Cyrus Karl is a licensed real estate salesperson in the State of Massachusetts. He is also a member of the National Association of Realtors. His team has sold homes priced from three hundred thousand to multi-million-dollar estates. In 2020, he founded pyvt, a a real estate blog and resource, focused on helping others learn more about the real estate field. He is a graduate of Regis College.
Cyrus Here. Below I will share a little bit about my family and how I made my way into the real estate field. If you have any questions, always feel free to reach out.
I was born in Boston, Massachusetts and grew up in a large city just outside of it. Both of my parents are immigrants. My maternal grandfather was a Holocaust survivor, Major in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and doctor. My paternal grandfather was a General in the Iranian Army.
All of my grandparents were truly selfless people, putting others before themselves, even in times of need. Also, all of their lives were impacted by war. For example, both of my maternal grandparents along with countless other children living in England on the eve of World War II were evacuated to the countryside; my grandfather having recently arrived from Austria only knew how to speak German. My paternal grandmother dealt with the death of her husband after the Iranian Revolution and remembers rockets flying over her home during the Iran-Iraq War. How fortunate I am to have grown up in a world vastly better than theirs.
I have always had the entrepreneurial attitude, having an interest in business. Perhaps I have it because of what others before me went through, my genetic makeup, or some other unknown reason. My first business venture in elementary school, besides starting a lemonade stand, was fixing mechanical pencils for a nickel. In middle school, my friend and I really liked the TV show The Apprentice. That Halloween, we actually went Trick ‘r Treating as Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr., respectively. I’m pretty sure we were the only 8th graders East of the Mississippi dressed up as Donald Trump and his son. Who knew how contentious Trump would be a few years later, rightfully so.
My High School Years
I had the privilege of attending high school in a newly-built state of the art building. Although I had reservations with the actual content of many classes (explained below), I did enjoy some courses: Our school had a small finance department and some fantastic teachers who had earned MBAs. These teachers had an actual interest in finance, just like me! It was extremely liberating to know that my fascination with money, finance, and the entrepreneurial spirit was not nonsense, but truly necessary for anyone looking to succeed in the 21st century.
I also had serious concerns about the state of our local education system. How could we, as an extremely wealthy city, still be stuck teaching the same dated subjects: The response, “Because it’s always been done that way”, has never felt like a satisfactory answer. On one hand, we were told to help others and support progressive ideology, yet on the other we were not learning about the basics of politics, civics, personal finance and other skills necessary to make meaningful change in the world.
All hope was not lost though. I ran for School Board in my city when I was 18 years old, and again when I was 20. I didn’t win, but received ~1,500 votes (21%) and ~2,000 (16%) in each campaign, respectively. Additionally, I also met some really smart students, who along with other citizens, volunteered on the campaign. I hope one day they will advocate for those less fortunate.
My College Years
I reluctantly went to college, hoping to strike it rich before the first day of classes. Unfortunately, luck was not on my side. Because my high school grades were subpar, I only got into a few third-tier schools. However, in hindsight, I am happy I went to one of these schools, because I met people from a diverse set of socio-economic demographics, who were not represented in my high school or hometown. I learned a lot about the value of financial literacy from talking with people in my dorm room or at parties; far more than I had up until that point in my life.
During my late high school and early college years, sites like YouTube, reddit, and Vine exploded in popularity, and I learned about people living lives that were deeply appealing to a young person like myself. Examples include businessmen like Elon Musk, and YouTubers like Casey Neistat. These entrepreneurs seemed like they were on holiday every day, but working harder than anyone I had ever seen before. Isn’t it interesting that many of those who find success continue to work, even though they could have long since retired? Perhaps that says something about their attitude.
Even though I found college more interesting than high school, by my second year I grew bored of university; so I did what anyone with common sense would do, I dropped out I decided to work really hard to finish my degree as quickly as I could. I took extra classes, CLEP tests to get credit for classes I did not take, and took intersession classes. I went from being behind on credits after my first year, to completing my bachelor’s degree in three years. Additionally, I took my real estate exam in the summer between my junior and senior years of college. Along with the School Board run, I was pretty busy, but always had time to check out new listings on our local MLS, Zillow or any other site I could think of. And of course, I kept an eye on the stock market.
How I got into Real Estate
I had a family member in real estate, so after my second year of college I made the decision to enter the field full time after graduation. Of course, I was very fortunate to have that opportunity. I thought I would get off with a running start after joining my mom’s business group (lame, I know), who mostly focused on residential real estate. Boy was I wrong! During my first six months as a real estate agent I sold two homes. I pocketed less than $7,500. If you want to read more about my early days in real estate, as well as my reasoning behind starting pyvt, please check out the homepage.
I was one of the youngest kids in my office, at 21 years old. At the time, I think the average age of a real estate agent in my part of Massachusetts was above 65 years old, meaning most agents were senior citizens. Many of the agents did not know how to connect their computers to the internet. Some knew how to check their email and Facebook; others did not. It was like stepping into the Twilight Zone, at least on the technology front. On the flip side, most of the agent in my office were women. It is extremely rare to find powerful women in an industry so closely related to finance. I strongly believe we need more women in leadership roles in the business world.
Anyways, it was not until my third year of real estate that I started making what-I-consider serious money. Remember that $7,500 I made during my first year? Well, I invested most of it, along with most of my savings, into a controversial tech stock, Tesla, Inc. Skill Luck was on my side this time, as I sold those shares for a 550% gain just 18 months later. Pretty soon, my third-year gross income eclipsed $100k. Cool!
Looking Forward in Real Estate
But here is the thing. As much as I enjoy real estate, I still believe that those looking to buy and sell, and many of those new to the field, are much more capable than they are probably led to believe. If you listen to the gurus (bleh!), they make you think that those who succeed in life work harder, longer and better than everyone else. If you are unsuccessful, it is your own fault. Nothing can be further from the truth. Of course, intelligence is certainly a key aspect to success in any field, but not a guarantee or requirement. In reality, if you are smart enough to have read through my entire biography thus far, you are smart enough to make 100k, 200k, or even a million dollars in real estate. That is a fact.
No matter your goal, whether wanting to save a few dollars on a real estate commission, become a successful real estate agent, or simply to learn more about the industry, it is completely attainable. My goal is to help you get there.
One last thing, please feel free to add me on LinkedIn, where I post about the latest trends in the real estate industry, as well as my thoughts on other financial news.