Day in the Life of: Adam Modlin

Broker-to-the-stars Adam Modlin talks about his passion for running, mentoring students and disliking television

Nov.November 01, 2014 07:00 AM
Adam Modlin

Adam Modlin (Credit: Max Dworkin)

Adam Modlin is president and founder of the Modlin Group and a top broker to A-list celebrities like Justin Timberlake and Alex Rodriguez. The 41-year-old lives on the Upper East Side with his wife and two daughters. Modlin launched his firm with his older brother, Avery, in 1999, with no prior industry experience. His total listing volume of $125 million over the first five months of the year was a year-over-year jump from $110.5 million, according to The Real Deal’s annual ranking of Manhattan’s residential listing agents. He had the listings for Kelly Ripa’s duplex penthouse condo at 76 Crosby Street — with Douglas Elliman’s Raphael De Niro — and a penthouse co-op at 383 West Broadway. Those Soho apartments recently closed for $20 million and $26.6 million, respectively.

6 a.m. The moment I wake up, I look at my phone and monitor my emails and text messages. It’s a good opportunity to communicate with clients of mine who are overseas or are in private equity or finance.

6:15 a.m. I go for a 3-mile run on the reservoir. Central Park is my backyard. I find there’s no better way to clear your mind and get your adrenaline racing than to take a run. On days when I don’t run or take my kids to school on the Upper East Side, I attend spin class.

6:45 a.m. I’m home, preparing breakfast – something healthy, like oatmeal and fruit – for my daughters, who are 11 and 14 years old. After I work out, I have coconut water, which is filled with potassium. I look through my closet for the perfect game-day power suit.

7:30 a.m. I take my kids to school, either on foot or by car. Then, I walk with my wife, who works in private equity, to our respective jobs.

8 a.m. My wife and I stop at Sant Ambroeus for coffee. [One] highlight of the walk is the view of 432 Park Avenue, where I’ve sold a handful of apartments.

9 a.m. I’m at my office at West 57th Street and Seventh Avenue. The first meeting of the day is what I call a “mentor meeting.” I talk with young people looking for guidance or who are interested in getting into the residential real estate industry …. I also participate in a year-long academic program where I mentor students at Baruch College, the school I went to. I prefer to start my workday with this meeting, because young people have so much passion – they want to take over the world. I find that inspiring and I learn something from them.

10 a.m. I have a couple active negotiations, so I’m on the phone with my sellers and buyers. I call brokers to make sure they’re familiar with our listings.

11 a.m. Recently, I had clients who flew in from Moscow to shop for a trophy townhouse on the Upper East Side. The most discerning buyers for this type of property will only consider property that’s of a certain width. To be designated as a mansion, it would have to be at least 25 feet wide. Today’s client wants a mansion 30 or 40 feet wide. They require it to resemble their other homes around the world. There are probably only two on the market of that type on a Central Park block [between Madison and Fifth avenues]. We see two houses, and my buyer decides to bid on one.

12 p.m. My next meeting is to show an exclusive, a spectacular penthouse in Soho. When I need to get from point A to point B quickly, I jump on the subway.

1 p.m. I head over to Morandi in the West Village to get an outdoor table and catch up on calls and emails. It’s a luxury in our business to have a proper lunch, so if you’re going to do it, you want to do it right. I don’t often make lunch plans because people get upset when I have to cancel them. I could eat alone and the next thing I know, I get invited into somebody else’s table and two hours go by and we end up looking at properties spontaneously. I maintain a kosher diet and almost always, I’m eating fish. My favorite is branzino.

3 p.m. Periodically over the course of the day, I’m in the office. I huddle up with my team, research properties to show to a client, review exclusive listings and think about how to reach out to new people.

5:30 p.m. I meet another colleague for a drink at Harlow. That’s something I often do – to discuss the state of the market, inventory, deals, strategies. My friend Richie Notar owns Harlow, so I tend to have a drink or meeting there in the late afternoon, while it’s closed. The key to good friends is getting to go to places when they’re closed.

6:30 p.m. The other night, I dined at Estiatorio Milos with friends who are developers. I eat dinner at home frequently, though.

7:30 p.m. I love to support my clients’ philanthropic endeavors. A friend, for example, launches his or her own charity with an event, and I bring others to show support.

10 p.m. On the way home, I check in with clients on the West Coast.

10:30 p.m. I get home in time to see my kids before they go to sleep. I ask them how their day was and give them a hug and a kiss.

11 p.m. I read three or four books at the same time. Most recently, I read [New York Knicks president] Phil Jackson’s new book, “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success.” I don’t enjoy watching TV. I think it’s a waste of time.

12 a.m. I wind down and start thinking about tomorrow. While I’m exhausted, I reflect back and feel grateful about the amazing day I just had.


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