Saad Munir, Host of Rifelion’s “Storii Time,” on his Podcasting Journey

"There's a lot of content out there about real estate, but that's why I think my motto when it comes to not just a podcast, but for social media in general...is yes I want to educate, I want to motivate, but I also want to entertain."

Saad Munir, Host of Rifelion’s “Storii Time,” on his Podcasting Journey

Saad Munir is the Vice President of Torii Homes, a leading real estate company in the greater Boston area, and is also the host of Rifelion Media’s podcast “Storii Time,” which explores all things real estate and gives useful tips to listeners on how to navigate everything from their first purchase to managing their properties and finances. “Storii Time” is Munir’s first podcast, and he spoke to Fann about his journey and discoveries throughout the recording of its first season.

(Saad’s interview has been edited for length and clarity)

Fann Staff: What got you into podcasting?

Saad Munir: When Asad [Butt, founder of Rifelion,] reached out to me, he said he had this podcasting company and that he thought based on my social media activity I could potentially have a good personality for it. When he told me that he would produce it…and help me out on it and guide me through the whole process, I was like, “Yeah, I'll take you up on it.” I'll put most of the content together and then he could just help produce it with the help of our in-house marketing team. 

From a business perspective, it's obviously a differentiator. I love talking about real estate — it doesn't feel like work to me — and so that's why [I thought if] I can talk about it, and put some content together at the same time and stuff that we can reference for education, entertainment, whatever when it comes to branding and marketing, it would be a leg up in business as well. 

Fann Staff: How is your first time podcasting going?

Saad Munir: It's been great. At its core, “Storii Time” is about real estate and everything real estate related. Literally when Asad reached out to me to put together a list of topics that we could cover in the coming months, I put together a list of 50 topics in like 20 minutes, because there's so much that can be talked about and real estate in general is a passion of mine. 

Once I kind of hone in on a topic for an episode, it's not that difficult to [make it] because he gave me the structure of what an episode should look like [and its] different segments. Once I had that, it was pretty simple to get going on it. And then obviously, because I can mix and match with doing solo episodes and doing some with guests, it keeps things fresh and interesting and exciting. So far, so good.

Fann Staff: How do you keep “Storii Time” interesting when real estate is a topic that most people, maybe wrongly, would assume is not actually that interesting? 

Saad Munir: Look, real estate is one of the most archaic industries. But everybody is attached to real estate in some way, shape or form, whether they're renting, looking to buy, or they're looking to sell. Their family probably owns real estate, or at least that's the hope, right? There's a lot of content out there about real estate, but that's why I think my motto when it comes to not just a podcast, but for social media in general and any branding that we do as an organization, is yes I want to educate, I want to motivate, but I also want to entertain. I think that that combination keeps it genuine as opposed to the old-school mentality [of only being professional]. Yes, it's important to be professional, no question about it. But if you're too rigid, and if you don't seem like you're having fun, especially for millennials and people in my age group or people who are starting to think about purchasing, they're not going to [be interested]. 

Fann Staff: I was listening to a couple of the episodes and I definitely agree with that. You were telling a story about how you first got into real estate. You mentioned in “Storii Time”’s introduction episode that you first got into it in your last year of undergrad. Was there a specific moment where you realized “Oh, real estate is actually really interesting”? 

Saad Munir: My first job out of school was as a financial advisor. That's where I saw [that for] some of my clients, a lot of their net worth had been built up with real estate. I thought that was really interesting. At that point [though], I had no money. As I started my career and saved up some money, my goal was that I wanted to buy a piece of property — I don’t know where it’s going to be, don’t know how much it’s going to be, but that was my goal in year two as a financial advisor. So 2013 is when my real estate journey began.

Fann Staff: The housing market was very different, obviously, during the pandemic. How do you navigate giving people tips about real estate in that ongoing unique situation?

Saad Munir: Look, at the end of the day, I’m a firm believer that 90% of life you can't control, but that 10% that you can — it could even be 1%, but whatever that percentage — if you learn how to do that, it's going to pay dividends exponentially, right? We're not going to really change anything about the pandemic [individually]. Of course, we can do our part. The pieces that we can control, I think, are important to harness and that's what I remind people to do. Listen, you can't control the future. You don't know what's going to happen in the future. If you did, you would be a gazillionaire, right? So I think it's important to just kind of focus on those pieces you can control and those are things like having some discipline, having a plan when it comes to real estate, having that down payment, having conversations with people that can help you or that that have done it in the past so you can learn from them. That sets people up for success.

