that I was moving companies, since all my listings were tied to Synergy. I rolled the dice.

How did you approach Ilan Bracha, the founder of Keller Williams NYC, about the show?
I sent him an email but I didn’t get a response so I went to Eric Barron [CEO of Keller Williams NYC]. I told him everything about the show. He put me in the office with Ilan and I told him how I was going to go to the end of the world to make things happen. He has a cameo on the show when I first come to the firm.

When did you find out you got the gig?
They never actually told me I got it. For all I knew, I was shooting alongside another guy. I just figured that at some point we’d been shooting for so long [I must have gotten it].

What are your interactions like with Fredrik and Ryan in Season 2?
I like everybody because I understand that everyone has a reason they are the way they are, but we live in a very competitive world. When it came down to a listing appointment where Fredrik and I were both pitching the same seller, our friendship was set aside. I respect them both but we’re competing. There was a development that we both pitched at the same time. He got it.

What about Ryan?
Ryan is a very interesting guy. I don’t hang out with him – in fact, we’re not really allowed to speak to each other to keep the authenticity of the show. When I was with him on camera, he was coming into my open houses and trying to ruin an amazing vibe that I had spent weeks trying to create. We had open houses by chance in the same building and I was trying to direct all the people coming to his open house to mine and he was trying to direct them to his. We’re all sharks in our own way. The three of us going at it is fast-paced.

Your brother is also with KWNYC now. Will he be in the show?
He has a lot of cameos. He’s the total opposite of me. He’s very introverted. He’s very shy. But he’s the smartest guy I’ve ever seen. We’re talking, the camera starts rolling and he freezes. He’s not himself. But I said ‘the cameras not here.’ He got used to it.

  • stephanie

    this is by far the sexiest man i’ve ever seen!

  • yoboy

    Stephenie, you dont count since you’re his mom. He looks like a wannabe hipster…surprised hes not wearing glasses. ..definitely bottom feeder of Eklund and Serhant.

  • http://twitter.com/stevecheese louis V III

    He SO RATCHET!!!

  • Ellen

    I’m a real estate broker. This person (Ortiz) does not sound like anyone with whom I would like to do business nor would I want my customers exposed to him and his questionable tactics.

    • http://www.facebook.com/johnnysLEDs Johnny Salinas

      Ellen I bet everything in the world that you don’t even get close to this guy sales rating. You hater.

      • mike

        Awww.. Someone is butt-hurt. And surprise, surprise, The NY attorney general is now looking into Luis Ortiz and his shady business practices.

        • seiry c

          Stop hating!! this is what upsets us the most and no, I am not boohoo upset.. but instead of putting the negative first, put the positive.. you might be pleasantly surprise!

        • Me

          “butt hurt”, what are you, three years old??

    • experiencedthroughthedowntics

      i agree Ellen.
      Young , but not shallow-it’s the biz state of affairs now.
      NOONE is watching the shop. He seems like an interesting kid,but it’s no
      wonder we’re rated lower than used car salesmen.

      • Victor

        Where do you get your ratings from? I hear very good experiences from people downtown (from almost every brokerage).

      • Victor

        :/ Where are you getting your ratings from? I hear good experiences from people downtown (from almost every brokerage).

      • seiry c

        don’t know where you are both getting your ratings from but we are doing great as realtors! Never had someone say that we “realtors’ are rated lower than “used car salesmen”. Lets stop hating and lets concentrate on how we can make ourselves better REALTORS. Kudos to Luis for his success!!!!

    • Seiry C.

      I guess you are a hater! we would love to conduct a transaction with him anytime because he inspires us..my husband and I are active Remax agents in the state of Florida. Instead of hating, try to be inspired by someone who claims had NOTHING and worked his butt off to be where he is..no one helped this guy and to know he is 26years old makes it that more interesting to watch him go at it. So for you to say that you wouldn’t do business with him, its more that he won’t do business with you. He is at a higher level then you my dear! Get a life and stop hating!

      • disqus_M7byfgKxre

        stop hating what you call haters for a start
        narcissitic knobs the whole bunch

    • Chiquibon

      Agree, I did not like the way Luis told the concierge to direct Ryan’s open house clients to his own open house. Both Luis and concierge (also Puerto Rican) are unethical people and the concierge should be fired.

