But what’s the impact of a star broker when it comes to buying or selling a property? That depends on how the broker made a name for him or herself, said Dolly Lenz, the founder of the New York-based luxury real estate consulting, sales and marketing firm, Dolly Lenz Real Estate.
While there are various paths to becoming a star broker, big names in the industry generally fall into one of two buckets, Ms. Lenz continued.
In the first are people who were catapulted—at times from mediocrity—into the spotlight thanks to TV shows like Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing” or “Million Dollar Listing New York.”
“In my estimation,” Ms. Lenz said, “this doesn’t make you a star broker, it makes you a star who’s a broker, which is very different.”
In the second bucket are the people with a long track record in the industry who are really hitting it out of the park and either consistently working with high-profile clients, achieving high prices, or both.
This type of star broker is often known in specific markets and has built their reputation over time, rather than having their name made through a TV show. Although in some cases, brokers can have both a long history in the industry and be on TV, as Ms. Lenz has done when she appeared on shows including “Secret Lives of the Super Rich” on CNBC.
The first type of star broker, like Ryan Serhant of “Million Dollar Listing New York,” pedal in exposure, and aren’t afraid to admit it. “Being on the show meant immediate, massive and international exposure,” Mr. Serhant said. “It was a rocket launcher for my entire career.”
A recent example of how this exposure translated into sales, Mr. Serhant said, was when he featured a new development at 100 Avenue A in Manhattan on the show last season, which later set a record in the area after three units sold at $2,600 per square foot. “The developer was looking for that exposure for his project,” Mr. Serhant said, “and it worked out perfectly.”
Mr. Serhant is now slated to star in a second Bravo show called “Sell It Like Serhant,” in which he’ll work with all types of salespeople to move more product. This will help him get even better name recognition, he said.
Like Mr. Serhant, Fredrik Eklund, another star on “Million Dollar Listing New York,” who also heads up the Eklund Gomes new development team at Douglas Elliman, is a star broker of the first variety.
Last week, it was his name alone that brought in a buyer for 1 Seaport Residences after The New York Post and Curbed reported that he’d bought a $4.6 million duplex in the Financial District development. Soon after, Julia Spillman, the sales director at 1 Seaport and the director of Eklund Gomes New Development, got a call from an interested buyer from Hong Kong who said he’d been following along since Mr. Eklund announced the project, which will be finished in late-spring 2018, on Instagram. Now he was ready to look for himself.
This week, that buyer signed a full ask offer on a $1.965 million large, one-bedroom. Included in the contract was his one request: that on full execution, he’d get to take a photo with Mr. Eklund, which Ms. Spillman is arranging now.
“The type of exposure that he gets compared to other brokers is incredible,” Ms. Spillman said, adding that “Million Dollar Listing New York” is now just a piece of Mr. Eklund’s overall package, which includes a book, his personal wine brand, and like Mr. Serhant, a second Bravo show in the works.
But while all the exposure generated by reality TV and social media fame will bring people in the door, a broker still needs to be able to sell the property, Ms. Lenz said.
Long before there were reality TV programs showing high-profile real estate deals, the late Linda Stein, who sold luxury properties in New York and Los Angeles from the mid-80s until her death in 2007, was probably the first star broker, Ms. Lenz said. “She had every movie star you’d ever heard of as her client,” Ms. Lenz said, noting that part of her success came from her platform as the one-time manager of the Ramones and the former wife of a high-profile talent agent and music producer. “But she also pulled it off. She got the deal done, and she made things happen.”
Today, there are likely a handful of this type of broker in any major market, experts say. In London, Gary Hersham, the founder and managing director of London-based boutique agency, Beauchamp Estates, is among that ilk.
The main benefit of working with someone like him, who has four decades of experience, is his knowledge of the industry and of the market, which sometimes goes against popular opinion, Mr. Hersham said.
“The impact of being a star broker is that I’m considered more likely to be credible,"Mr. Hersham said.
The other impact of being a star broker, he said, is that he gets more referrals and in turn, more business. For instance, he’s recently been appointed to sell a £125 million (US$135 million) home in prime central London with Knight Frank, which never would have happened had he not gained a reputation for being one of the few brokers that is able to sell that expensive of a property.
