The Art Of Working With Athletes

As luxury home real estate agents, we have had the opportunity to work with many professional athletes here in Cleveland and wanted to share our experiences. This may be helpful to other professionals who may one day encounter such a client, or provide insight for those of you who are just curious to know what it’s like.

Overall, it isn’t as glamorous as you would think, although we have walked away with interesting stories and some good relationships. It is also nice to know that, once you get to know them, most athletes actually aren’t alot different than you and me.  They just have a very high-profile job that requires them to delegate a lot of their non-sports related responsibilities to others.

The most important thing about working with any high-end client, regardless of what they do for a living, is discretion. Luxury home clients, especially athletes, value their privacy, therefore, confidentiality is critical. While it may seem cool to tell your friends and co-workers that you are working with “so and so”, that is bad business and simply cannot be done. In fact, we never reveal the identities of any of our clients, no matter who they are, not even to our children.

Working with athletes has some similarities to working with a typical client but does require a different approach and mindset. In most cases, at least initially, there is no direct communication with the client. In fact, there is one player that I never actually met in person. Athletes and celebrities have a “team” of people surrounding them, so you will most likely work with a business manager or agent. You have to be prepared and comfortable working in this manner.

Servicing an athlete is no different than that of any other high-end client. Just like a high powered business executive, athletes are busy people. Their time is extremely valuable and limited, so you must work efficiently, and often with little notice.  When it comes to actually finding a home for an athlete, they want their home to fit their lifestyle. That being said, the lifestyle of an athlete is different than most.

For example, in additional to wanting to live in close proximity to  sports facilities and the airport, many require very specific things in their home. Some require a gate, or gated community. They may also want specific features in a home such as a pool, theater room, exercise room or basketball court. I had one athlete walk into a home and spend most of his time in the incredible lower level  ( it had a really great theater room, trophy room, and bar ) as this was the most important thing to him. He spent all of about 5 minutes walking through the rest of the home and ended up buying it.

Overall, athletes have housing needs just like everyone else, although working with them does present a few additional challenges. From our experience, many are very nice and were appreciative of our efforts.  A few were actually quite interesting and entertaining ( think Cuba Gooding Jr. in “Jerry Maguire” ).

So, if you ever have a chance to work with a professional athlete, don’t be intimidated by the process, and just make them happy as you would any other client.


About The Authors:

The above information pertaining to Cleveland luxury homes was provided by The Schuman Team, Amy and Dan, of Howard Hanna. Dan is one of Ohio’s only Accredited Luxury Home Specialists and Amy is a member of the Institute For Luxury Home Marketing.

They can be reached at 216-346-3235 or via email, or

The Schuman Team services the following Cleveland area suburbs: Bainbridge, Bay Village, Beachwood, Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Hunting Valley, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Moreland Hills, Oakwood Village, Orange, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid, University Heights, Westlake, Woodmere.

The Art Of Working With Athletes is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent. ©December,2010

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Amy Schuman, Dan Schuman. Dan Schuman said: the art of working with professional athletes […]

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