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Born to sell

Real estate agent Josh Altman touts his Bravo gig and Boston ties

Newton-bred Josh Altman, now in LA but still a Patriots and Celtics fan, appears on “Million Dollar Listing.’’ Newton-bred Josh Altman, now in LA but still a Patriots and Celtics fan, appears on “Million Dollar Listing.’’ (Isabella Vosmikova/Bravo)
By Hayley Kaufman
Globe Staff / February 3, 2011

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Watching Josh Altman race around sunny Los Angeles, showing luxury homes to ritzy buyers, it’s easy to see why he ditched Newton for the West Coast. Sure, there’s the weather. But it also turns out that Altman, 31, a remarkably successful real estate agent and the newest addition to Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing,’’ may have found his calling in front of the camera.

Slick and outspoken, Altman says he was “put on this Earth’’ to sell real estate, specifically palatial spreads of the sort favored by celebrities, athletes, and moguls. And with his Zegna suits and Hublot bling, he certainly looks the part, but it’s his demeanor (part sweet guy, part shark) that makes him a natural for TV.

Altman isn’t the first Newton South grad to find his way there. “I was actually in the same grade as John Krasinski and Ben Novak,’’ he said. “We all had the lead roles in the senior show. A little Newton South history for you.’’

After graduating from Syracuse, Altman ended up in LA working with his brother Matt, flipping houses and minting money. (Hey, it was the mid-2000s.) When the market tanked, they dug in, knowing everyone who dabbled in real estate was on their way out. The strategy paid off. Last year was Altman’s best: He sold properties worth a staggering $40 million. (See what they’re selling at www.thealtmanbrothers.com.)

If only the Patriots were going to the Super Bowl, life would be grand. “I live for the Pats,’’ Altman said, as if in pain. “I was devastated. It’s Pats or bust.’’

Luckily, he’s also a huge Celtics fan, as evidenced by the green and white basketball visible behind his desk on the season four premiere of “Listing’’ tonight at 9. “Oh, you saw that. My uncle took me to all the games growing up. My memories are of Larry Bird and Kevin McHale. I don’t think you understand what a huge fan I am. I show [Lakers forward] Lamar Odom houses, and we kind of joked with each other.’’