Agent Snapshot: Michael Pushkin, Agent, Neuhaus Realty Group, Inner/West Loop


Mike Pushkin is an agent with Neuhaus Realty in Houston's Inner/West Loop.

What was your first job in the realty industry?
I worked at a small, six-person real estate firm that focused entirely on leasing inside the Loop. Most people out there looking don’t realize that Realtors can actually help them find residential leases and even apartment communities. I had actually used that company to find a town home to rent and ultimately got my real estate license because I enjoyed the whole experience of searching for properties. 

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Spring Valley. A small little city of it’s own in the Spring Branch/Memorial area.

What is your favorite free-time activity?
I love keeping myself busy! In my free time, I run an online retail company with friends, called MustacheStuff.com. I also have an app for Android phones that will be useful to the real estate industry. The app is called Mvite and will allow agents to personalize mass text messages, very much like Mail Merge for email.

What do you do to relax when you’re stressed?
I’ve been fairly successful in not letting the small stuff get to me. But when a short sale I’ve been working on for two months is in danger of falling apart…I take a break, sit on the couch and watch a little TV with my dog, Dr. Scientist. She’s very important to me and simply spending time with her can calm me down.

Growing up, what did you want to be?
I wanted to be a rock star, of course! My broker and I actually went to high school together. We both wanted to work in the entertainment industry. After high school, he went off and worked in live music lighting and sound design. I went off to work in radio. I started there in hopes to work my way into the record industry. As things sometimes go, our passions may not have panned out as we had originally planned. Years later, thanks to Facebook, we found that we were both in real estate. Not too long after, I left the company I was at to come work with Neuhaus Realty Group and I couldn’t be happier!

If you could have lunch with a well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why?
I’d like to meet with Nikola Tesla. He is credited with the first patent for wireless radio technology. I think that such an achieved inventor would like to see how his contributions have affected the world. It would be interesting to try to explain to him how radio technology has taken us from the age of voices through a radio to video conferencing from our cell phones and how we conduct business today.

Where is your favorite place to hang out?
You can usually find me hanging out in a beautiful little place in Montrose called Royal Oak.

What do you love most about the industry?
I love the freedom it provides. I work from home so I’m always available to my clients, and I don’t feel like I have to start or finish my day at a certain time. As long as I have a wifi signal (or my phone), I can do business from anywhere! I can be by the pool and in the office at the same time.

How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents?
I really am a unique person and that shines through in my personality. It’s something that my clients latch on to immediately. I’ve actually ended up becoming good friends with some of the clients I’ve had.

What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
Right now, the most difficult part of my job is dealing with the rental market. The leasing market has gotten out of control in the summer, these past two years. If it is a decent property, in a desirable area, at a good price, it’s gone by the time you show it to a client. I focus most of my energy and time on sales, these days, but I still get a lot of referral business from my time in leasing. It’s frustrating to be the first agent to show a property and have the first applicants on the property, only to get passed over because there were three other single applicants and the landlord didn’t want a couple. That is just one experience, but one of many similar experiences. Last summer, I had eight perfectly qualified lease clients that each got passed over three times before they were approved for a property!

Where do you go to network and meet new clients?
I have found a great amount of success using a combination of blogging and Facebook. My broker has a great site and a great blog. I find that simply reminding a large group of people, every so often, that you are a Realtor is quite effective. I have a lot of friends and acquaintances and my business is almost entirely referral.

What has been your greatest accomplishment?
I’d say that getting my real estate license might be my greatest accomplishment. That may sound like an easy task, but after my stint in radio, I spent a few years working at bars and music venues. My car was falling apart and I was sleeping on a mattress in my friends living room. I spent the next few months continuing to work and study. With a lot of encouragement from my friends and family, I passed the licensing exam and got to work! Within a few months, my living arrangement had drastically improved and I was driving my first luxury car!

What was the last good movie you saw or book you read?
Hands down, The Avengers! I was not excited to see it at first but my best friend dragged me to it and I’m certainly glad he did.

What is your favorite restaurant?
Royal Oak, Bar & Grill. Don’t let the name fool you; it may be a bar but it has a five-star menu. They have a large variety spanning from your standard bar food like nachos all the way up to a 28-day aged NY strip and truffle fries.

Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Houston?
Thats an extremely tough question!! I LOVE architecture. Not just architecture, but the stories that go along with the buildings. I think I have the most fondness for the style and detail of the earlier 20th century, but I really love modern architecture as well.

Fore example, take the Esperson Buildings, downtown. They have an interesting story including beauty, innovation and romance. The Niels Esperson building was commissioned by Mellie Esperson, Niels’ wife. Niels was an oil man that used his money to invest in real estate. He had amassed a huge fortune in both industries and dreamed of having his own building on Main Street. Unfortunately he died before realizing this dream, leaving his vast fortune to his wife, Mellie. In 1927, Mellie commissioned the Niels Esperson building as a memorial to her beloved husband. At its construction, the 32-story Niels Esperson Building was the tallest in Downtown. 14 years later, Mellie had the Mellie Esperson Building built next door. It was the first in Houston to have central air conditioning. It has been said that she had her building built so that they could be together even after death. It has also been noted that Mellie’s ghost walks the halls and lobbies after dark.

It’s not only the style, materials and the attention to detail that make me love early 20th century architecture but the stories that accompany it.

What kind of car do you drive?
I drive a 2012 Volkswagen CC. I filled up the tank yesterday and it said I had a 495 mile range; that’s a real estate car for you!

Smartphone or Paper?
I’m both. I use my smart phone for everything from email to maps. I personally love that text messaging has become an acceptable way to communicate with agents and clients. But I still have several notepads on my desk, and I always print out the listing sheets for appointments.

What is your favorite city after Houston?
Seattle. My great grandfather was one of the most successful prospectors in the Klondike Gold Rush. He was also a real estate man and owned several buildings and a hotel in downtown Seattle. I visited there last year to learn more about him and visit some of the buildings, and I absolutely loved it! Beautiful architecture and some of the nicest people. It’s also a big tech town and I’m a computer geek at heart.

In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the industry?
Find a good broker and soak up their advice.

What’s your favorite Real Estate iPhone/ Blackberry app?
I’m an Android guy…

Who are your favorite people to follow on Twitter?
As tech minded as I am, I still have not learned to adopt Twitter the way I should.

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