Bryan Karp of RE/MAX Eastern Properties likes to say he’s the Heisman Trophy winner of real estate with the rings to prove it. The latest accolade for the former All-American football player at Stony Brook University came when he was voted one of Long Island Pulse’s Power Brokers. Despite only having eight years in the business, Karp is one of Long Island’s top selling agents. But when you listen to him talk about his competitive desires, which have rolled over from his days in football, and passion for serving his clients, it’s less of a surprise.
How did you transition from sports into real estate?
My senior year in college, someone gave me a book by Robert Kiyosaki called Rich Dad, Poor Dad. It talks about real estate and passive, horizontal and residual streams of income. It changed my life forever.
After finishing it, I bought my first house, which was a two-family house. My girlfriend (now wife) lived upstairs and we rented out the downstairs. I lived there for almost free. I said, “This real estate thing is amazing.” Then I realized I didn’t have enough money to start buying rental properties so I got my real estate license. My first year I sold one to two houses, the next year I sold five to six. The next thing I knew, I woke up and I was sellingg 50 to 70 homes a year.
How does your pre-real estate football life help you in your current role?
I’m extremely competitive and I can’t lose at anything. I always have to be the No. 1 real estate broker. I still miss the feeling of sacking a quarterback dominating the opponent. Real estate was perfect. It’s a very competitive business because the harder you work, the better you do.
Does this competitiveness extend to Trivia Tuesday and game night?
<Laughs> I don’t know about trivia but it extends to my children. I still don’t let them win when we race up the stairs. I’m going to beat them until the day they can beat me.
When it comes to the client, how do you balance what’s best for them with your competitive instincts?
I’m blessed in real estate that I’m only out here to do the best for my clients. I’m not looking at the commissions and deals. There’s an abundance of success, wealth and money. I’m not going to let you lose.
How do you find out your client’s needs?
I ask questions. I want to know where you’re going, why you’re selling it, how quickly you need it sold, what you want for it. All those things will come up in an equation when I tell you how to list the house, how to sell the house and how to get it sold in a timely fashion.
When people are looking at it, how do you make sure it’s the right fit at the price?
The key to real estate is getting people in the door. Yes, I’m a salesman and yes, I’m a master salesman but I’m a marketer. My job is to get as many people through the door as possible and then get them to fall head over heels in love with the property and then they sell themselves.
What are big mistakes people make when buying?
Being all over the place. Real estate can get very overwhelming and confusing so you need to narrow it down. I want you to be experts in that market. If you’re in 25 different markets, you won’t know it’s a great deal.
What are some emerging towns on Long Island?
I see Ronkonkoma as very up-and-coming. There’s a huge hub project. I think it’s going to be a value add. It’s got great school districts. On top of that, it’s the last leg of the railroad. Thousands and thousands commute in and out. I can already see a lot of developers are buying up space in that area.
What makes St. James a great place to live?
The school district. People come into my house every day looking for Smithtown school district and gravitating towards St. James. Mill Pond Estates is a very exclusive area of 150 homes. When you drive through here, you can just tell how people take care of their properties.
What are some great places to hang out in your territories?
My wife Jessica, my two little boys and I are not big frills people. We like going to the local pizzeria. In St. James, there’s Del Fuego. They have the best burgers. One has pulled pork and avocados. It’s fabulous. The quesadillas and chips are awesome.
What are other fun things to do?
There’s fantastic parks like Patricia and Sycamore in Lake Grove.