A rookie player in need of privacy and a short commute time to their training facility. A recording artist taking into consideration the needs of their spouse, children, and parents in addition to their own. These are the types of transactions common within the exclusive sports and entertainment subdivision of real estate.
“At the end of the day, it comes down to the comfort that everybody is looking for in terms of a safe place to live,” Next Move Network CEO and Keller Williams Sports + Entertainment Global Director Jordan Stuart says. “When you have a client such as a professional athlete or an entertainer, you have to understand their lifestyle, the privacy and discretion that goes with that, and to treat the whole transaction a bit differently.”
Alongside KW Sports + Entertainment Chief Operating Officer Jason Ross, Stuart is leading the new KW division, a community that will help agents acquire, refine, and expand the skill set needed to succeed in the sports and entertainment branch of real estate, and provide valuable networking resources. “A sports and entertainment community is not just about servicing the clients, but also about connecting and communicating with other Keller Williams Realtors all over the world, that are all being purposeful in the same space,” Stuart shares. “There are thousands of Realtors within a stone’s throw of where I live. What’s differentiating me? It is not necessarily that I handle sports clients, but that I’ve shown that I can operate at a high level and I am going to be a trusted referral partner for all of these people.”
In honor of the newly launched division, Stuart and Ross share four important things to know for agents interested in dipping their toes into sports and entertainment real estate.
It’s not just about your individual client.
When you are working with someone in the sports and entertainment industry, the athlete or entertainer is only part of the equation. Whether they have parents that occasionally fly into town, or a spouse, children, or boyfriend or girlfriend that are constantly accompanying them, their entourage’s needs are just as important. “When selling to a sports player or someone in the music business, you will most likely also be dealing with their family,” shares Ross.
“You have to be in good standing with the parents, or the spouse and kids, so it is important to get to know them.” In his own work, Ross differentiates himself by being a trusted resource for clients, including an LA-based producer who records in a studio owned by Ross in Orlando. “We have many conversations of ‘Hey, where can my kids go? Where can I send my wife today while we’re recording?’”
You have to start small.
The sports and entertainment real estate industry is perfect for agents who are looking to break into luxury, but it’s important to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same goes for a successful business. “If you’re an agent, you’re not going to immediately jump into listing a $4M property,” says Stuart. “You need to put in the work, time, and effort, similar to the path of the athlete. They start by getting drafted to play in the minor leagues. They don’t make it to the major leagues overnight.”
Stuart and Ross recommend putting your initial energy into lower-level rental properties, and building out relationships with financial advisors that may initially start you off with their rookie clients. “If you do a good job, you will start working with top clients very quickly,” Stuart says. “If you want to go out and sell as many units as you can and make as much money as possible, this is probably not the right fit for you. If you want to go out and have really authentic relationships and build a business with a small circle of people that trust you and utilize you time after time, this is the space for you.”
Do your research.
When entering this branch of business, Stuart and Ross share, athletes may be more accessible than entertainers, as they are more likely to move and get introduced to new cities often. “You either want to make the connection with an athlete at the beginning of their career or at the end of their career,” Stuart says, as during their tenure, relationships may already be established. “You start by looking at the players that are coming into the area for the first time and trying to connect with them, either through a sports agent, a financial advisor, or social media.” Most of the information will be in the public domain, available to you via platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, with a little bit of research. Once you identify who the proper connection will be, there is no need to come off strong. “All it takes is introducing yourself as an expert within your market and making yourself available. Ask if your client needs assistance with getting a safe space to live,” says Stuart.
Work on your presence.
Those who will be accepted to join the KW Sports + Entertainment division will have access to top training, networking opportunities, and resources to transform into sports and entertainment real estate industry experts. But, there are some base criteria that can ensure success in the endeavor. “You have to be a good communicator, and you have to be careful about what kind of social media presence you have and how you present yourself publicly,” Ross shares.
Ultimately, sports and entertainment is a fantastic path for any agent looking to foster relationships with a luxe clientele. “For the average agent who may not have super high-end experience, this is a great opportunity,” says Ross. “You have to plant seeds and be ready to work. It’s not about the money. Both Jordan and I are successful because in the beginning, we did a lot of things just in the interest of building good relationships.”