Meet Matt

Matt Harnick, Keller Williams
Matt Harnick, Keller Williams

If you’re having trouble selling your home- you’ll want to meet Matt. He’s a Philadelphia-based realtor who puts a ton of passion and pride into his work, family and relationships. Sounds like this guy will do whatever it takes to get your house sold.

Perks Philly:   “Hey Matt, I’m so glad you can take a few minutes to hang out with us today!  So, what got you interested in real estate?”

Matt Harnick:  “I am a fourth generation real estate professional! My great grandfather was a builder and investor, my grandfather an investor, my dad an investor – and real estate as a business has therefore been in my blood from word go!  As a kid I helped my dad with his buildings, anything from Hechinger’s (before Home Depot!) runs for materials, to moving appliances, to building walls, running wiring, demolishing kitchens…you name it. But one of the best and most noteworthy experiences was going to look at properties with him…sizing up the amount of work it would need, and getting a good idea of how to move walls, windows, doorways…anything to make a property ‘work.’ I developed a great eye and to this day design is one of my key strengths as a partner in our investment business Equity Management Group. I began in the real estate business when I bought my first property, a multifamily in Elkins Park in 1996, and I lived there for 6 years. I got a chance to see how rental properties worked, got to experience ownership and management…and best of all I was able to experience in a very real way how it felt to get the tax benefits – and when I bought my first single-family residence in 2002 I was able to keep the rental property. Still own it!”

That’s all foundation however. To better answer your question from an agent’s perspective, it was in 2006 that my eldest son Josh was born, and I wanted to develop my investment business with my dad even further. I decided to get licensed to be able to buy and sell our own holdings, and started part time. Three years later at the heart of the recession, I made a decision to make a jump to full time as an agent!”

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Perks Philly:  “Wow, that’s wonderful. Tell us what sets you apart from other realtors?”

Matt Harnick:  “While I experienced a number of challenges making the jump to a full-time real estate practice in the heart of the recent recession, it also really helped me to form some great habits. I learned how to actively prospect for business versus passively market my business. I get really involved in my clients’ lives…and my relationship with them usually far exceeds the bounds of a typical real estate professional’s purview! I become even more of a problem solver than a realtor! When I meet a client, or clients, who have a property that needs to go on the market, oftentimes there are many different hurdles which need to be overcome in order to get the property on the market, then ultimately sold. My landscaping trailer has seen a lot of action over the last decade – I’ll bring it to a property to assist in getting a property cleared out if needed. I have relationships with companies like Impact, I coordinate with them to get all remaining belongings donated, then the trash, old carpeting, whatever is left will be removed by my hauler if necessary. Then I spend time making a thorough to-do list with improvements that can be made, rated in order in terms of the return they could hope to expect. Last I bring contractors through to get the work done. One time I helped a client paint the first floor of their house because they didn’t have the ability to hire someone, or the tools to do it themselves. That was a really great feeling to help someone like that!”

“There’ve been times I’ve started working with a client 6 months to a year before the property is ultimately on the market. You can imagine how that would help especially if the property is an estate for example – there could be decades worth of belongings, documents, and certainly emotions tied up in a property. That’s why my relationship with my clients begins long before the property is actively for sale. Once ready for the market – my background as a media professional comes in handy, as the property gets a marketing treatment. A full scale professional photo shoot, a high definition video shoot, and a customized website based on the address of the property is where it begins. From there I actively engage the neighbors, the community – door to door where appropriate, in order to ask the question – “WHO do you know who is looking to move into the neighborhood.”

“Most of all I think it’s imperative to have the tough conversations right away. I am honest to a fault with my clients. I give my sellers a very honest gauge of price. I believe selling at ‘the right price’ is best…not low, but “right.” I think it’s important to be on the same page and talk about the challenges immediately, so there are no surprises. There have been times where I’ve lost a listing to another agent who convinced the seller that they could get them much more for the property – in effect they ‘bought’ the listing, only to have that agent ask for a significant price reduction later on. In more than one instance that seller has come back to me as a second agent – and ultimately I would still sell the property. I feed my family with real estate business, but buying listings only hurts the seller, and I won’t do it. I also think it imperative to meet with my buyer clients right away, to get a wants and needs analysis. I prefer this – it gives us a great foundation for the relationship and right away I get to know exactly what they want, and how to help them best.”

Perks Philly: “What is your most memorable experience as a realtor?”

Matt Harnick:  “I have a lot – but two in particular were my favorites. One listing was especially memorable because it had been listed twice before I met the sellers, and it was on the market for a year between these two agents. Both were very big names in the area, and the sellers listed with them for the same reason – they believed both agents had the exposure and experience needed for a quick sale. The first agent priced the house at $1.4M, an ungodly list price for this house. It sat for months with few showings and no offers. The second agent priced the house at $1.3M, still well above actual value, and it sat for more months. Few showings, no offers. The sellers were understandably frustrated and with good reason. I had just sold a home for a friend of theirs in a similar situation, and met with these sellers. We came up with a much more accurate list price, and I brought my staging team in to change the entire look and feel of the property. A photo shoot and video shoot, the website was done…and the whole house was transformed. Within a few weeks the house was on the market again, and we sold it within a month.”

