Several years ago, @properties’ Matt Silver, CRS, GRI, QSC, NAR-certified mediator broker associate, was on “floor” when a famous athlete walked into the office and asked to see some homes. This accidental entrée into a niche has ended up serving Silver well. Over the years, he has represented a number of high-profile clients, including professional athletes, actors and well-known CEOs. Chicago Agent recently sat down with Silver to ask a few questions about serving this unique segment of the market.
Chicago Agent: What has been the greatest benefit to working with celebrity clients?
Matt Silver: I’ve found that some celebrities actually feel more comfortable with someone who’s outside their circle. They’ll open up and start to talk, and it gives me insight into who they are and what they want in a home. I find that some athletes are lonely being away from their families, and we get a chance to develop a nice friendship.
CA: What is the biggest misconception about working with athletes and celebrities?
MS: The biggest misconception is that they’re all prima donnas. I have worked with significantly more demanding unknown clients. The notion that money is no object is also false. Everyone wants a good value. I will make sure my clients are buying at the right price or selling at the right time and price level. That’s why they hire me. I’m not afraid to voice my opinion and ultimately that earns their trust.
CA: What type of additional measures do you take when you are showing a celebrity’s home to potential buyers?
MS: I don’t necessarily pre-screen buyers any more than I would for an ordinary listing. Most agents are aware of whose home it is, especially if it’s in a small community. I always recommend to my clients that they put away photographs and other personal items. If an agent wants to get in right away, I typically ask why and try to find out who and where the buyer is. Many high-profile clients understandably don’t want to grant free access to their homes. I usually ask for 48 hours notice if possible.
CA: What is your advice to agents who find themselves working with a celebrity client?
MS: The most important thing is to remember that they are people first and foremost. They put their pants on one leg at a time just like the rest of us. Certainly discretion is paramount. They don’t want to be hassled for autographs and they don’t want to waste time looking at random properties. I really try to preview many of the buy options. Conversely, on the sell side, I try to be respectful of their private time and provide a level of service they don’t expect. I make myself available and give them the same respect I would any of my clients. I don’t ask a lot of questions about their gig or personal life until they offer up some information. Mainly, it’s about respecting their time.
CA: Any fringe benefits or unusual stories?
MS: I had one client who was so used to being chauffeured around that he always insisted on driving my car when we went on showings. Otherwise he said he would never get a chance to drive.
Matt Silver is a broker associate with @properties in Evanston. He can be reached at 847.763.0200.