12 things Mauricio Umansky wants you to know
Touches on fame, reality TV, the state of the market and the NAR lawsuit
Mauricio Umansky sat for a 45-plus-minute interview with The Real Deal’s Stuart Elliott on Oct. 23 at The Real Deal’s Salon Series event. Here are some highlights of what he had to say.
- Keys to life
The ability to read a room and the ability to sell are two of the most important things in life. … Understanding the mind allows you to start reading people allows you to start reading the room and allows you to start understanding that. But in order to do that … it’s about being present, OK?
- Selling Lady Gaga a house
I never asked her [about] her budget. I never asked her what area. I just said, what are you looking for. And she said, “Well, I want space. I want paparazzi proof. I want to be able to have animals, chickens, dogs. … You have to have a complete knowledge of your market because you never know when you’re going to be in a situation in a locker room [with Lady Gaga]. Backstage when somebody says what they want, and if you don’t have that in your head, you’re not selling the house.
- Life on reality TV
Reality TV is tough, man. At the end of the day, the reality is that you just have to let things brush off and not take anything too seriously. You just have to accept things. There’s tabloids, there are stories, there is lies, there’s more lies, and more lies. … At the end of the day, you just have to let everything brush off.
- On reporting
I can handle anything, as long as it’s backed by truth. I do not like it when there is stories that are not fact checked and they’re just written and they’re just thrown out there, like gossip.
- On fame
I don’t view fame as a thing. I hate fame. I forget about it all the time. I’m walking down the street, I’m walking down the street, I get stopped and, like, “Oh, Mauricio,” and I’m like, yeah, I get scared. I’m like, what did I do wrong? Did I cross the street wrong? … I just care about living the day, enjoying the day. You know, one of the most important things for me is living every second to the fullest potential.
- State of the business
1995 was the last time we saw business this bad. Mortgage applications are down below levels of 1995. … Business sucks, OK? You got to balance your P&Ls to whatever the business is out there. … So the idea is as a brokerage firm, you got to look at success based on what kind of market share you’re capturing. Are you winning the market share game? … This is the opportunity to differentiate yourself.
- NAR lawsuit decoupling buyer’s and seller’s agents commissions
I think it sucks. I think it’s a major issue in the country. I don’t think it’s right. … I think we should all leave NAR and create our own coalition. I just said it.
- On Compass
There’s many ways to get somewhere and Compass today is the largest brokerage in the country, and that’s amazing. … My whole thing on whatever you do is just telling the truth. Particularly if you’re a public company. But I think that what they have done is amazing. What we have done is amazing. We’ve grown in two completely different ways. .. I don’t like to look at what our competitors are doing. If anybody knows me, you know that I will never talk bad about a competitor. I don’t consider them competitors. I consider them colleagues.
- The Agency’s growth
We’re about to open our 100th office, I think we’re going to do $14 billion worth of real estate sales this year, plus or minus, on a million-dollar investment with zero debt.
- Possibility of going public
It’s not about money. It’s about giving back to everybody that has worked with us. … Right now is the wrong time to do it. I have put that on the shelf for a while. It’s definitely not in the cards right now. I’m not even thinking about it right now. But when the market changes, I’ll be thinking about it.
- LA mansion tax
It’s a real mess. They really screwed this thing up and I’m not going to sugarcoat this thing at all. It’s an absolute mess. They don’t even know what they’re doing with the money.
- Pro-business cities
New York is a very pro [business] … look, you guys have some pretty fucked up politics here as well. .. But did you know that people like to do business in New York. … Dallas is a pro business city right now. You want to see a pro business city right now, it’s Dallas. That is 100 percent a pro business city.