Kofi Nartey to drive growth at Real, 'share what I have learned'
The billion-dollar sports and entertainment broker has moved his Globl RED team to The Real Brokerage where he will serve as national growth leader.
- Nartey began his professional career in football, moving to real estate after being sidelined by an injury.
- He has been immersed in luxury for more than a decade, leading sports and entertainment divisions at multiple brokerages.
- When working with athletes, he helps them buy and sell homes — and potentially find their next career in real estate.
Kofi Nartey only played one official game in the NFL, as a wide receiver with the Oakland Raiders against the Dallas Cowboys. He was injured, and never played again.
Instead — and after a few years of acting — Nartey walked onto the field of real estate, building a career and a reputation as a broker for entertainers, athletes and luxury buyers in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York. He has closed more than $1 billion in sales and founded the luxury firm Globl RED, where he leads a 12-member team and speaks around the country about life — and success — beyond the gridiron.
Now, Nartey, 48, is taking his team and the lessons he's learned to The Real Brokerage, where he will focus on attracting agents nationally and driving agent performance through coaching and development as Real's new national growth leader.
"Kofi is one of the most successful brokers in the residential real estate industry and an inspirational leader who shares our vision at Real of leaving the industry better than it was," Real President Sharran Srivatsaa said in a statement.
The move to Real was spurred, in part, by Nartey's friendship with Srivatsaa. But an even stronger draw, Nartey said, was the opportunity Real presents not just for him, but for his team.
The company's economic model offers agents better splits as well as stock options and revenue shares, Nartey said. Real also sponsors and co-sponsors agents who join the brokerage.
And Real is "built for where the industry is going," Nartey added, moving to a virtual platform and a more customer-facing model.
But Nartey, who previously led sports and entertainment divisions at The Agency and Compass, brings plenty to Real as well: "I have a platform that continues to be strong and continues to grow, giving me an opportunity to pour into other agents and share what I have learned."
Helping athletes find an 'in addition' career in real estate
He shares some of that with other former NFL players looking for a new challenge once they've walked off the field.
"I think it's very important to change the language from 'alternative' career to 'in addition,' like, 'In addition to football, this is what you can do.'"
That kind of thinking, he said, keeps former players from feeling like they are starting from scratch, or at a disadvantage.
"The mindset of athletes is not thinking that you can't make it," he said. "They have to take the field feeling invincible."
Six years ago, when addressing a group of representatives from NFL teams, Nartey introduced a concept he called "slash."
"You're a football player, slash, what?" he said. "All of us are, say real estate broker-slash-parent-slash-athlete. The earlier in an athlete's career they develop their slash, the more opportunities they will have to grow in those fields and also create an easier transition out of the game."
One example: Basketball star Kevin Durant, who has a venture-capital fund.
Real estate is also familiar to athletes not just as a place to call home, but as an investment and a way to build wealth.
Luxury buyers less affected by downturns, but other factors can affect sales
The "income threshold" of luxury buyers, as Nartey called it, helps buffer them from market swings, both situational and regional. But the luxury market is not immune to the impact of current events.
Consider the ongoing Hollywood strikes of writers and actors.
"We're feeling it," Nartey said. "We're feeling the strike, for sure. We're seeing it a little bit in the New York market."
And in Los Angeles — along with the strike — luxury brokers are also seeing the impact of the so-called "Mansion Tax" on properties assessed over $5 million.
In May of last year, Nartey said, 55 homes in that price range sold in one month. This past May, only 15 were sold. "And the tax hurts a lot of people who weren't wealthy" but had valuable properties, Nartey said.
On the sports side of luxury, well, remember that professional sports are seasonal. The NFL season is just 17 weeks long.
The bulk of athletes are renters given the uncertainty of what team they're going to play for and whether they'll be traded. If they buy, it's often for someone they love (Hi, Mom!) or a more modest home in their hometown, so they have real estate on top of their roots.
And there's always the risk of injury, which can knock an athlete out of the game altogether — but toward a new goal.
"I definitely feel like I did the right thing," Nartey said of selling homes. "There has been an evolution, from being a rookie agent to becoming a broker, working with new development projects."
He sees his new partnership with Real as another step in that evolution.
"The ability to scale Real and help people navigate success?" he said. "Here I am."