Boom! Anyone who watches the Bravo television show “Million Dollar Listing New York” knows that this is real estate agent Luis D. Ortiz’s catchphrase.
Ortiz uses this catchphrase when completing a deal, convincing a client to do what he wants or even just when he is excited. But on Sept. 12, he could have used it after speaking at Manhattan College as the last speaker of the Third Annual Lecture Series.
Ortiz captivated MC students with inspiring stories of his life and motivational advice for figuring out the future.
“Get to know who you are, guys,” Ortiz said. “Don’t live for them, don’t live for anyone else. Once you live for yourself, it is the most amazing feeling in the world.”
Ortiz’s journey in finding himself was one filled with difficult decisions and lots of hard work.
According to Ortiz, at age 15, he and his twin brother left their hometown of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico without telling their parents and travelled to Florida. They left a note for their parents saying that this was something that they needed to do and if they were not successful, they would come back.
Ortiz simply felt as though something was holding him back in Puerto Rico.
Always having been fascinated by stories, Ortiz then moved to New York City to study film at the New York Film Academy. Here, he met a fellow film student named Marco who really helped shape him into the person he is today, just by inspiring Ortiz.
“While the rest of us were trying to impress our teachers, our friends, our family, this guy was only doing him,” Ortiz said. “Marco was a leader and he was so passionate.”
At this time, Ortiz was 18 and after meeting Marco, he reached an epiphany. He realized that the thing he was looking for was not specific. While he was living for the rest of the world, he was doing nothing for himself.
After realizing that he needed to start living for himself, he and his brother moved into a $2,800 Manhattan apartment by negotiating under his father’s name. Impressed with the way Ortiz handled this, the agent suggested that he try his hand at real estate.
Obviously this was a good career move for Ortiz who now has, at age 27, over $250 million of real estate sold in New York City and has a net worth of $15 million.
“Luis seemed to be good as a successful business person, somebody in New York City with diversity, he seemed to fit the bill. And he’s funny too!” John Bennett, Director of Student Activities, said.
To this day, Ortiz does not quite know exactly how he got to be on “Million Dollar Listing New York.” He simply got a phone call from a woman who asked him if he was interested in joining the show.
In regards to being on television, Ortiz had one major goal for himself: simply to remain himself and not let the pressures of reality TV change him. “I was going to do whatever it took to remain myself,” he said.
This goes right along with his message to the students during the lecture. “What makes you successful is you. If you’re real, if you’re you, I will respect you,” he said.
Even though he stars on a reality television show that often has the reputation of being overly dramatic and scripted, Ortiz says that the integrity of the show is still in tact.
“I would say everything is real. All of the deals are real. The buyers are real, the sellers are real. We sort of hype things up for camera, but the emotions are real, everything is pretty real,” he says.
Ortiz’s drive and determination on the show are also things that certainly cross over to real life. In the extremely competitive world of real estate, Ortiz shines because of his work ethic, as well as his mindset towards competition.
“You can run as fast as you can, as fast as humanly possible, and looking back at [competition] can’t make you go any faster. I don’t look left or right. I only look straight. I don’t have any competition. My only competition is me,” Ortiz said.
Students who attended the lecture were able to take a lot away from Ortiz, specifically in regards to life itself.
“I was really impressed with him, he was surprisingly inspiring,” sophomore Rebecca Taylor said. “I kind of just expected it to be a ‘Oh, become a real estate agent! It’s really cool’ type thing, but he gave really good life advice and I’m really glad I went.”
Ortiz likes to use his fame in exactly that way and wants to inspire people to do what they want with their lives. “It’s a little bit weird, but you also actually sort of understand how much good you can do just by having a voice. I enjoy it,” Ortiz said.
“It was really nice to see another Hispanic make it big in the United States,” sophomore Alana Rios said.
Naturally, with his extreme success in New York City, many people were interested in how they could reproduce his success. “Don’t aim for money, aim to be the best person you can be and everything else will come with it,” Ortiz said. “When you live for who you’re supposed to be, the money will come, I can promise you that.”
Ortiz encouraged the students to simply have a thirst for life and a thirst for meeting new people because that is where all of the opportunities lie.
“The opportunities are there, guys, all you need to do is grab them,” he said.