This week we sat down with veteran Mirador agent Paul Magyar to discuss his real estate experience, his love for the water, and his dog Sherman.
How long have you been in NYC real estate, and how many years have you been with Mirador?
I’ve been in real estate since 2003. I got my start in Chicago, and in 2010 I moved to New York. When I interviewed with Karla Saladino, Mirador’s managing partner, I immediately felt like we connected on our work ethics and life philosophies, which is why I’ve been with Karla and Mirador ever since.
What did you do before real estate?
While I studied at the Savannah College of Art and Design, I was a tour guide and drove a horse and carriage. It was a fantastic five years. After graduating, I had no idea what I was going to do. While home for the holidays in Massachusetts, I visited my alma mater, Wilbraham & Monson Academy. Two weeks later I was doing a full-time unpaid internship in their art department, and by the end of the school year I was offered a full time teaching gig. For 12 years, I taught art history and fine art, and I coached wrestling, lacrosse, and sailing. I also ran a dormitory of 65 students, first at Wilbraham & Monson and then at The Bolles School down in Jacksonville, Florida. It was a 24/7 kind of job, but I loved every minute of it. When I was ready for a change, I left the beaches of Jacksonville to go to Chicago to do insurance sales.
How did you get into real estate?
While I was doing insurance sales, I met up with a friend who told me about his new job in real estate. Insurance was not really for me, and he suggested I interview with his company, Chicago Apartment Finders. They didn’t have any need for more agents because the busy rental season was just about over, so they hired me to answer phones until things picked back up. Within a few months, they hired me to be a full-time agent and I loved it. I drove people around and told them how great it was to live in Chicago. I soon became the highest grossing agent in the company. By the time I left Chicago, I was the #4 grossing agent in the entire city.
What is a fun fact about yourself?
I’ve moved 14 times in 16 years. Right now, I split my time between NYC and Las Vegas, where I have a second home. I share both with my amazing wife, Dawn, and our cute dog with a huge personality, Sherman.
What are some of your side hobbies?
I love riding my Vespa around the city; the feeling of freedom is amazing! Eventually, I’d like to buy a Triumph and ride it cross country to my home in Las Vegas. I also ran my first and only marathon in San Diego in just over 4 hours. And I love just about any activity that’s on or in the water. I’m happiest on the ocean.
Where is your favorite place you’ve traveled?
Sayulita, Mexico! The vibe there is the exact opposite of the fast-paced life in New York. It’s relaxing, beautiful, everything is affordable, and the people are extremely friendly.
Where are some of your favorite places in NYC?
We sometimes forget that Manhattan is an island and we’re surrounded by water. I love that. I can’t get enough of the water views. I could ride up and down the FDR and West Side Highway, and across the Manhattan Bridge all day long just for the views.
Biggest inspirations in your life?
I would say my wife, Dawn. My dad and various wrestling coaches have also left a huge impact on my work ethic. They taught me to work hard through long hours, and that’s what I bring with me into the real estate world.
What’s the craziest thing that happened in your real estate career?
In Chicago a client tried to bribe me to let him rent an apartment without providing any required documents. Somehow the owner of the apartment got into contact directly with the client and let him live there without a lease. Of course, the client stopped paying rent right after he moved in so the building had to evict both the owner and the client! I was never so glad to get cut out of a deal.
What do you think makes you unique as a real estate agent?
I have never looked at real estate as sales. I see it as a service where I’m educating people about apartments and helping them find their perfect place to live. I always try to constantly communicate with clients about what’s going on, while also being genuine and honest.
What advice would you give new renters and buyers in NYC?
Don’t go it alone! Use a broker or agent, but try not to work with a ton at once. Find the one you trust and stick with that person. The reality is that all agents have access to the same inventory so it’s about finding one who will work hard on your behalf. My number one goal is to always put someone in the absolute best apartment for what they’re looking for.
What’s your favorite neighborhood?
That’s a tough one since NYC is so diverse, but I think my favorite neighborhood is the East Village. It still retains some old New York character, and there’s so much culture and history. It’s amazing to walk the same streets that some of my favorite artists and musicians did when they were younger. I enjoy taking Sherman to the dog park in Tompkins Square, probably more than he does! You can also find me running along the East River pretty often.
What’s your favorite building?
My favorite historic building is Grand Central Station. I have fond memories of visiting there when I was first in New York during a college trip. Back then, the ceiling was still being renovated, so it’s crazy to see how beautiful it is now. I also love the Diego Rivera murals at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
As for my favorite residential building, I have to say True North Union Square. Everything about that building is perfect - the fixtures, aesthetics, minimal yet high-end finishes, even the letters on the apartment doors. The feel you get the second you walk in is amazing. I also really like 2 Water because I am a sucker for waterfront views.
Your dream home must have ___?
Direct access to the water and a boat dock!