1. Business Ideas
  2. Business Plans
  3. Startup Basics
  4. Startup Funding
  5. Franchising
  6. Success Stories
  7. Entrepreneurs
Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.
Start Your Business Success Stories

Selling and Living the Dream: Tips from Stars of 'Million Dollar Listing'

altman-brothers-real-estate Josh and Matt Altman of Hilton & Hyland and 'Million Dollar Listing' / Credit: EMC Bowery Public Relations

Ever dream about finding a way to do what you love for a living? In our "Do What You Love" column, we ask people who've done it to tell us their secrets. Here's hoping they inspire you to do the same.

Despite everything the economy and housing market have been through over the last several years, home ownership is still a major part of the American dream. Josh and Matt Altman, agents at Beverly Hills, Calif., brokerage firm Hilton & Hyland, help people achieve that dream by selling them the perfect home. The two brothers, who currently appear on the sixth season of Bravo's real estate series "Million Dollar Listing," have been in the industry for more than a decade and have loved every minute of it. Here's how they got into the business of "selling the dream" — and living out their own.

BusinessNewsDaily: Explain what you do for a living.

Josh Altman: We help people find their dream home and negotiate the best price possible for them.

BND: How did you end up doing this for a living?

Matt Altman: I was a talent agent at CAA [Creative Artists Agency] and always had a passion for real estate. My brother and I began flipping homes when we bought our first condo in 2002. We sold it six months later for a huge profit after only painting it and putting in better furniture. Before we knew it, we had done it about eight times. At a certain point, we decided it was time to follow our hearts. Most of our clients came from my entertainment background. Once we started showing clients how hard we work for them, they all told their friends, and our business grew.

BND: What was the crucial decision you made that led you to this place in life?

JA: After the market crashed and the country went into a recession, I had to leave my mortgage company behind and decide what my next step was going to be. Matt was getting tired of the talent business. It took a lot of soul-searching to finally realize that becoming agents was the natural best move for us.
MA: When we realized how much money our real estate agent was making on every deal we did with him, we figured it made sense to get our own license.

BND: The sixth season of "Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles" just premiered last month. What can fans expect, and how was it doing a show together as brothers?

JA: This season is going to be the best by far. Between the personal relationships, the drama and the hot Los Angeles market, it's the perfect storm of reality TV. Matt and I loved working together and are excited to show the world how we get it done and why we are the top agents in the country.
MA: You get to see how we work, fight, laugh and sweat. We are very fortunate to be able to work together. We have a lot of fun and try and make sure all the people that work for us feel like part of the family.

[The New American Dream: Fame and Fortune]

BND: What did you want to be when you grew up?

JA: We both wanted to be professional soccer players. Matt actually traveled the world playing high school soccer and ended up becoming a placekicker at the University of Colorado.

BND: Why do you love your job?

JA: Nothing is more fun for me than showing homes, and nothing is more satisfying than seeing the smile on a buyer's face after we hand over the keys to their dream home. It's like a teenager getting their first car.
MA: I love it because every single day is different. I'm my own boss, and I make my own schedule. I am rewarded based on solely my work effort. The harder you work at this job, the more money you make.

BND: What's the biggest misconception about your job?

JA: That it's easy, and that you can do it part-time. From watching us on "Million Dollar Listing," people think it's all glitz and glam, that you get to hang out with rich, famous people and make tons of money. We can assure you that's not the case. All the top agents in this town are extremely hard workers and don't treat this as a job, but a lifestyle. It's very stressful and never stops.
MA: That real estate agents don't get paid for the deals they close; they get paid for all the time they spend with clients who don't buy a home or whose houses don't sell. It takes a ton of work and time to close a deal, and the only way we do get paid is if it closes, whether we spent a day or a year with a client.

BND: If you didn't do your job, whose job would you like to have, and why?

MA: Tom Brady or Mark Wahlberg. Why? Because we sell the dream — they're living it.

BND: What's your best advice to other people who are trying to pursue their career dreams?

JA: Work hard. And when you're done doing that, work harder. You have to pay your dues.
MA: Do whatever it takes to try to make it happen. If it doesn't work out, at least you can say you gave it your best.

Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.

Nicole Fallon

Nicole received her Bachelor's degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. Nicole served as the site's managing editor until January 2018, and now leads Purch's B2B copy and production team. Reach her by email, or follow her on Twitter.