  • Thomas

    I disagree. I think you want someone on your side who can have the passion to get things done. He seems to have that.

  • kekeke

    i just masterbated to him

  • Josh

    do they only pick gay guys to be on show?

    • http://twitter.com/Dougdenslowe Doug Denslowe

      Obviously!

    • HipHopSays

      really!??…you’re assuming that because a man is well groomed he MUST be gay….

    • Luisfan101

      he actually isnt gay he was on the today show talking about women

      • latinoguy

        Please….. Gay men talk about women all the time,,,,Gay Men love women,,,only not sexually.

        • LuisOrtizfan

          …and you know this how, latinoguy? Luis is an exuberant person in everything he does. There is nothing gay about his mannerisms or the things he says. He is definitely “into” women sexually. If you watch MDLNY you’d know that.

    • LuisOrtizfan

      Luis is so NOT gay.

      • latinoguy

        He is FABULOUS and GAY. Deal with it !!!! You need to face Reality !!! He would never want you sexually.

        • Me

          someone is jealous ^ !

  • http://www.facebook.com/JimmyBoDIDlyDOWood Jimmy Wood

    What an inspiring story about what seems like a great guy and broker. Congrats Luis! I might now watch the show.

  • Intrepid

    everyone DOES NOT Bait and Switch. Ortiz is another lowlife

    who makes us all now rated worse than used car salesmen.

    I wonder how the DOS will look on a “reality show”?

  • experiencedthroughthedowntics

    Actually, Ryan is not interesting at all! Ha Ha Ha.

  • Sandy

    I met Luis once in 2009 and I can say that this kid did leave a long lasting impression in me. I wish him well.

  • Luis

    I respect everyone’s opinions. My past is not perfect but I’m not ashamed of it. Like any step in life, we grow from our experiences to become better people and that is what I’m striving to do :)

    • VG

      It was my pleasure to do rent, buy and sell with Luis last year and he is a man of integrity. I am amazed by what he achieves, how he holds himself and the way he works. We should be happy to see people do well and make things happen….Luis makes a difference.

    • http://www.facebook.com/junior.godinez.96 Junior Godinez

      Well Said Luis! Cant wait to see the show and gain some motivation from it one day i hope they make MDL in Chicago and hopefully by that time ill be selling Millions like you

      Felicidades!!

    • Name

      Luis you are fabulous and I commend you for working your butt off to attain your success. Don’t ever quit and remember to allow your “haters” to be your motivators. I started with nothing like yourself and the desire to help other people. I woked my butt off for years and today as a licensed medical professional I have a waiting list of patients. I seldom watch TV but have have set aside time with my family to mainly watch your show because you remind me of myself -driven, extremely hard working, and humble. Remember where you came from and allow anyone to steal your dreams. Congrat’s and be blessed.
      lyn

    • Me

      keep up the good work young man! You are fun to watch and don’t worry if some don’t get your Latin flare- you can’t please everyone. Considering how uptight some people are, you really don’t want to please them anyway! You could be perfect and you will still get haters.

    • NJitalia

      Luis, you are what the American dream is all about… coming here and making a name for yourself from the ground up regardless of your previous circumstances. Clearly nothing was handed to you and you did some work to get to where you are now. That is awesome. Anyone who rants about your success is lazy and should spend their time working harder or otherwise shut the f*** up. I am also a hard working business man the same age as you who worked hard to get to where I am with no hand outs… so I appreciate you, I get it. Great work. ps your suits rock. u r a damn good lookin guy

  • http://www.facebook.com/nati.rabinowitz Nati Rabinowitz

    Luis is was an always will be an amazing person whom I was privileged to work alongside with. Ultimately my passion led me elsewhere but it is that passion that we share, and that keeps us unique.

  • http://twitter.com/Dougdenslowe Doug Denslowe

    Why was Micheal Lorber fired?That’s what I’m dying to know!Gossip,please!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=615427326 Teo Messi

      Mike Lorber father ask him to leave the show.

  • Suzanne W.

    Good for you Louis I think you’ll be fun and add a great addition to the show! Keep convincing your brother to come on the show, love to see you both! Best wishes and congrats!