In the tony Miami neighborhood of Coconut Grove, Karen Elmir, the founder and CEO of an elite luxury sales group under Cervera Real Estate, called The Elmir Group, considers name recognition the biggest perk of being a rising local star.
"A wide network of contacts in the industry allows star brokers to move inventory faster and market a property better,” Ms. Elmir said, noting that when she called other top realtors about a $10 million new build she’s selling on South Bayshore Drive, they came to her sales event and introduced the property to their clients.
For Ms. Lenz, her star power means that like Mr. Hersham, she gets more referrals and business than competitors, and like Ms. Elmir, knows that other brokers and sales agents prioritize her calls and get her clients in the door when they want to see a property.
But being a star broker also means that she has better access to whisper listings, and that when she’s negotiating on price, speaks with a voice that is slightly more elevated, credible and authoritative than other brokers, she said.
“These are huge advantages,” she said, which together, all translate to better prices and sales (or purchases) that are executed more quickly.
For buyers or sellers deciding who to work with, there’s no reason not to go with star broker of either type, experts say, especially since the commission is typically the same.
But when making that choice, rather than referring to top broker lists, which Ms. Lenz said are “gamed” and advertorial in nature, people should go back to the basics, ask for referrals and consider who’s really the best person for this job.
Here is a look at other news from around the world compiled by Mansion Global:
U.K. Home Prices Recorded Their First Decline Since 2012, says Halifax
U.K. home prices were 0.2% lower in the first quarter of 2017 than in the previous quarter, according to Halifax, marking the first quarterly decline since 2012, and a month-to-month drop of 0.1% between March and April. High prices are thought to be behind the slowdown in demand, and IHS Markit economist Howard Archer said that the data “fuels our belief that the housing market is being increasingly affected by the increasing squeeze on consumers and their concerns over the outlook.” However, the market varies significantly by region, with prices booming in northern cities, while growth in the south stalls. (The Telegraph)
Slowdown in Chinese Buyers Hampers Long Island’s High-End Market
As China’s restrictions on capital outflow affect real estate markets across the globe, brokers on Long Island’s “Gold Coast” North Shore are noticing the downturn, with one estimating a 10% drop in prices for properties over $2 million in the past year. Douglas Elliman reported a 9.7% quarterly drop—and a 2% annual decline—in the average home sales price on the North Shore this past quarter, with the number of transactions down 14.8% from the previous quarter, and 5.6% from the previous year. As such, an excess of inventory built to lure luxury Chinese buyers is starting to sit heavy on the local market in areas like Muttontown, Brookville, Old Westbury and Roslyn. (Reuters)
Limited Supply Leads to a Sharp Increase in Ireland’s Rents
Near-record lows in inventory have led to near-record highs across Ireland’s rental market, with the average rent rising by 13.4% in the first quarter of 2017, per the latest Rental Price Report from Irish property website Daft.ie. This marks the fourth quarter in a row that an all-time high average rent has been set, bringing the national average up to €1,131 (US$1,228). Year-to-date, rents rose by 10.4% in Cork, 10.6% in Galway, 12.6% in Limerick, and 13.9% in Dublin, where rents are now 15.4% higher than their previous peak in 2008. Lack of supply is thought to be pushing prices higher, and Daft.ie noted that there were only 3,084 properties for rent nationwide as of May 1 just barely above the all-time low set in May 2016. (World Property Journal)
Famed Architect Cesar Pelli Lists Manhattan Apartment for $26 Million
Cesar Pelli, the architect behind Pelli Clarke Pelli, and buildings including Brookfield Place and Malaysia’s Petronas Towers, has put his sprawling apartment in the famed San Remo building in Manhattan on the market for $26 million, following the death of his wife, Diana Balmori, in November. The pair first purchased the apartment in 2015 for $17 million. The five-bedroom, 5,000-square-foot apartment includes lush views of Central Park, a private elevator landing, herringbone floors, moldings, a Carrara mantelpiece, and numerous updates from Mr. Pelli and his wife. (Luxury Listings NYC)
Record Number of Canadians Confident That Their Property Values Will Increase
More than half of respondents in a phone poll from the Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index expected their local property values to increase, marking the first time the measure has surpassed 50% since records started in 2008. With 50.1% of respondents now expecting local home prices to rise, that’s the sixth straight week of increases in confidence ratings, while the number of respondents who expected a decline fell from 10.7% to 10%. The confidence in the housing market comes even amid government cooling measures and concerns in other categories, with declining confidence in the areas of job security, personal finances, and the “overall economy.” (Financial Post)
