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Hustle with Muscle

03/01/2013, By

 March 2013

Hustle with muscle

Real estate pros look for thrills (fox hunting anyone?) beyond making deals

March 01, 2013 
By Hiten Samtani

The first time real estate agent Anita Zander went fox hunting, she ended up in the hospital with three broken ribs. But that didn’t slow her down. Zander, who works for Houlihan Lawrence in Westchester, found herself addicted to the daredevil sport, especially jumping over stone walls on horseback.

In fact, Zander said the thrill of the hunt reminds her of real estate. Racing after a fox on horseback, she said, “is like chasing a deal.”

Zander isn’t the only real estate professional to be drawn to high-octane sports, which in some ways mirror the hyper-competitive New York market, brokers said.

Bond New York broker Sebastien Lindenmayer, for example, is an ice-climbing enthusiast who regularly practices his skills at the Catskills’ ominously named Devil’s Kitchen. The risky sport, he explained, involves using an axe to carve a path up a frozen mountain face. “The ice can be very thin,” he said — one wrong move, and “you’re going to fall to the ground.”

Lindenmayer said ice climbing has helped him break down complex problems into series of logical steps, a skill that also helps him navigate the labyrinthine world of real estate. Plus, much like in real estate, “You have to want it,” he said.

Another adrenaline junkie is Michael Kaufman, a partner at the Kaufman Organization, the Manhattan-based real estate firm and property owner. Kaufman owns and races sports cars, competing on the International Hot Rod Association’s pro-modified circuit. He also did a stint on a professional drag racing team as a member of the pit crew.

Kaufman said working in the pit, especially, reminds him of real estate. “You’re working on the clutch,” he said. “At the same time, someone else is working on the engine, changing the valve spring, rejetting the carburetors. … It’s like being a broker and representing tenants. Leases expire, you’re running against the clock, tenants have needs.”

And Kaufman said he’s developed valuable business relationships through the sport.  For example, drag racing champion Frank Aragona is president of Emanon Electric, “a very respected electrical contractor in New York City,” he said.

Zander, too, said fox hunting has been the conduit for lucrative business relationships. “It’s a close-knit group, internationally,” she said. “I sold a horse farm to a client who saw on my profile on the Internet that I fox hunt. She was looking for a really experienced realtor who knew horses.”

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