Arbi and Tiffany Asadourian cut the celebratory red ribbon in front of their newly purchased and renovated building beside friends, family and public officials this past Monday evening. With the launch of their Northport real estate brokerage comes a chance to look back on how they got here and how far they’ve come.
The couple, before getting married, passed their real estate exams together and began selling apartments in New York City. Arbi’s father, who had been a broker since the 1980s, inspired him to get into real estate when he was ready to move on from his career at the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Coming out of college at Hofstra University, Arbi got a job as a production assistant on the show and worked his way up to field producer, where he wrote and produced field pieces that featured the now famous Stephen Colbert, Steve Carrell, Rob Corddry and Ed Helms.
“I loved my job and thought I would be there forever. Things changed when I met Tiffany and we wanted to get married. I needed a higher paying job and cable television was not cutting it,” Arbi told the Journal. Based on his father’s advice, Arbi changed the course of his career and within 30 days of becoming a broker, he and Tiffany got a million dollar listing on the Upper East Side. “Things snowballed from there as word spread about us and we started closing deal after deal in the area,” he said.
Arbi believes it’s his honesty and earned trust with clients that have allowed for his success so far. “I cut my teeth in Manhattan, competing with huge brokerages with enormous advertising budgets and support staff, yet month after month I closed deals because in the end, it's only a few intangible things you need in your corner: experience, a proven track record, and honesty,” he said.
He played devil's advocate with every client, Arbi explained, and wasn’t a sugar coater. If a deal didn’t feel right, whether the numbers didn't make sense or there were physical issues with the home, he’d recommend his clients walk away. But it was worth being honest, he realized, because people respect that trait and he’d always find them something better in the end.
Arbi credits the lessons he learned at his first job with the Daily Show for his brokerage style. It’s all about the “pitch,” in television and in real estate, it turns out. For the Daily Show, he had weekly pitch meetings filled with producers, colleagues, top executives and show creator Jon Stewart.
While the day-to-day work was filled with lighthearted meetings, shooting footage, writing jokes and even playing hacky sack with Steven Colbert in the hallways, the pitch meeting was a pressure cooker, Arbi said. “We had to pitch our ideas for field segments in a way that would keep everyone engaged and laughing, hoping they could envision what you did and hoping for the green light to start working on the segment for air.”
Arbi said the first dozen pitch meetings of his career went as expected – horribly. He was nervous and wavering. But over time, and with advice from colleagues, he learned to relax and tighten up the pitch… to sell it in a few sentences by grabbing their attention, cutting the fat and just being himself.
The skill of selling a story to a room of people transitioned well to real estate. “When I meet with a new client for the first time, I have to get them to envision what I see, how I work, how I can help and provide a better level of care and attention than any other broker,” Arbi said. While it’s important to engage with comps, facts, market news and all other variables of the industry, he explained, you have to do it in five minutes or less, just like a pitch meeting. Any more and you’ll run the risk of sounding long-winded, any less and you’ll be viewed as inept or less knowledgeable than other agents.
It’s been over 20 years since that first listing in Manhattan. Arbi and Tiffany, together with their three boys (and three dogs), have since settled down in Northport. During the pandemic, they sold many apartments in the city as more people moved out to the Long Island suburbs. When his clients asked him to help them find a home around here, he’d refer the business out to other agencies. Last winter, Tiffany noticed that 131 Scudder Avenue, a small building just a short walk from the harbor, was for sale. She suggested that they buy it and start selling properties on Long Island, and that’s exactly what they did. They closed on the Scudder location in February, gave it a “mini facelift,” as Arbi described, and got started carving out business in a new territory.
They created the RB Homes Realty logo in memory of Tiffany’s father, who passed away a few years ago; he had created their original logo when the pair started in the city. It was a skeleton key, but the teeth of the keys were skyscrapers and the tagline was “RB Homes Realty: Your Key to the City.” Abri said Tiffany’s dad was an amazing man and described him as the “coolest father-in-law anyone could have asked for.” He wore classic rock t-shirts, loved The Simpsons, and always had fun hanging out with his family.
When he died, it was devastating and extremely hard for Tiffany, who was very close to her father. She hoped for a sign, Arbi explained – anything that she could believe was him coming back to check on her – so she asked for a blue jay. “We kid you not, our yard was all of a sudden being visited by blue jays,” he said. While he only recalls seeing maybe one or two of the birds in previous years at their Northport home, the increase in sightings was remarkable. As an homage to Tiffany’s father, Abri thought the new branch office in Northport should have a new logo representing the blue jay.
RB Homes Realty is located at 131 Scudder Avenue in Northport Village. In addition to running their real estate brokerage from this location, Tiffany, an accomplished artist with work featured at the Huntington Art Council and Gallery and other locations, hosts art-related workshops for kids and adults in the space, which she calls Art Pop. For more information on the Northport branch of RB Home Realty, visit their website at https://www.rbhli.com.