Celebrating their 2 year wedding anniversary, The G Life caught up with the dynamic duo and top real estate brokers recently. Sharing tips on how they make their relationship and partnership prosper. Here’s our exclusive Q&A with our Favorite internationally renowned Luxury market power couple, Tom & Mickey.
Q. Where are you from and what attracted you to New York? And, what attracted you to real estate?
Tom: I grew up in Ozone Park, Queens, but moved to Long Island with my family as a teenager. When I was 14 years old, my parents took me to see my hero, Frank Sinatra, at Carnegie Hall. That sealed the deal on my love affair with the greatest city in the world.
Mickey: I was raised on Long Island, too, but even from an early age I knew I would wind up living and working in New York. I can’t imagine living anyplace else.
Tom: As for getting into real estate, after touring the world as a singer in my past life, I grew weary of packing and unpacking, living gig to gig. I was at a point in my life where I wanted to put down roots, and a friend in the business suggested that I get my real estate license. When I asked him if New York really needed another real estate broker, he replied that there’s always room for a good one. The rest is history!
Mickey: I grew up in a real estate family, so it was always in my blood. In my freshman year in college, I was considering a summer job and my mom suggested that I get my real estate license. I did, and found a fabulous broker who specialized in historic properties to sponsor me. Along the way I explored other pursuits, but real estate had a magnetic pull on me. It was meant to be.
Q. Tell us about your business partnership.
Tom: We are partners in real estate and real life, but we did our due diligence before teaming up. We talked to a bunch of couples who worked together and we made a pact that our relationship would always come first.
Mickey: In our case, we were very fortunate, instead of taxing our relationship, it made us stronger. The synergy made our business explode, and even added balance to our personal life.
Q. What would you say is your expertise or specialty in the real estate industry?
Tom: Aside from knowing every neighborhood and predicting market trends, one of the things we pride ourselves on is how we always work diligently to make sure that our clients are not experiencing any of the stress that may sometimes come with a real estate transaction.
Mickey: We’re constantly reinventing the way we do business to get ahead of the curve. We’d like to think that we’re not only revolutionizing the experience for our clients, but also setting trends for the industry as a whole.
Tom: And, drawing from our show business backgrounds, each listing gets the complete dramatic treatment of script, choreography, lighting and design to attract buyers. A lot of people approach this business systematically. We focus our energy on determining how each unique story will be told.
Mickey: Real estate, especially in New York City, is a lifestyle-driven commodity. We can delve deeper than square feet or a list of pricey finishes to deliver exactly what the consumer is looking for, which is the fantasy around what it might be like to live in any one of these beautiful properties.
Q: How did you celebrate your wedding anniversary?
Mickey: It seems most couples use their anniversary as an excuse to go out, but we used ours as an excuse to stay in. A scheduled night off? Yes, please!
Tom: We have pretty hectic business and social calendars, so unwinding at home is a rare treat. Plus, my husband is very good at making things beautiful, so I knew it would be a special evening.
Mickey: He’s very kind. Puttering around the kitchen is one of my greatest delights, so I concocted a menu that was simple, but festive. And since our apartment is kind of the design equivalent of a Cole Porter lyric, I thought it would be fun if the bill of fare included something we might have enjoyed at El Morocco or the Stork Club, circa 1932.
Tom: And the chef didn’t disappoint. We started with champagne and caviar — with homemade blinis, no less.
Mickey: The blinis were a happy accident. I forgot to buy them, so I had to make them. Very easy! No muss, no fuss.
Tom: That was followed by Lobster Thermidor by the light of — I can’t even begin to count how many candles.
Mickey: Lots and lots of candles. We’re very big on candles. They can turn ordinary evenings into extraordinary evenings.
Tom: And hours of conversation about anything and everything, except work.
Mickey: That was a rule. And a lesson. Leaving work at the door helped us to preserve the fantasy of the evening, and it’s something we need to be more conscious of on a regular basis.
Q: Where do couples go wrong when trying to buy a home together?
Mickey: Whether we’re working with a client with a budget of $1 million or $100 million, we always caution that they’re not going to get everything on their wish list. At any budget, there is usually some type of compromise. And a failure to recognize that can tax even the best of relationships.
Tom: Shopping for a home is a very collaborative effort, and while our clients may not always agree on exactly what it is that they want, we’re there to listen carefully and guide them to the best option for their specific needs, even if that means telling them to go back to the drawing board.
Mickey: The further along we get with a client in their search process, the more they can organically determine what’s really most important to them. If they can’t, we stage an intervention!
Q: What is the most unusual request you’ve gotten from a client that you’re at liberty to share?
Tom: This is not so much unusual as it is unique and purely romantic! We were helping a young couple to buy their first home together in a new development condo here in New York. Immediately upon entering contract, the young man came to us to set up plans to propose to his future wife on Valentine’s Day in the living room of what would soon be their first home together.
Mickey: Tom is a Valentine baby, so you could practically hear the zing in the strings of his heart. Now, keep in mind, at the time of this romantic get together the building was a raw construction site, but we helped the client with his secret plan to set up a blanket on the floor of what would someday be their living room. Of course, champagne flowed like a river, and roses and chocolate-covered strawberries were in abundant supply.
Tom: As the bride-to-be arrived, the dusty hallways were transformed with rose petals, and she was completely blown away by the surprise overture. Of course, she said yes to his romantic proposal, and they’re now living happily ever after!
Q. Do you have a plan or formula set to ensure and continue your growth as partners?
Tom: It’s all for one, and one for all. We try to always focus on the greater good. And, you must be equal partners!
Mickey: Maintaining a separation of home life and work life is the probably the most difficult thing about working together. We always try to be mindful of that, but even when we are at home cooking dinner, we somehow wind up talking about whatever may be going on with our clients.
Q: Any advice on building your dream home?
Tom: Don’t do it!
Mickey: We bought a property on the North Shore of Long Island over five years ago, and we’re only now in the final stages of construction. Had we known then what we know now, we probably wouldn’t have embarked on this epic journey. But we would have missed out on a lot, too. The project has become something far more extraordinary than we’d ever dreamed, and as a dear friend reminded us, “a labor of love pays dividends.”
Tom: That much is true. This is a place we can escape to. A place to add punctuation to life.
Mickey: That said, if you defy our warning and decide to build a house, watch “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House” or “The Money Pit” and know that these are cautionary tales, not mere comedy.
Photography: Andrew Werner