Talking Real Estate with
Paul Massey Editor’s Note: Paul Massey and I went to high school together in Boston a long time ago. At the Roxbury Latin School, we learned Greek, Latin, and that high school could be significantly more difficult than college. We both managed to graduate, and at 28, Paul and his friend Bob Knakal started their eponymous brokerage firm, Massey Knakal. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, Massey Knakal is the number one firm in NYC for building sales. I sat down with Paul for a few minutes to reminisce and talk NYC real estate.
Ken: You have a lot of loyalty to our high school. Why?
type of game. That’s why I am attracted to these three sports. By
Paul: When I was in 6th grade, my teacher called my mother
the way, I was also a marathon runner, so it’s not all about contact
and pointed out to her that if I went to the local high school, I
would either hang out with the bright kids (because I had some
K: Why real estate?
aptitude), or I would hang out with the troublemakers. She was
P: I lucked into the real estate business. Through my fraternity
pretty sure which one of those alternatives it was going to be, so
at Colgate, I met an alum whose responsibility it was to come
she suggested to my mom that I apply to Roxbury Latin, instead.
around a few times each year to make sure we didn’t burn the
The school purposely chose two to three kids from each of its
house down. He is a major guy at CB Richard Ellis.
surrounding towns in order to create a diverse student body and
K: How did you get started?
encourage us to lose our biases fast. It was also a small school, so
P: As I was graduating, I went to the Boston office where I had
everyone had to do everything. I was involved in sports, glee club,
interned at CB for the summer and asked him for a job. I was told
theater, etc. Roxbury Latin did a great job of teaching me how
that they only had one opening, and that experienced sales people
to work with a lot of different types of people, which prepared
were applying for that position; I had been a nice kid for the sum-
me for my career in New York City. I loved it, even though I am
mer, but there was no way they were going to roll the dice on me.
pretty sure I graduated number 38 out of a class of 39.
My boss said, “Sorry no way.” The good news, I was told, was that
K: You were a high school wrestling champ, then a martial arts
they were just opening their NYC office and, “They would take
guy, now a boxer…are you working out some aggression? Does
anyone down there.” So, I came to the City.
that help in negotiations?
K: What are the traits that make a great broker?
P: No, it’s not about aggression. Those are three sports that
P: A great broker is a highly disciplined pipeline manager. He
provide a fantastic cardio workout. I have always loved playing
needs to generate business, secure business, execute business, and
a sport as opposed to just going to the gym. I don’t know how
close business. And in a lot of cases, he needs to do that 30 to 40
people put themselves through a workout without it being some
times a year. That requires a huge dose of focus and discipline.
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