Fann Staff: You’ve had several guests on the show so far. Do you have a favorite or someone that you thought had the most insight?

Saad Munir: I can’t say I have a favorite, because with Sam [Robles, Munir’s colleague at Torii Homes], for example, who was the first guest that I had on — she and I work together every day, so obviously she's got a special place in my heart in terms of what she brings to the table for my business and for my career and for my day to day. That was a really fun episode because it was one that we both really strongly believe in [regarding] service and doing a great job for clients. 

The one with Ali [Alavi], he was my second guest. He’s a mentor [and] like a second father to me. [We were] having conversations with him and how supportive he's been for me in my business, and how he's helped my clients. He's my go-to attorney essentially, for deals. That was really special for me. Hunter [Evers] is also great. He's a lender and I've done a ton of deals with him. He brings so much knowledge and experience when it comes to the financing world. 

The last one, which is the episode that I did with the first agent that really took me under his wing — his name was Mike [and] he used to be the Chief Revenue Officer here at Torii — that was actually the most emotional because we're talking about the agent roller coaster, and only another agent can really understand what that's like. I think that one was probably the one that's the most memorable, but I can't say I have a favorite guest, that's for sure. 

Fann Staff: You mentioned that there’s things that only real estate agents would understand. Is there a predominant misconception that people have about real estate generally that you want to dispel?

Saad Munir: Look, there's a lot of agents out there. There's a ton of agents out there, just like in every industry, there’s some good ones and there’s some not so good ones. But I do think that there is a common misconception that agents are focused on a commission, first and foremost. Look, everyone's got to eat; yes, that's important. Commissions add up and that's how you build a life and build a foundation for your family. But I think the really good agents, the top agents, are not focused on commission. They're focused on relationships. That piece is what I try to get out of my conversations with people, my engagements with them, and how I treat them and how I follow up with them in my process, and I think that is a piece that is important for people to realize. There's a stat that I've mentioned in one of my episodes: only 13% of agents last more than three years in the industry. 87% fail out in the first two years. I think the main difference between those two things is that 13% is focused on building relationships and long term relationships with our client partners, etc. Those 87% unfortunately are focused on the short term. They're focused on that one deal or maybe a couple of deals that's what separates those amazing client experiences from just an okay one.

Fann Staff: Is there something that has surprised you about podcasting - either the process or about yourself?

Saad Munir: You know something that surprised me is that I have not asked once how many subscribers we have to the podcast. I thought I would and obviously those stats matter, I probably should ask, but I haven't asked once because it's been fun. It's been interesting and I'm still in the learning process. We’ve only recorded nine episodes so far but I feel like Asad has been so supportive, [and] the whole Rifelion team has all been so great and responsive. They even sent me this microphone [I’m recording on] to make sure the sound was right and all that stuff and I haven't asked [about the subscribers] once. Eventually I'm sure we'll talk about it as there's some growth, but I know Asad’s taking care of it. So I honestly haven’t worried about it at all and I think that's a good thing, at least right now. It is part of my business and I will care more, but right now, I think we're in that growth phase where it doesn’t really matter that much.

Fann Staff: Is there anything else you'd like to add as a final thought?

Saad Munir: I think one thing that is really cool about what Asad is doing is that he has focused on minorities and underrepresented folks being the guests, or the host, I should say, of these podcasts that he's producing. I think that's really cool. That is one of the things that drew me to doing this. Muslims should be supporting Muslims. I feel like I’ve carved out my niche in terms of doing that in this community. That’s something that my father has been imploring me to do for the longest time. I just didn't know how and I feel like now I have an opportunity and [Asad] has given me, in part, that platform to do that, which is super exciting. I think everybody — again, I'm talking specifically about the Muslim community — but regardless of what community you're in, everybody should be helping each other. I'm really grateful to Asad for taking the initiative and reaching out so thank you to him and to the Rifelion team.

Listen now to Storii Time: