What was your first job in the realty industry? I truly dont remember a time I was not involved in real estate, of some sort. Collecting rents, ordering inspections, remodeling units, etc. I guess this is why it’s natural that I fall into the multifamily housing world. My family has been involved in several projects in little havana since the early 60s. I remember how much the buildings commanded years ago and see how much this area has developed and can attest that it is still and will always be a secure income producing investment.
What do you do to relax when you’re stressed? I play golf or smoke a cigar with my partner Eduardo Mualim. It is always interesting to know how somebody of Jewish descent (me) and somebody of Palestinian descent (him) can get along and work so well together. Why cant we all just get along?
Where did you grow up? I grew up in Ecuador and have both Jewish and Cuban decent. I moved to the U.S. almost 15 years ago.
Growing up, what did you want to be? I always wanted to sell something. From an early age I saw myself as a great high-end salesman. I just never thought it was real estate.
If you could have lunch with a well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why? I would really like to have met Tony Goldman. His company, Goldman Properties, transformed Miami Beach and Wynwood. Wynwood is now a vibrant arts center that draws thousands but it was a gritty warehouse district when he started investing in the area. I would have loved to speak with him and listen to his real vision and see how much it differs from what it is now.
Where is your favorite place to hang out? My cigar lounge on little havana. Everybody knows me there, and I can enjoy my Alec Bradley or Padron Robusto while reading my book and having my cafesito – PRICELESS!!
What do you love most about the industry? I really like listening to clients’ expectations. It always surprises me how sellers expect certain price points to sell or buy mostly based on emotions. Sometimes it is not about tearing walls down but meeting those expectations together and reaching those unimaginable goals.
How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents? When people talk to me or think about me, it’s usually as the oldest 30 year old alive. I tend to listen to my elders and not only understand there experiences but take them as my own. I see there vision and try to use their failures to make into my own success.
What is the most difficult aspect of your job? Unprofessional real estate agents. My one pet peeve is people who do not take pride in their profession and don’t attend to their clients or listing properly. Not putting correct pictures in the listing, returning phone calls or a lack of proper follow up are unfortunately common things in South Florida. If all agents worked diligently we would have have happier clients and greater incomes.
Where do you go to network and meet new clients? I dont particularly go to a place to meet new clients. As a full-time real estate agent, I am selling myself and my products at all times. I have found clients in the oddest of places. The one thing I try to remember is that I am always a Realtor on duty.
What has been your greatest accomplishment? My greatest accomplishment was to succesfully rehab a small property in Opa locka and resell it for 200 percent ROI. It was not large amounts of money, but it felt great to succeed despite most other people saying negative things about the project. If everybody agrees with it, you’re probably doing something wrong.
What was the last good movie you saw or book you read? “The Magic of Thinking Big” by Dr. David J. Schwartz. Written in 1987, it still applies now more than ever. It has helped me find greater happiness and peace of mind. I’ve read it a total of 10 times.
What is your favorite restaurant? Barton G in west ave. I go there every time I am close. I am no longer doing that many rentals, which is probably why I can afford it. Food is fantastic and the whole experience is always phenomenal.
Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Miami? I love the Byron Carlyle Theater on 71st street. It might not be as imoressive as others building, but it encompasses what Miami is: an old structure that has developed with time. Still a theater, renovated, but nonetheless a theater.
What kind of car do you drive? Black 328i BMW.
Smartphone or paper? My assistant/confidant/friend Maria. She is my pen, paper, email, MLS, listing presenter…everything.
What is your favorite city after Miami? Buenos Aires. To me it is the Paris of South America. The food, culture and people always give me something new.
In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the industry?
The road to success: FAIL; FAIL; FAIL; FAIL; SUCCESS; REPEAT.
What’s your favorite real estate iPhone/Android app? Docusign. It makes possible any contract to be signed closed and delivered from my IPad. I love it.
Who are your favorite people to follow on Twitter? Joel Osteen, Tony Robbins, The New York Times and the pope.