“My second experience was with a buyer. I remember it vividly that this couple was referred to me to help them rent an apartment…and after some number crunching we discovered they could afford to buy. Not only did they buy a home instead of renting once again, but we were able to get them a property with USDA 100% financing! WOW…that was amazing. What a feeling to walk away from that settlement table, and this awesome couple was in shock. Their kids were crying they were so happy…they’d have their own rooms! That felt great!”

Perks Philly:  “We want to know about the very first time you sold a house.  How did that make you feel?  Were you nervous?”

Matt Harnick:  “Nervous…absolutely! A real estate purchase is a HUGE investment for a buyer, and that carries a lot of responsibility for me as their agent. The first time I paired up with a friend of mine who was an agent and had him shadow me through the entire process start to finish, including settlement, just to make sure I did everything right. It went great and I even remember being so relieved that I gave the listing agent a huge hug afterwards…she was NOT expecting that.”

Perks Philly:  “What advice would you give someone who is just starting out in real estate?”

Matt Harnick:  “There are lots of real estate companies out there. There are lots of realtors out there. Anyone starting in this business should get from the start that it’s not a 9-5 business. They’ll be working plenty of nights, and weekends…and if that part is fine – then they need to make absolutely sure to check out as many brokerages as possible to find the right fit. Some brokerages in my opinion are much more adept at working with new agents than others. I can’t express how important it is to find the right one, because it will make or break your business. In fact I invite anyone reading this article – who is interested in getting into the business – to meet me and discuss, I would be happy to sit down and talk about what to look for!”

Perks Philly:  “What do you think is the most important thing a client should look for in a realtor?”

Matt Harnick:  “For me the awards on the wall, the designations, the testimonials, the years in the business…it’s all helpful to show commitment to the business – but GOOD OLD FASHIONED CUSTOMER SERVICE is where it begins and ends for me as commitment to the client. There is no substitute. I have the awards, I have the testimonials, I’ve been in the business of real estate for almost 20 years in total…but in my mind that is not at the forefront of my clients’ minds when I meet with them, and advise them on how to buy or sell one of the largest assets they may ever buy in their life. I don’t discuss any of that with them when I meet them initially. I don’t really talk about me much at all, certainly at first – unless asked. I talk about them – because it IS about them. I also do much more listening than talking. It’s about their goals, their wants and needs, it’s their home or home to be, and it’s their life…and I consider it a privilege to join them in that journey. I think it’s important to be aligned in goals and strategies, and to have excellent communication. This is a living, breathing business – and the communication is of utmost importance. I think it’s also important to establish expectations from the beginning!”

“I also point out to each of my clients that my relationship with them is ongoing. It doesn’t nearly end the day of settlement. I am in this profession for the long haul, and whether a day or a decade after settlement we will still be in touch. I ask my clients to consider me a resource – if they have questions about the house, or real estate, or investment – or if they need a contractor…anything…to call me. I am not going anywhere!”

matt3

Perks Philly:  “It’s obvious that you work really hard, how do you spend your time on your days off?”

Matt Harnick:  “Days off? It’s a great question – because I DO consciously take scheduled time off to enjoy time with my wife Jane of ten years and my two sons, Josh 9 and Danny 6. I am a professional musician, and am involved in two different music projects. One is a classic/progressive 70’s/80’s rock and funk cover band called “Karma,” and the other is a Who tribute project called “Who Better You Bet.” I am an avid fisherman and enjoy offshore big-game fishing with my dad and my boys whenever I can, as well as enjoying the Jersey Shore! I love photography and videography, I study Tae Kwon Do with my boys, I practice hot yoga. I am all about working hard and playing hard as often as possible!”

Perks Philly:  “What are your three top Philly area hangouts?” 

Matt Harnick:  “Tough one…because I see a lot of the area hangouts as both a patron and as a musician! For Bucks County, as far as both food AND music goes for me it would have to be Havana in New Hope. Just love the atmosphere, the mix of food…and the national acts which play Havana make it a prime choice. Their burgers are simply…sublime, by the way! Locally for me in Montgomery County I really enjoy both Magerks and The Lucky Well in Ambler/Fort Washington…for the music, the mix of craft brews and bourbons – both of which I’m a huge fan. In the city – I’m a BIG fan of Budakkan. My wife Jane and I both are huge fusion aficionados and it’s one of our favorites!”

Matt Harnick
Matt Harnick

Perks Philly: If you need to buy or sell a house, OR if you’re a new realtor looking for some great advice, give Matt Harnick a call! It’s obvious that he knows his stuff and is very dedicated to his profession.Keller Williams Real Estate

910 Harvest Drive
Blue Bell, PA 19422
Office215.654.6093
Cell215.576.5500

**If you are a small business owner in or around Philadelphia and would like to advertise on Perks Philly, give us a ring at 215-801-2412.  Or check us out here.

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