Together with his partner Devin Hugh Leahy, Ariel Sassoon has closed over $400 million in residential deals over the past several years, and in one recent week, Ariel sold $10 million dollars worth of real estate. That puts him and Devin in the top 2% of real estate brokers in the entire United States.
He is a natural conversationalist, which certainly helps him and his team. Ariel also has a unique advantage: he’s a real estate content creator genius. Ariel and his team create custom videos for many of their listings that help tell a story rather than simply highlight the amenities of the property, and they do so in an entertaining and informative style, using high-resolution, studio quality video. He has also made several videos in which he shares his tips on how to film listings.
Ariel and Devin have been featured in Forbes, The Real Deal and many other media outlets. (They even got former President Donald Trump to notice one of their articles.) While our conversation will certainly help people in real estate, his advice, especially on how to “influence” others, can help anyone in the business world.
My parents lived in Japan for a few years after they got married, but then they moved to Great Neck, which was an up-and-coming Jewish community at the time. That’s where I grew up.
“When my grandparents were kicked out of Cairo, my grandfather saw an opportunity in Japan, so he took it and ended up opening an export business. My father was born there and lived there until he was of college age and came to America.“My mother is a baalas teshuvah who helped instill a lot of spirituality in our home. My parents divorced when I was five years old, but they were able to remain cordial. I alternated weeks between my parents, and I even had my own guitar in each home.
“I went to North Shore Hebrew Academy for elementary school, but my mother wanted a higher level of Yiddishkeit, so I transferred to Yeshiva Har Torah in Queens. I spent some of my best years there and made many friends with whom I am still in touch. After attending HAFTR for high school, I went to learn at Reishit in Israel.
“I had some really great rebbeim there. Till today, I listen to Rav Eli Marcus’ weekly mussar shiur on Thursdays. I sort of regret that I didn’t take more advantage of my yeshivah years. I was recently discussing this with Rav Shlomo Farhi, who told me that ‘youth is wasted on the young.’
“I always wanted to do something on my own. I have a creative personality and I get bored easily, so I wanted to do something that would constantly pique my interest.
“As a kid, I did the usual selling lemonade and candy stands. But I was more interested in other hobbies.
Although I don’t play much today, I immersed myself in guitar for 12 years, even playing several small gigs. I like to develop skills. When I was learning how to shoot and edit videos for the real estate space, I immersed myself in that for a while.
“I got my first taste of the corporate business world at my sister’s wedding. My father had a friend who was the CEO of a Japanese investment bank, Mizuho Securities. The CEO asked to meet me, saying that he liked the way I ‘worked the room.’ I was 17, and he offered me an internship. I interned there for three summers.