Scott Gomez, a client and friend of Victor Shaio, and the Chelsea Mercantile
While hockey coaches, trainers and referees are figures of authority on the ice, one mortgage originator has emerged as the most trusted man in real estate among some of the National Hockey League’s biggest stars.
A relative unknown three years ago, Victor Shaio, a mortgage originator who heads an eponymous group with MetLife Home Loans, is an unlikely sensei — he contends that the glamorous life of an athlete holds no appeal to him.
But today, industry insiders say Shaio is the go-to guy among Rangers players looking for solid real estate advice.
After five years in the industry, a random encounter got Shaio started with the athletic set in 2007. His friend had been the money manager for Scott Gomez, then a newly signed player with the New York Rangers (Shaio wouldn’t disclose the names of any of his other clients). After an introduction — and Gomez’s near-purchase of a lackluster Upper West Side apartment — Shaio became a real estate mentor to the puck-slinging powerhouse.
“I called him up and said, ‘if you don’t love what you see [while looking for apartments], give me a call,'” Shaio said, after which point he said he helped Gomez navigate the city’s real estate opportunities. In September 2007, reports surfaced that Gomez had purchased a $3.2 million duplex in the Chelsea Mercantile at 252 Seventh Avenue Near 25th Street.
“That led me to hanging out with a bunch of the guys on the team,” Shaio said.
And all that “hanging out” led to an impressive roster of hard-charging clientele from teams including the Boston Bruins, Phoenix Coyotes, Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils. Additionally, Shaio has worked with a handful of players in the National Basketball Association and National Football League.
With such unusual clients, Shaio said he often steps outside the world of home loan lending. While mortgages may be his specialty, Shaio said that he offers a full-service approach to his athletic clientele.
“[We] try to acclimate them as best we can to their new city [anywhere in the country],” Shaio said. “I’ve definitely benefitted on the mortgage side… but they’ve also benefitted [from me] steering them away” from real estate pitfalls.
And, according to Shaio, athletes, in particular, can encounter some major hazards when they’re trying to find sound real estate advice.
“When somebody hears a professional athlete is shopping for a home, their ears perk up and they think it’s their winning lottery day,” Shaio said, noting that he’s seen some in the real estate industry try to overcharge athletes simply because they’re wealthy.
“The number one thing is to do the right thing by these guys because there are a lot of people who try to take advantage,” he said, an attitude that he says has aided his success.
Luckily for Shaio, the routine ebb and flow of players in and out of the city makes for a constantly renewing client base.
“[A] guy gets traded, next thing you know, you have an open door to [another] set of people,” Shaio explained. “When a guy gets traded to another city, [the] number one [thing we] take care of is the housing.”