The Real Deal New York

Urban Compass nabs Jason Saft, second Citi Habitats alum to join tech startup

By Katherine Clarke | July 25, 2013 02:00PM

Jason Saft, a Town Residential broker, has followed his former Citi Habitats colleague Gordon Golub to an executive position at real estate-themed tech startup Urban Compass, he told The Real Deal.

Saft, perhaps best known for selling a $5.65 million Wooster Street pad to filmmaker Barry Levinson earlier this year, was at Town for four months. He previously spent close to nine years at Citi Habitats, where he worked closely with Golub, the company’s former second-in-command and an 18-year veteran who decamped for Urban Compass earlier this year.

Urban Compass, founded by tech entrepreneur Ori Allon and former Goldman Sachs executive Robert Reffkin, has been growing rapidly following its launch just two months ago. The company combines a StreetEasy-style listings website with a team of in-house “neighborhood specialists,” who function much like real estate brokers.

In what is one of the company’s main selling points, clients pay a commission of 7.5 percent of a year’s rent, less than the standard New York City broker’s fee of up to 15 percent.

The newly-appointed Saft has taken the title of director of landlord services at the firm, where he will help train the company’s neighborhood specialists and manage relationships with landlords. He will also drum up new business to add to the company’s existing 100 exclusives, he said.

“At Citi, the majority of my business was rentals, handling a lot of different portfolios and working very closely with landlords,” Saft told The Real Deal. “When Gordon came over to Urban Compass, I started meeting some of the people here and working with them. They were showing my listings. I started to see more and more what they were doing and I was really excited and blown away by it. There’s an energy and enthusiasm in the model that they’re creating.”

Saft represented the seller in the deal for the three-bedroom, three-bathroom, 3,090-square-foot condo at 104 Wooster Street bought by Levinson in January, while Town’s Jason Karadus handled the deal for Levinson. While at Citi Habitats, he also listed a five-bedroom, four-bathroom duplex in the Chelsea Quarter Condominium, which was scoped out by Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.

Despite remaining at Town for only four months, Saft said he had no bad feelings towards the company.

“I really truly respect and admire what they do. Town is a really good place,” he said.

In a statement to The Real Deal, Town CEO Andrew Heiberger said he wished Saft the best at Urban Compass.

“He’s always welcome back,” he said.

  • Jonathan Doe

    I had the misfortune of working at this greedy, ruthless start-up so I can give you the details that everyone is squirming for. They are getting lots of investor funding so they have now started to offer base salaries and high commission splits to top sales agents from all the big firms (that’s the secret!). Once they nab (steal) these agents they drop other agents that are making less (example: their original hardworking rental agents). They are basically ruthless users and each month they crank out their excel spread sheets and fire a bunch of their agents to make room for their new cash cows.