The transition from punk rock to real estate isn’t your usual connect-the-dots career change. But Michael Jordan Sadis, a former bassist turned real estate broker, says the music and real estate industries have more in common than one would imagine.
“I always like to think back on my music days and apply that to my real estate career,” he told the Journal during an interview from his new office space in Northport Village, inside the carriage house tucked just behind Rockin’ Fish on Main Street.
Michael reminisces fondly about his past life as a full-time bassist, about getting to know people in different cities while touring with his band, sharing conversations with everyone from fans to the sound technicians – small interactions that left a big impression on him.
“There are a lot of similarities between music and real estate,” Michael said, emphasizing the roles networking and personal connections play on the road – and when selling homes. Perhaps the most important aspect of both industries is a need for synergy: connecting with other agents (or musicians), learning from each other and creating a positive, inviting culture.
Today, he and his team represent the SERHANT. brokerage for the Long Island community. The team’s home is at 155 Main Street, a two-story brick building with an outdoor patio, hanging lantern and plenty of natural lighting. It is a unique space representative of the culture Michael continues to nurture as team manager.
“I think what a lot of people forget when they get into real estate is… they forget about where they come from and their background and what made them them. They forget who they are and take on this new personality and persona.”
Not Michael. If anything, he infuses the most genuine parts of himself into the space, and uses insights he's gained from being a musician to further his success as a real estate broker.
Walk into the part of the carriage house his team occupies and you’ll notice bright and modern seating, pop art (Andy Warhol-style imagery of Ol’ Dirty Bastard, to be specific), and a sleek front counter with vibrant blue signage behind it. Upstairs is a minimalist working area, with computer desks lining the room’s perimeter and a round meeting table where Michael makes himself at home. During our first visit, Beastie Boys music played in the background, setting the tone for a casual but lively conversation. When describing the similarities between the music and real estate industries, Michael likes to quote one of his favorite bands, punk rock mainstay NOFX.
New to the Village, Michael welcomes visitors with a big smile and friendly handshake. He’s often dressed in designer streetwear, and presents a laid back but fresh approach to the industry, a vibe that extends beyond his decor and fashion choices.
Michael came out of high school as a bassist in a band called The Rivalry; years later he and his band NK signed with the independent label Triple Crown Records and went on tour. The band opened for Fallout Boy and performed their last show at Huntington’s The Paramount in 2013, before they broke up. After that, Michael took what he learned and loved, and transitioned to a new (but to him, similar) field, real estate.
A few sessions on the couch watching Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing New York, featuring breakthrough real estate broker Ryan Serhant, provided some inspiration. For Michael, real estate became both a chance to hone in on his skills, and change his life. He began pursuing a future in the industry while working a job in music merchandising, and never looked back.
“I knew what I wanted to do, and I knew that I wanted to get out of my 9-5 job and work in real estate. I just saw a greater potential,” he said. “I saw a void in the industry, in my opinion. Real estate wasn’t content driven at the time,” said Michael, with social media constantly evolving yet underutilized. “I saw an angle for myself to kind of get in and do things just a little bit different. Or just be a little bit different.”
Real estate provided an opportunity for Michael to continue something he loved, and do it in a fresh and inspiring way. “I just loved the idea of networking. To me, that was the exciting part, just meeting new people, not knowing where your next business was going to come from, just going out there and getting it. I just loved the idea of it being on me,” he said.
Michael has learned that just like being a band member, in real estate there is a need for effective listening and timing and, of course, intriguing and unique content.
It’s these characteristics that Michael says separate his team from standard practices in real estate. Michael has been in the industry for seven years and in that span, has sold close to $200 million worth of real estate. He worked at three different brokerages prior to putting together his own team to represent the SERHANT. firm, which aims to revolutionize the traditional real estate model with in-house production and branding teams that provide creative platforms and original and engaging content.
“SERHANT. is all about education, which is really cool,” Michael explained. “That’s one of my favorite parts about the brokerage, the fact that they are not only an innovative company, but they’re also very forward thinking when it comes to the agent-first mentality, and also the education that’s put behind that.” A few years back, Michael joined the broker course that Ryan Serhant offered, which allowed him to network with like-minded agents in the business, including Ryan himself. Over time, the two cultivated a relationship and began referring one another for deals in New York City and Long Island.
“I’m relentless to a certain extent,” Michael said. “If I want to meet somebody, I’m just going to go out there and introduce myself.” When Ryan opened his first brokerage house, Michael initiated the back-and-forth dialogue that eventually led him to representing the firm on Long Island.
Now Michael uses the inspiration he finds in music, film, fashion and photography to be the content-driven brokerage Ryan so successfully utilizes in his own business model. When representing a home, Michael and his team showcase not only the standard images one might expect from a listing, but also lifestyle shots – photographs that capture lighting, ambiance, the little moments that give a home its own distinct personality.
“Ryan has started a new vertical in some way,” Michael said. “He describes it as ‘content to commerce’ and I think that’s brilliant.” Heavy emphasis on production ensures that when homes are listed, they are being featured with the best photography, videography, copywriting and marketing.
It’s that collaboration of creativity and character that make the MJS team special too, said Michael. His team is his band, all bringing a different skill set to the table.
Michael hopes to continue collaborating and creating an environment that allows in-house and agent-to-agent support, no matter what firm they represent. “One of the things that I’m really trying to accomplish here is to create an office culture of just something that’s a little bit different to real estate,” he explained. “I’m really trying to tackle this, not from the mindset of an associate broker, or a manager, but as somebody who’s actually in the business and taking all of the things that I learned from the last brokerages I was at – what I loved about them, liked about them, and hated about them – to mold an environment where the agents are there to support each other.”
He wants the office to be an open space for all agents to connect, enjoy a new setting and work deals in unison. “Let’s all hang out because we’ll talk and you never know where a conversation can lead,” he said. Michael has always sought out that camaraderie, in music and real estate, and is confident that in Northport, this togetherness can come to life.
Michael says his acquiring of the old carriage house as office space was serendipitous. He had admired the building – built in 1903 by plumbing business owner William Wild and since used as a haberdashery, clothing store, and most recently, Haven Gallery – from afar for quite some time.
He and his wife Jen lived in an apartment above Organically Yours on Main Street earlier on in their relationship. Since then, the couple has had an itch to find a home in the area. Their vision became a reality last summer, when they purchased a home in the Village. Within the year, Michael was opening his office just one block away.
“We were craving a community, we were craving a walkable downtown and something to stimulate you on a daily basis. When you take a step back and really analyze what we have here, the history that comes with it, it’s pretty freaking awesome. It still gets me excited – I love living in the Village. And to me, opening up this office was a no-brainer.”
So what’s next for Michael and the team? A private launch party is being planned for June, and a new website for the Michael Jordan Sadis team was recently completed; you can read Michael’s first blog entry entitled “In Defense of Reality TV” here.
Michael welcomes conversation with the community, and looks forward to collaborating with other business owners and new friends in the future. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.