Star of Bravo reality series Million Dollar Listing New York Ryan Serhant, 31, was raised in Topsfield and attended the Pingree School before studying theater and English literature at Hamilton College. After graduating, he moved to New York to pursue a career in acting, and he landed the role of Evan Walsh on As the World Turns in 2007. He then got into the real estate business and now works for Nest Seekers International; his team came in at No. 1 in New York on REAL Trends’ 2015 national sales rankings. He recently played a hedge-fund manager in Noah Baumbach’s film While We’re Young, and he’s appeared in real estate segments on CNN, CNBC, Fox, NBC, ABC and CBS. He lives with his fiancee in Manhattan.
Ryan Serhant: Every single day. That’s why I’m sure to end every conversation by saying “Seacrest out.”
So is real estate really all about location, location, location? Yes, absolutely. There’s no question.
One trick to help a property sell quickly? Have it be beautiful. You’d be amazed by how many people try to sell a property when it looks gross.
One thing that adds value to a property that people don’t realize? White paint. I can’t say it enough.
Biggest mistake most sellers make? Not using Ryan Serhant as their broker.
How about buyers? Not using Ryan Serhant as their broker.
Most unreasonable request you’ve ever gotten from a client? It was filmed, actually, on our first season. It was to find the client an apartment for his wallaby. It is illegal to keep a wallaby as a pet in the city of New York.
Most ridiculous lengths you’ve ever gone to for a deal? Getting on an airplane to London to see a client and get them to sign something when they were on the fence.
Ever do a deal that you felt was a mistake afterward? No. Every deal I do is the greatest deal in the history of the world. You have to look at it that way.
Anything you regret doing in the line of duty? [Laughs.] I took my clothes off at an open house once to steal the thunder away from another broker.
What’s the most expensive property you’ve ever sold? $37 million. But I have a listing now for close to $49 million, so if that sells, I’ll be setting a new record for myself.
Is New York real estate just ridiculously overpriced? No. Parts of New York are overpriced, but on a worldwide level, New York is actually inexpensive.
Do you look at property while you’re on vacation? No. It’s like that classic episode of Friends where she meets a gynecologist, and he says, “You know, if you serve coffee for a living, the last thing you wanna do when you get home is look at another cup of coffee.”
What’s your favorite real estate porn? Architectural Digest.
Favorite real estate show beside your own? I don’t really have time to watch TV, so I really do only watch Million Dollar Listing.
Is the real estate business like show business? Yes. Very much so. The job of putting a deal together for an apartment is very similar to putting a movie together. You’re creating a project, lining up investors, bringing something to the market that you hope everybody’s going to want. And if it bombs, everyone is pissed off at the same time.
How much money would it take for you to do a porn movie with [Listing costar and former adult film star] Fredrik Eklund? No amount of money. Well, maybe one trillion dollars. [Laughs.]
Where is your ideal home? A penthouse apartment at the top of a skyscraper with 360-degree views of the city.
One thing anyone can do to make their place more marketable? Remove any and all clutter.
Has being on TV improved your business? Yes. Probably by 800 percent.
Best place to invest in real estate? The East Village.
Is the real estate business intrinsically sexy? Yes. Everybody at some point or some time is dealing with real estate, whether they’re buying, selling, renting, whatever, and that interplay is sexy. Everyone wants to know where everyone else lives.
Are looks important in your business? Not as important as knowledge. There are some very, very unattractive brokers who are very smart and knowledgeable about the market, and they do just fine.
Any more acting roles lined up after While We’re Young Yes. I did a guest spot on that show The Mysteries of Laura with Debra Messing. Then there are two other movies that I’m not allowed to discuss quite yet.
Is Noah Baumbach a genius? Yes. Without a doubt.
Best part of doing a soap opera? Being paid to be overly dramatic.
Worst? So much memorizing.
Best address in New York? Right now? 220 Central Park South.
Best address in Boston? I would say somewhere in the Back Bay area—the neighborhood is stunning, especially when the seasons are changing. The Back Bay is elegant, in a wonderful location, and it reminds me of New York’s Upper East Side.
Hottest amenity in real estate right now? A DJ room. Kids are getting into being DJs now the way we played video games as kids.
If you could sell any celebrity a home, who would it be and why? Taylor Swift and how could you even ask me why?! It’s T. Swift!
Fakest part of reality TV? The tears.