  • HipHopSays

    um … someone should tell the writer that Puerto Rico IS a part of the United States. The writer’s clarification for the third question’s answer seems odd. While spanish is the dominant language of the island (PR) it has all the legal standing of the other US territory known as Washington DC, and the last time I checked living on an island doesn’t change your status in the least (no matter what Manhattanites think). Luis did not need a special visa to work in MIami or NYC, he didn’t require a passport (which is blue like every other citizens), and he didn’t need to ‘convert’ currency once he landed in Miami….so, there’s nothing to distinguish him from any other citizen.

  • Jan Phillips

    I find Luis to be almost unwatchable. He grates on me. I find his use of a certain curse over and over again to be offensive. It’s in almost every sentence that comes out of his mouth (other than when he’s reminding us that he’s Puerto Rican). I’m surprised that he speaks that way to clients and gets away with it. I don’t know much about Luis but he seems like a rookie or assistant to me – definitely a newbie. Not sure if he was an actor Bravo made into a ‘realtor’, but he seems green as grass. Fredrik sold what Luis could not sell. Luis wanted his advice. Fredrik was willing to share his knowledge and expertise. Luis thumbed his nose at Fredrik’s warning about making the showing about the apartment and not about Luis. Why ask for advice if you aren’t going to take it? No sympathy here for Luis,maybe losing money will smarten him up, but I doubt it. Then again, he is the guy who consistently thinks that “Jesus Christ! This is a fucking nice apartment! Fuck! Christ!” is an acceptable way for a professional to talk. And then there’s the whole “If it gets the place sold, let’s fucking photoshop the fucking hell out of this place! Jesus Christ!” moments. If Luis is supposed to be handling and representing the same level of properties and clientele as Frederick and Ryan, Luis’ schtick really isn’t the way to conduct business with high end clients. They don’t appreciate nonsense when conducting business.

    • rarebird

      I happen to think his approach is refreshing not everyone has a stick up their arse…Business does not have to be stuffy…

    • LuisOrtizfan

      yawn…..what a boring rant. For those who don’t appreciate Luis Ortiz’s joie de vivre, sounds like Jan’s your guy.

      Jan, he speaks to clients the way you see on the show and he’s successful. You could learn something from the guy. People recognize and appreciate sincerity in many forms.

      The fact that Ortiz appeals to a wide spectrum of clients and viewers should tell you that clients respond well to heartfelt “people skills.”

  • Bonnie

    Luis has amazing eye’s! Seems so sweet. I believe that after this show women will be all over him. What a cutie.:-)

  • mike

    The dude is straight up shady when it comes to his business practices, but he has a silken mouth of gold. He literally swallowed me whole. This Latino spark plug has ZERO gag reflex. El Caliente!

  • Marguerite

    Mr. Luis, you are sexier than hell. I would love to meet you, and I whish you all the success..with your fine ass

  • disqus_M7byfgKxre

    the whole cast is a bunch of knobs
    wouldn’t give anyone of them 2 minutes of my time

  • Salman Khan Qureshi

    Luis, love your story!
    Can we connect?
    Salman

  • Salman Khan Qureshi

    I’ve someone interested in renting a 3 bdrm at 55 Wall st or any other luxury apt downtown, max budget $9000.It’s a German diplomat.

  • http://www.guotime.com/ grant

    made “Money was never my main motivation — it still isn’t. I only work for the excitement of things.” official – http://www.instapoetry.com/quote/130

  • Doctor Boris

    All of them look seem to be gay. I haven’t watched this show, only the PageSix article, and all of them seem gay.

  • Nicole

    Luis, your ego is expanding at an unnecessarily rapid rate…as my tolerance for you is declining at the same speed. You, for some reason, seem to think that paying your dues is above your pay grade and the development world should open its doors and welcome you with a parade. It’s this kind of entitled attitude that quickly turns the viewing audience against you, while also showing the real estate world exactly what kind of brat you really are. Enjoy your short career.

  • anon

    I like Luiz. He is cute, like a little firecracker. I wonder how tall he is?

  • steven

    Hello Luis,

    What would it take to work for you and have you has a mentor? I am a 21 young motivated individual willing to do anything to become successful in real estate. Please let me know the best way to contact you.

    Regards,
    Steven

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