To the house: Former Syracuse kicker Altman tackles real estate, stars in Bravo TV show

In the gated community of Beverly Park, Calif., lies a luxurious 10,000-square-foot one-bedroom house, the likes of which are only seen in movies. It has a tennis court and swimming pool, guesthouses and a gym designed by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

And thanks to former Syracuse kicker Josh Altman, it sold for $20.1 million. The most expensive one-bedroom to be sold in the world, he said.

But for the SU alumnus, his successful career in real estate happened by mistake. Altman, who is one of the stars of Bravo TV’s “Million Dollar Listing” and runs The Altman Brothers real estate agency with his brother, credits his success to the hardworking mentality he learned on the football field.

Raised in Newton, Mass., Altman grew up as a soccer player. He eventually made the switch to football when realizing it would be more beneficial to get into college as a kicker. He looked at schools including Miami (Fla.), Arizona and Virginia before settling on Syracuse.

“I ended up at Syracuse because it had the best balance between education and a football program,” he said. Altman was a student in the College of Visual and Performing Arts and majored in speech communications.

Altman was the kicker from 1997-99 and was on the same team as Donovan McNabb. His team won the Big East Championship two years in a row, and played in both the Orange and Fiesta Bowls.

When he graduated in 2001, Josh set his sights on making it in the entertainment industry in California. He started working in the mailroom for a talent agency, where his older brother Matthew worked.

But this wasn’t enough for either brother, and they were eventually inspired by one of their roommates who was flipping houses as a side job.

“Our other roommate was making so much money even though we were working so much harder,” Matthew Altman said. “So Josh and I decided to get into (flipping houses). It was in 2006, when anyone could do it. And it was a great way to make money.”

When the brothers realized they were making more money flipping homes than at the talent agency, Matthew Altman said, they made the decision to get into real estate fully.

About eight years later, the brothers now run one of the most successful agencies in the country.

The brothers have done everything in the real estate industry from mortgages to flipping houses. Now, the agency also represents clients, who range from entertainers to professional athletes and high net worth individuals, Josh Altman said.

In the last year, The Altman Brothers saw a 330 percent increase in sales, and  have sold $200 million in residential real estate.  On average, they produce about $200 million of sales per year and have sold a half billion in residential real estate in LA.

The best part about his job, Altman said, is that every day is a new experience.

“You never know what your schedule is going to be. It’s not an office job, it’s not a cubicle job,” he said. “I do showings sometimes at 10:30 at night and I make deals in Saudi Arabia at 4 in the morning.”

For the past three years, Altman has been a part of Bravo TV’s “Million Dollar Listing.” The reality show follows the lives of three Los Angeles real estate agents, as they sell multi-million dollar properties in exclusive areas such as Hollywood, Malibu and Beverly Hills.

Matthew Altman said his connections in the entertainment industry led to his brother being featured on the show. Kim Kardashian, who was one of his clients, helped his brother get into the reality show business.

“She kind of led the way and she’s been really instrumental,” Matthew Altman said. “It was very surprising, but definitely fun.”

His brother said the show has helped business, but added that there are also downsides to being viewed by millions on TV.

“It’s been great for the business, as most people tell you that any type of marketing in real estate or advertising is good,” Josh Altman said. “You take the good with the bad. It’s not the greatest thing in the world that they follow me around in their personal life but they show me closing deals in over 85 countries around the world.”

But many fans of the show, Matthew Altman said, think his brother’s success happens overnight.

“It’s not,” Altman said. “It’s every single night and every single day of work.”

Nathan Trout, the former starting kicker for the Orange from 1996-99 and teammate of Josh Altman, said he wasn’t surprised by Altman’s success in the real estate industry.

In practice, Trout said, Altman was always a hard worker. He showed up every day, and was “just a fun guy to be around.”

Altman always had refined people skills, which Trout said he thinks contributed to his success.

“He got along with everyone on the team, and all different types of people,” he said. “And in sales and in real estate, that’s just really important.”

Altman said the lessons he learned at Syracuse and on the football team have helped him in real estate and helped grow his company.

“On the football field, and like anything in life, if you want to be successful, you’ve got to work hard at it. Nothing is going to fall in your lap,” Altman said. “You’ve got to go out and be aggressive. And you’ve got to go take. And that’s exactly what I did. I didn’t wait for anyone to hand it to me.”

The competition while he was on the football team, Altman said, also taught him how to make it in the competitive world of business.

In the next 10 years, Altman said he hopes to grow his company and eventually get into development, whether it be building properties or apartments.

But with all of his success, Altman is still waiting for the day he sells property to an old college friend.

“No, I’ve never sold property to Donovan,” laughs Altman. “But, hey — if he ever moves out to L.A., he knows who to call.”


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