The Real Deal New York

Day in the life of: Adam Mahfouda

The Oxford Property Group founder on his firm’s 300+ exclusives, building apps and boxing with his wife
By Dennis Lynch | February 01, 2018 11:00AM

Adam Mahfouda (Photos by Emily Assiran)

Adam Mahfouda founded Oxford Property Group with his former Gamut Realty boss, Greg Harden, in 2010. Oxford merged with Titan Real Estate Group last May, making it one of the largest brokerages in the city, with around 450 agents. The firm typically has more than 300 active exclusive listings each month, Mahfouda said, and it closed about $87.1 million in Manhattan and Brooklyn residential sales last year. The brokerage, which is headquartered in Midtown, announced in November that it was opening a White P lains office, and it has plans to expand to Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut. Though roughly 85 percent of Oxford’s agents work in residential, the firm has still notched some sizable commercial deals. Last year, its largest was the $75 million sale of Extell Development’s 499-501 Third Avenue to China Overseas Land & Investment.

Mahfouda grew up in Lynbrook, New York, and studied Earth and planetary science at Harvard University. After graduating, he tried his hand at a hodgepodge of businesses, including a “digital version of Salvation Army,” where he took people’s unwanted items and sold them online. He also owned the One Buck Pizza Truck, hawking $1 slices in Union Square. Mahfouda became a broker to make money on the side, starting at Charles Rutenberg in 2008, then jumping to Gamut the following year. Mahfouda said the 100 percent payout model there inspired him to do the same at Oxford, and his firm charges agents a flat monthly fee. Mahfouda lives in Greenwich Village with his wife, Alyssa, whom he met through mutual friends. She was looking for an apartment at the time, and he was working an agent. She never paid a fee. 

5:30 a.m. I made a 2017 resolution, which I’m going to continue in 2018, not to ever hit snooze. Unfortunately, I check my phone almost immediately while I’m in bed.

6:00 a.m. My wife and I are at Mendez Boxing gym in NoMad. I usually do an hour with a guy named Sal, an absolute hero. We do pad work, or occasionally I’ll spar with my wife. She punches me, but I’m not allowed to fight back. It’s very good for the relationship.

7:30 a.m. Two or three times a week I meet my brother for a quick coffee or breakfast. Family is very important to me and my brother is a mentor of mine. He is the founder of Bandwagon [a taxi share service]. I say “get coffee” but I generally don’t drink it, so I’ll get a tea or an orange juice.

8:15 a.m. I get on my Vespa and head to work. I’ve had other bikes — a Piaggio, a Triumph Bonneville, a Honda. It takes about seven minutes to get from my apartment to the office at Fifth Avenue and West 30th Street.

9:00 a.m. I get on a call with our web developers. Within a month or two, we’ll be launching a new iPhone app that lets clients browse property listings and allows our agents to see what they like. Over the past two years, we’ve spent a lot more time building out our technology, and we have another app in the pipeline.

10:00 a.m. I’ll meet with the residential agents I work with and go over any exclusive rentals and sales we have. Right now, those include a unit at 195 Hudson Street, 116 Central Park South and an exclusive on the entire property at 325 Fifth Avenue.

11:00 a.m. I’ll meet with the commercial agents. We’re expanding — we’re at 5,000 square feet and now we’re looking for 10,000 to 15,000 square feet — so recently we’ve been going over all the offices we’re looking at. We’re looking in this general area, in Midtown.

12:30 p.m. I almost always order lunch through Seamless. If I feel like not being healthy, I’ll order a pastrami sandwich from Mr. Broadway, which happens too often. Otherwise, I’ll try to grab a salad or something even more boring.

1:00 p.m. I leave this time open to go visit commercial buildings we’re looking to sell, meet with residential landlords or join my team to pitch residential sale exclusives. I buy and sell apartments and multifamily buildings for my own portfolio, so some of my time out of the office is spent visiting those. I own a few investment apartments in Midtown, but I’m sitting on the sidelines right now because I think it’s hard to find value.

3:00 p.m. I have a standing meeting — usually on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — with Molly Bowman, our operations director, with Matt Ziegler, who handles human resources and onboarding, and my partner, Greg [Harden]. The four of us sit down and go over any Oxford-related agent or company items that come up. And then they give feedback based on what agents are saying.

5:00 p.m. I leave time open to meet with agents, to see if they have any questions that are deal- or strategy-related. I also like to sit in on any agent interviews we have to find out why people are moving over here. We probably sign up about 15 to 20 people a month.

6:00 p.m. After all these meetings, emails have piled up again. Even if I don’t get done what someone is asking, I try to respond to everyone who’s called or emailed that same day.

7:45 p.m. I get home before my wife, Alyssa, does. She’s in finance. I usually call her to ask her when she’s getting home and we’ll have a 10-minute conversation about where we should order dinner from. We usually decide between the same three places, so there’s a lot of wasted time just discussing what we want. We usually choose between a few neighborhood spots, like Tomoe Sushi or Mint Masala.

8:00 p.m. I’ll shut my phone off for an hour, and Alyssa and I have dinner and catch up on how our days were. It’s nice non-working time. We usually go out on the weekends, and we like to travel if we can. We spent a couple weekends this summer on the North Fork [Long Island], and we try to get upstate. Otherwise, I sometimes go out to industry events. I’m a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and I’m active with the Chabad Young Professionals of Chelsea.

9:00 p.m. If I don’t have a lot going on, I try to read a bit. I have an Adam Grant book on my desk right now. I usually get book recommendations from my wife, who will get them from her boss. I don’t watch any TV really, besides “Game of Thrones” on Sunday nights.

10:30 p.m. I’m in bed. I try to sleep six or seven hours. If I have work to do, I’ll continue, but I try to be in bed by 11 p.m. at the latest.

 

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that Oxford charges its agents a flat monthly fee, rather than a flat fee per transaction.