Mike Shapiro – CEO & Chairman of HÔM Sotheby’s International Realty

Focus on physical health as much as mental. Regardless of your work environment, create a positive space to nurture the lives of those around you.

Mike Shapiro – the Chairman and CEO of HÔM Sotheby’s International Realty. In 2008 he purchased a majority stake, recapitalizing the corporation. Employing his specific understanding of distressed markets, gathered while working as a market maker and trader at the Chicago Board of Options Exchange for nearly a decade; Shapiro’s leadership continues to inspire tremendous advancement. Growing from 36 associates and 200 million in sales to 400 associates and over 2.5 billion in sales, the company has become the leading purveyor of luxury real estate and related services in the region. HÔM also retains a staggering 2 billion dollars in listing inventory and another 500 million in exclusive offerings.

Where did your company originate?

HÔM Real Estate Group, Inc. originated ten years ago with only ten agents. Unfortunately, the company began to feel the effects of the housing crisis in 2006. In 2008, I bought the firm and utilized my past experience as a market maker and trader at the Chicago Board of Options Exchange to majorly shift the company’s actions and outlook, which ultimately led to major growth in sales. I would also like to credit the fantastic team we’ve built who has worked together to accomplish this growth.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Most of my time is spent developing ideas with my colleagues – sharing ideas and thinking outside of the typical real estate structure. I want to fill the office with positive and productive behavior so that my staff feels energized and inspired when they come to work.

I also make a point to work out every day. It helps my mind and gives me energy. I think that exercise can have a great impact on your day based on the productivity that it encourages.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I find myself constantly pushing through roadblocks that occur in brainstorming. The truth is that more times than not, people do not want to hear a new idea. People often get stuck in their habits and oppose new developments that could likely grow their business. However, you have to spark new ideas and relentlessly follow through with them. This is where you will find major success. It is important to note that bringing ideas to life is not a singular activity. It takes a community.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Currently, there is too much capacity in real estate. I think that it needs to be consolidated and organized. I look to trendsetters in the industry to identify what I feel they do well and analyze their process to determine if I feel it is an effective strategy. I support the trend of listening to younger generations to build a bridge to the future.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I am willing to fail at any and all times. I say that because I have failed in the past and I’m sure I’ll fail again. Failing makes you reevaluate. It ensures that you do not become stagnant. You simply have to try things to see if they work or not.

As I learned as a stock options trader, you could be wrong 49% of the time, but you can live pretty well at 51%.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Quite frankly, I would tell myself not to eat as much.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?

Almost everything.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

You need to be completely up to date on current financial and worldly news. Check out the Wall Street Journal every single day. It is the most important editorial available in my opinion.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Humor. Positivity stems from laughter, and ultimately, your business is about the positive relationships that you build with people. So the more positivity you are able to bring to the workplace and to your connections, the more successful you will be.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Overspending. I am impulsive, which I think is necessary in creative business fields because you jump at all forthcoming opportunities which leads to growth, but you need to have a team member on board, which in my case is our CFO, who will help control these impulses so that your outcomes are balanced.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

There should be a consulting firm for new agents to determine the direction of their career. It will help them to decide what firm to join, what region they should work in, etc. Thousands of agents enter the workforce each year and do not get to build a solid name for themselves because the industry is so large. A tool such as this would grant newcomers the opportunity to plan the scope of their career.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I hired a personal trainer to develop a new workout program that would aid my back pain. It is extremely important to pay as much attention to your body as you do everything else in life, so that you can perform your daily tasks with optimal performance.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

At our company we build our own software. It gives me concise information catered to effectively run our business specifically. Often, people use the basic tools that are readily available, but I suggest taking the time to have a developer craft software that is individual to your needs. It’s not as expensive as one would think and will make a world of difference.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Art of War. Business is very much like war, but without weapons.

What is your favorite quote?

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Key learnings:

  • How to evolve your career by changing career paths and utilizing previous experience to revolutionize an industry.
  • Focus on physical health as much as mental. Regardless of your work environment, create a positive space to nurture the lives of those around you.
  • Be open to all opportunities and new ideas, but have a team that can discuss and deliberate the best choices together.


Mike Shapiro on LinkedIn:
HÔM Sotheby’s International Realty on Facebook:
HÔM Sotheby’s International Realty on Twitter: @ShapiroHOMSIR
HÔM Sotheby’s International Realty on Instagram: @MichaelScottShapiro