Amid Concerns Over Empty Homes, Canadian Officials Consider Vacant Property Tax
Officials in Vancouver and Toronto are considering levying vacant property taxes, amid increasing speculation that numerous properties in the high-priced cities are being left to sit empty by absentee investors. In spite of disputes over the lack of concrete evidence of a vacancy epidemic, Toronto politicians are considering an extra tax on owners of vacant properties, while Vancouver is already moving forward with a similar policy, enacting an extra 1% tax on the assessed value of a property deemed empty starting with the 2017 tax year. (Owners have until July 1st to rent out their properties through the end of the year to avoid the tax, and the city will be conducting random audits.) (Vancouver Sun)
Gulf Property Investors Warming Back Up to the Turkish Market
Incentives offered by the Turkish government seem to be offsetting political turmoil to create an appealing climate for Gulf investors in Istanbul and nationwide, with GCC countries currently accounting for around 50% of all foreign sales in Turkey, according to property consultant CBRE. Saudi Arabia accounts for the largest proportion of GCC real estate investors in Turkey, with buyers from Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar,and Bahrain also making the list of the top 10 nations for foreign buyers. Earlier this year the Turkish government introduced a “golden visa” plan to offer foreign buyers citizenship in exchange for a property purchase of at least $1 million and an investment of at least $2 million, which combined with new stamp duty and VAT laws to create a more enticing environment for foreign investors. The Turkish government predicts an extra $1 billion in revenue as a result of the new laws. Istanbul has maintained its status as the nation’s top spot for foreign buyers, with Antalya, Bursa and Aydin seeing strong property investment numbers, as well. (Khaleej Times)
Largest Home in Jupiter, Florida Hits Market For $12.5 million
A 17,279-square-foot, $12.5 million mansion has hit the market, making it the largest home for sale in Jupiter, Florida, and the third most expensive home on the market in the area. The estate is currently owned by businessman Dan Colussy, who first purchased the property for $2.1 million in 2003, though the home wasn’t completed until 2009. The property includes hand-painted murals on all ceilings, and a generously sized library with a gas fireplace, as well as built-in walnut bookshelves and a domed, painted ceiling. In addition to a 2,300-square-foot master suite (with its own sitting area and kitchen), the estate features a huge range of extra amenities, such as a meditation area, a music room, a gym, massage rooms, and guest suites with their own morning kitchens and balconies. The outdoor space is home to a garden that produces vegetable, herbs, and a variety of fruit trees, as well as a large, edgeless pool. (Curbed Miami)
Condo Demand Slows in Tokyo, But On the Rise in Osaka
As demand in Tokyo continues to drop, both wealthy investors and local families enticed by affordability are bolstering the market in Osaka, where the number of new condos listed for sale rose 6.4% last year, its second year in a row of increases, according to data for the Haseko Research Institute. With buyers balking at high Tokyo prices (which continue to rise ahead of the 2020 Olympics), buyers appear to be drawn to the more manageable market in Osaka, where the average unit price is 45.7 million yen (around US$401,000), 31% lower than in Tokyo. An official from the Real Estate Economic Institute said that developers have managed to appeal to buyers with both affordability and smaller-sized units. (South China Morning Post)
Dubai’s Mid-Market Properties May Be Set To Suffer More Than the Luxury Sector
Thanks in large part to a steady stream of new housing supply ahead of Expo 2020, rating agency Fitch has bucked the going wisdom of other market analysts to predict a slowdown in rental prices for Dubai’s middle-market properties, while forecasting “resilience” in the higher end of the market. “Residential and commercial real estate supply is likely to accelerate after 2017 in preparation for Expo 2020 and the ability of the market to absorb this new supply will be a key challenge,” a report from Fitch found. “More than 56,000 residential units are due to be completed in the next 24 months—but projects could be delayed or cancelled, reducing the pipeline.” However, while Fitch predicts that performance will be “fragmented,” the report notes that Dubai developers “have significantly reduced their debt compared to pre-crisis levels, giving them more flexibility to weather market cyclicality.” (Gulf News)
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