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This newsletter is to get you thinking about real estate in a multitude of ways, from different angles. I want you to know what to look for in the news and understand how a number of different forces can impact our industry. I want to show you how marketing properties is continually evolving and I want to help you release your inner creativity. I also want to give you a place where you can be recognized for your incredible work and inspire each other to keep pushing for greater heights.

Sound good? Let’s jump in!





The news that Amazon is teaming up with Realogy is MASSIVE. The article is about how the partnership will be used to generate quality leads (good for Realogy) and further Amazon’s “house cred” with new buyers. In addition to this project, Amazon has been pushing to get Alexa built into new homes and developments. Both articles highlight how evolving technology continues to transform every aspect of business and life. Remember when getting Bluetooth in your car was a luxury? The same trend is happening with homes and the home buying process. As brokers, it’s our job to adjust and use all this new tech both to sell homes and to run our businesses.





While many people still believe that real estate is a good investment, this article presents pretty convincing evidence to the contrary. My take? I think lot of people assume they can buy any property, hold it for a few years, and then sell it on for a nice profit. As brokers, we know that isn’t how it works. There are so many other factors that go into it. BUT that doesn’t mean real estate is a bad investment. It just means that, like individual stocks, some properties will give you more return than others and timing is everything.

It also means that you have to know what your buyer wants to get out of the house. If an investor wants a return on the property, know which properties will give that to them and how they can make it happen. If new parents want to prioritize a school district or a cul-de-sac over everything else, know that lifestyle over ROI is perfectly fine and explain it in a way that makes your clients comfortable with their choice. It is our responsibility to keep our buyers as informed as possible so that they can make the decision that best fits their goals. Know your buyers. Know your market. 






The above graphic shows a downward trend in Manhattan home prices that began in 2014 (which happens to be the year I bought my place in Hudson Square, funny enough). Although many of you don’t sell in Manhattan, the point I wanted to make applies to all of you. The way you adapt to a downward trend in a specific market is by diversifying. My team has adapted by expanding into places like Brooklyn, Long Island City, and New Jersey. It’s a little like gambling. You can ride the hot hand for a while but when you start losing it might be time move on to something else to cover yourself.





Here’s another NYC-based article with a broad takeaway. A new progressive tax on homes over $1 million was set to take effect in July. What happened? I closed more deals in June than I ever did in any month in my entire career. I think we hit $3 million in GCI. 


What does this mean for you? It means that you have be aware of every single thing that can impact buyer urgency and then make your buyers aware of those things to help get them over the line. Be annoying if you have to. Bring it up with them on emails and over the phone. The mansion tax meant that I could create the sense of a good deal and good value just by informing my clients that if they didn’t close soon they’d be on the hook for more money. There’s nothing buyers love more than getting a good deal.  





This article on staging was a quick, fun read and made some good points. I agree with most of them, but not so much with others. Before photos are fine but they don’t always work. The first impression is usually the best impression, so you don’t want the first impression to be anything other than your best. Think of staging like makeup. You wouldn’t show up to dinner all done up and then pull out a photo of what you looked like when you were getting ready, would you? As for having pets in photos, I’m of the opinion that it’s best to leave them out. It’s something I’ve tried in the past but I’ve lost buyers because of it. Some people are not dog people, or cat people, or any-kind-of-animal people. Some people have allergies and worry that there’s now fur on all of the furniture and all over the floors. Putting a baby in the photos for a two bedroom home, though? Consider the place sold. 


You probably know this already, but everyone should stage if they can. It helps buyers get a feel for the different spaces and gets them thinking about how they would live there. 






HERO is one of our new development projects in Long Island City. For the launch, we had to answer this question: How do you draw people to a construction site on a Wednesday on a scorching summer night and make it memorable? Our outside-the-box answer was to give them the chance to do something they’ve probably never done before. That, combined with appropriate pricing, brought the emotional side of buying to the fore.


We had three model units ready to show but before they got to them we gave everyone a can of spray paint and had them tag the concrete walls and floors. Over 300 people showed up that night. 51 came to our open house that weekend during the hottest days of the year. We’ve already sent out more than 20 contracts and have dozens of private appointments lined up. 


I know many of you aren’t selling entire buildings, but the lesson remains the same. Get your buyers emotionally invested and good things will follow. Branding is a crucial aspect of that. Part of the reason we gave the property a name was because the address is 24-16 Queen Plaza South. No one knows what 24-16 Queens Plaza South is. We needed something that people could latch on to. And besides, who doesn’t want to be a HERO? Get it? 


Last point here. Branding doesn’t mean you should just stick to the property itself. Sometimes it’s about the block you’re on, or the cul-de-sac, or the neighborhood, or the county. Everything is marketable.




Technology has transformed the way we shop. Everything is online. Homes are no different. No one is checking the paper for new listings every morning or calling a brokerage firm to ask for their inventory (okay maybe there’s one person somewhere that does this but you get my point). And since everyone is used to online shopping and people are creatures of habit, they’re used to defaulting to the price bracket filter. 


I was selling a townhouse in Boerum Hill in Brooklyn. 353 State Street. It was worth somewhere in high 3s or low 4s (in millions), but the seller wanted the list price to be above $4 million. Because of that, we were getting buyers that had their search brackets set up to $5 million and our house looked overpriced when compared to others. Eventually, we convinced our seller to lower the price to $3,999,999 and lo and behold we saw a ton of new interest. We opened up our buyer pool just by pricing a little lower. We got an offer from direct buyers that had never seen the house before because it had never fallen within their search parameters. 

Ever have a seller stop replying to your emails and then see their listing pop up one day with another broker? It’s a crappy feeling, and it’s happened to all of us. It’s happened to me many times, the most recent example being a home at 224 East 14th Street. Where did it go wrong for me? I got too excited about the uniqueness of the space and I let it cloud my judgement. It was going to be filmed for Million Dollar Listing NY. I fell in love with the property, got overconfident, and thought we could get a premium for it. We didn’t, we lost the listing, and then we saw it listed with another firm for a lot less than we had it for (which, in hindsight, was probably closer to what it was worth).

The lesson is that no matter how much you love a property, you have to keep your emotion out of it. Remain objective. Price your listings appropriately and set client expectations at a level you can manage.

Since the course hasn’t started yet and we are just beginning to build this community, the first Agent of the Month will be one of my own team members. But going forward, I want to highlight one of YOU each month, so keep posting all of your awesome deals and marketing strategies on the Facebook Page. If you’d like to nominate yourself or someone else, email with the subject line, “Agent of the Month,” and let us know what makes you or the agent you nominated unique.




Ivy has been a part of my team for years, and like many agents, she didn’t start off in real estate. She had a career in advertising before transitioning, and she’s used her past life to inform her decisions as an agent. Right now, she’s selling a new development property in Tribeca. It’s a nice building with impeccable units, but there are plenty of those in Tribeca. She realized she needed to do something more to differentiate, so she partnered with a branding agency to create a sleek, bold marketing campaign that challenges the status quo. Instead of using the address as the building name, it’s been named Rogue. 

In addition to doing standard online ads and SEO, we’re running targeted OOH placements. Everything, from brochure copy to the logo, is meant to be unique and against the grain, and Ivy has been the driving force behind it.

In this first newsletter, I’ll just be giving you a challenge. I’ll be giving you a new one every month moving forward. Several of my favorite submissions will be spotlighted in the Facebook Community and a winner will be featured in the following month’s newsletter. 



Send me your most creative marketing campaign for a single listing. Add photos and give us the results. To submit, simply post your campaign to the Facebook group. 


Ryan Serhant

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