Michigan football helps Morgan Trent find home in real estate, reality TV series

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

When Morgan Trent arrived home after playing in an NFL game, he’d turn on his television, not to catch up on the world of sports but to watch any number of home shows.

From there, another career was born.

Former Michigan defensive back Morgan Trent will be on Wednesday's episode of "Listing Impossible" on CNBC.

Trent, 34, is a former Michigan defensive back who was a sixth-round pick by the Bengals in 2009 and spent three seasons in the NFL. He found himself watching more and more home-related shows, and finally indulged his love by studying real estate after his rookie season to earn a license.

Now, the native southern Californian is in Los Angeles selling multi-million dollar homes and joined the Aaron Kirman Group and Compass, which is featured in the CNBC reality show, “Listing Impossible" that airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m.

Kirman has sold about $6 billion in real estate and is considered the top agent in Los Angeles. Trent will be prominently featured in Wednesday night’s show trying to sell a home listed for nearly $30 million in Newport Beach.

“I had no idea any show was happening,” Trent told The Detroit News in a telephone interview. “This has been in the works for two years. Aaron gave me a shout, ‘We’re doing a show, you’re on it, let’s go.’ That was it.

“Doing television is a long process. It’s also been fun because it’s unlike other shows. It’s not staged. CNBC really wanted to harp on this being authentic. It's almost too authentic to a point where we weren’t meeting these home owners — the first time we meet them is on camera. The first time we see the home is on camera, so it’s not like we walked the home and come back and reenact it. We’re having these conversations genuinely with the camera on. You’ll see the reactions that are very authentic.”

For this week’s show, the group was presented with a high-end home owned by a difficult-to-deal-with client. Trent, who dresses casual cool — no suit — but L.A. relaxed and sharp, is selected as the agent most capable of working with the seller.

“I’ve learned this quickly in real estate that 95 percent of your clients, they know more than you and they’re real estate professionals,” Trent said laughing, while considering they’re like football’s Monday morning quarterbacks. “Everybody knows how to sell their own home, they all know what it’s worth, they all know they can do a better job than you. Sometimes you get the client that trusts you, and says, ‘Hey, go do your thing.’”

Cornerback Morgan Trent (14) played at Michigan from 2005-08

Trent said there are about 45,000 real estate agents in Los Angeles, and the market is highly competitive.

“Everybody’s an agent,” said Trent, a former Orchard Lake St. Mary's star.  “Everybody thinks they’re going to get their license, they’re going to go sell million-dollar homes, because it’s so easy because they saw it on TV, and they’re all going to make $1 million. Selling real estate is not rocket science, but it’s the daily grind and knowing what you’re doing. That’s something not every agent has.

“You can make a lot of money out here selling homes, but you could also make very little money. There’s no guarantee.”

Trent arrived in Los Angeles determined to make a mark in Los Angeles real estate. He played some golf, made contacts and started selling homes off-market.

“After you sell a $13 million house and make some money, you say, ‘We might be OK doing this,’” said Trent, whose listings can be found on trentluxury.com.

And that’s when he decided he had to join Kirman to make the kind of impact he had hoped.

There might not be any obvious football-real estate comparisons, but Trent has carried lessons from football into his new career.

“Certain things go hand-in-hand with athletics,” he said. “Honestly, it’s hard work, which sounds like a cliché, but is very true. To get to the NFL and to play at Michigan, you have to be the best of the best, right? You kind of learn that from a young age — I know how hard I hard I have to work in order to be successful. That’s something that’s innate.”

From his coach, Lloyd Carr, he learned about being on time.

"Dealing with Coach Carr and being an athlete, I am scared to death to be a minute late,” Trent said, laughing. “There’s certain things athletics drill in you, and that’s definitely one of them.”

And he learned patience, which is an important factor when he deals with clients like the one on Wednesday’s “Listing Impossible.” Trent said he was asked by a former employer how he would handle the stress of the job. He laughed and said he would be just fine.

“Real stress to me is my first game in the NFL and I’m covering Randy Moss and it’s 4th and 2 and I’m in zero coverage. That’s stressful to me,” Trent said. “Football definitely prepared me for some of the hardships and things you go through in real estate.

"We're all on the same team."


Twitter: @chengelis