The Real Deal New York

Day in the life of: Karla Saladino

The head of Mirador on her New Age lifestyle, not eating lunch, and residing in one of her biggest clients' buildings

April 01, 2017
By Mark Maurer

Karla Saladino (Photo by Michael McWeeney)

Karla Saladino is a co-founder and managing partner of Mirador Real Estate, a residential and commercial brokerage that specializes in new development marketing and re-leasing. The 40-agent firm brokered more than 1,100 deals in the greater New York area in 2016 and currently represents a dozen landlords and developers on more than 100 properties, according to Saladino. The 36-year-old broker grew up in Huntington, Long Island, and got her start in the business at a small firm that later folded. She was accepted to New York Law School in 2002, but deferred enrollment for a year to work in real estate and never attended. In 2004, Saladino founded her first brokerage, SDB Residential Real Estate, which Mark David & Company acquired two years later for an undisclosed amount. In 2013, she formed Mirador, which has an exclusive leasing partnership with Pan Am Equities — the development and property management firm backed by the Manocherian family.

5:30 a.m. I try to get up before the sun rises and meditate in my apartment, a penthouse duplex in the Flatiron District. It helps me calm down. If I’m dealing with a challenge from the day before, the answer becomes clear.

6 a.m. I’m on a treadmill answering emails at the New York Health & Racquet Club in my building. Sometimes I go into the steam room and still give myself credit for working out. The more you can pack into the morning before the rest of the world starts, the better.

7:15 a.m. I grab a croissant and tea at La Maison du Macaron with my sister, who is a psychologist and lives in the same building as me. I’m trying to stay off coffee because I found it was adding to the stress of the job.

8 a.m. I kick things off in our Flatiron office, one of five offices we have in Manhattan. This is typically my first meeting slot of the day. Recently, I met with a developer doing a commercial conversion in Elmhurst, Queens, to help with marketing. I try to pop by each of our offices at least once a month, but I spend the most time in Flatiron and our space on East 12th Street. I would love to open an office in Washington Heights. I find that every time I open a new office, it takes about a year to get it up and running.

10 a.m. We have an all-team meeting at least once a month. We share where we’re at numbers-wise on projects and goals. For the most part, our job is to go into buildings that are already occupied and help with the re-leasing effort — to boost rent rolls and tenant relations and cut vacancy rates. Also, I occasionally hold workout meetings, in which I take our head of operations and our marketing lead to Aerial Yoga. We were recently upside down in a hammock at one point. It was hilarious.

11:45 a.m. I recently picked out fixtures at Restoration Hardware for a collection of small walk-up buildings an owner is renovating on Seventh Avenue in Chelsea. We get asked to do a lot of design work.

12:30 p.m. Sometimes my days are really heavy with calls. I don’t eat lunch — I find it slows me down. If I eat lunch, I need a nap. When I’m working, it’s a lot of adrenaline. I drink ginger, soy and a lot of water throughout the day.

2 p.m. I recently met with the leasing team from Ben Shaoul’s Magnum Real Estate Group in Soho. I’ve represented part of that firm’s portfolio for over 10 years. They’re investing a lot of money into making move-ins smoother. Another one of my biggest accounts is Pan Am Equities, which owns the building I live in. I still pay rent. If their top salesperson lives in the building, the developers think they’re really going to focus on selling it and bringing in good tenants. I get offered some pretty cool apartments, but you’d have to do a lot to pull me out of this one.

3:30 p.m. I meet with potential new hires. I’ve never believed in stating the 80/20 rule — that 20 percent of a sales staff generates 80 percent of the revenue. I’d rather focus on the 20 by giving resources to and training the top talent we already have. If 20 are already good, your resources tend to go toward the 80, which I never found fair. I don’t think that’s how you retain top producers.

5 p.m. A couple times a week, my yoga teacher meets me at one of our offices. We do a restorative or yin yoga session and I take my mind off work for an hour. It’s pretty effective.

7 p.m. I stop by one of the buildings we’re representing, like the Instrata NoMad, a 392-unit rental where we’re helping with the transition of a new property manager, Greystar Real Estate Partners. I send the end-of-the-day leasing report to Greystar. Then I grab whoever is there, as well as my managers and some vendors, and bring them to dinner. I’m Italian, so I’m genetically predisposed for big dinners.

8 p.m. My staff and I go to the restaurants at Eataly as well as ABC Kitchen and ABC Cocina a lot. In the spring and summer, I host two get-togethers a week on my terrace, where we get to watch the sunset and connect. I’ve been a vegetarian for over 25 years. I love to cook pasta with mozzarella and other ingredients from Eataly.

9:30 p.m. I might pop out of dinner early for a call with my business coach, who works for Tony Robbins in California, or my parents on Long Island. My dad is a race car driver and former teacher. He might tell me about the 1935 Packard he is rebuilding.

10:15 p.m. I regroup for a bit at home. I live alone, though I have a little Yorkie I see on the weekends. He stays with a friend’s parents on Long Island. His little kidneys are failing, and they watch him 24/7. I may scan Facebook and see if there’s anybody in need of anything in my friendship circle — or call a friend. I went to Burning Man last year with some of my Australian friends. I stayed in a yurt, and the art was incredible. People have a misconception that Burning Man is drug-based. It would be detrimental to do something like that out in the desert.

11 p.m. I read books and watch documentaries, both of which put me to sleep. I’ve been reading a lot of Marcus Aurelius, and I keep the works of Friedrich Nietzsche next to my bed. I revisited Nietzsche a couple months ago and pulled out some gold and began peppering my team with Nietzsche quotes.

12 a.m. I try to go to sleep. If I’m up past 12, it’s 2 a.m. before I know it. It’s hard to get off your email, escape all the exciting things going on, and unplug like it’s “The Matrix.”