Moving and shaking in the real estate world was written in the stars for Matthew Breitenbach from a young age. After working with his mother on catering to celebrity and high net-worth clientele, Breitenbach has struck out on his own under Compass, where he’s quickly become the go-to source for bold-faced names to list their luxurious homes. Here, the man himself looks back on how he got his start, which recognizable names he has worked with over the years, and what he has up his sleeve this year.
You have a unique focus on “Celebrity & Luxury Real Estate.” What does that title entail?
The title entails that I consider myself a real estate wealth advisor and not just a salesperson. I feel that is the reason I work with the type of clientele I do and have continually been blessed to be among the top one percent of the brokers in the Hamptons.
I take what I do very seriously and, to me, it has always been much more than trying to sell somebody something. An advisor operates with honesty and integrity. A salesperson is working for the deal and the commission.
How did you gravitate toward this niche? Was there anyone who guided you?
Yes. Two people. Number one, obviously, my mother. She is the best broker I have ever seen operate. I learned more than I could ever put into words from her. Because I broke into the business working under her, I immediately was dealing with extremely high net worth individuals and celebrities.
We closed some great deals together. My favorite was Russell Simmons. I brought the buyer and we worked the seller together even though she originally started talking with Russell first.
The second was Ben Moss. Ben is the director of the east coast for Compass Sports & Entertainment. He sent me one of my first athletes in 2009 and he has been an amazing friend, and now colleague, for years.
Ben works with some of the best athletes and celebrities in the country, year in and year out, and it is always a pleasure talking real estate with him.
How much does a home’s previous owner affect a sale?
It can affect the home in a positive manner, but can depend on the market as well as other factors, such as the location, house, style, etc. The best case-study for this is Jason Kidd’s house, the NBA Hall of Famer.
Jason bought the house in 2013 for $5M. I really helped get him a great price on it. Then we sold it in a bidding war two years later for $7.2M, with an approximately $2M profit.
He had his jerseys all framed in the lower level and it just became known as his house. In this case, Jason’s celebrity athlete status definitely positively affected the sale price.
What does it take to build an East End luxury home? Are there any non-starter components in your opinion?
You need to assemble a “team.” As a real estate advisor, I love helping my clients build a team to help build their dream home and then, at the same time, finding them a major piece of property to go with it. This team usually consists of a zoning attorney, architect, builder, and broker.
You recently made a transition to the Compass team. What drew you to the brokerage?
Mainly the entrepreneurial spirit of the company. Compass truly embraces the idea that real estate agents are CEOs and these agents really run their own company and have a brand that is truly their own within the brokerage they work.
I saw an opportunity to not only build my own business, but help Compass grow and expand. I feel like I am part of something very special here. It is hard to contain my excitement.
How have your sales tactics changed throughout the course of your career?
I have learned to listen more. Learning to listen to what the client or person at the other side of the negotiation table is saying is essential to success not only in real estate, but in life.
You can’t always sell someone on your perspective. You need to listen and learn why someone feels the way they do in order to best handle any situation.
You have a real knack for social media marketing on your properties. Is this part of your marketing pitch for your prospects?
I love social media and it is a major part of my pitch for prospects. I focus mainly on digital marketing in general — from strong SEO, SEM, and digital ad campaigns to social media posting and sponsored boosting.
I am a big believer in digital content, such as video. I have a videographer on retainer and we create monthly content to use on all social media forums — from Instagram to YouTube and Vimeo.
Congratulations on your second child! How do you balance your growing family and a successful real estate team?
I have a beautiful wife and two babies under the age of two! It is not easy. I have really learned to squeeze time. I hate when people say, “I never have the time.” You can find time for anything; you just have to find the passion and commitment to get done what needs to get done.
I work on four hours of sleep some days, and after the kids go the bed, my team usually expects a barrage of emails from 9 PM to as late as 1 AM — and I am up at 5 AM. I feel blessed to say I love my family and I love what I do for a living. Not many people can say that.
What’s your elevator pitch to potential prospect calling you to represent his compound on the East End?
The Hamptons are changing, and so is the world. You want to work with a broker that is connected to and knows how the new money that is populating the Hamptons buys and sells real estate.
You also want to work with a broker that is part of a company that is built for the present and the future, such as Compass.
Gone are the days of just listing a property and doing an open house or two, some print advertisements, and waiting for some other broker to sell it.
Any advice to real estate rookies?
One: get under the mentorship of a good veteran broker or join a solid team. Two: pick up the phone and just make calls and prospect for at least two hours a day, every day. I tell the young bulls on my team, “You need to build a book and a network.”
What are some of your favorite places to relax in the Hamptons?
Either sitting on my front porch having a drink and cigar with my wife after a long day, or out on the golf course. I am a member of Southampton Golf Club and I love playing when I find a few hours here and there to get out.
Anything you’re really excited about in regards to the upcoming 2018 season?
Just excited for another Hamptons summer. As a real estate agent in the Hamptons, they can be exhausting, but there is always an excitement and tingle every time Memorial Day rolls around. It is like being on a sports team and waiting for the playoffs to start. Of course, also excited about Compass and this company as well.
Expect more big things from us over the next year.