New York City has long been recognized as one of the greatest cities in the world—a bustling metropolis that never slows down. And while no one knows exactly what the real estate landscape will look like as the future unfolds, one thing is clear: Three of the area’s foremost Power Brokers are committed to supporting one another and doing what it takes to stand out in the most competitive market in the world.
In an RISMedia Real Estate CEO Exchange first, Bess Freedman, CEO, Brown Harris Stevens; Dottie Herman, CEO, Douglas Elliman Real Estate; and Pam Liebman, president and CEO, The Corcoran Group, joined John Featherston, president and CEO, RISMedia, as he moderated the panel session “If You Can Make It Here: Competitive Insights From NYC’s Power Players” during the exclusive event—which gathered more than 300—that took place in the heart of New York City on September 18 and 19.
“Nothing is happening in the New York market with the three of them here,” joked Featherston as he kicked off the lively discussion that focused on both the challenges and opportunities facing the industry today.
While there are always going to be market challenges to deal with as the industry continues to change, in New York specifically, getting back to a fluid market is paramount.
“We need a massive price correction,” noted Freedman. “While we’re dealing with an oversupply of homes, the demand hasn’t caught up yet, so we must articulate to sellers to get prices down in order to get the market fluid again.”
“New York has to wake up before everyone leaves,” added Herman, who wholeheartedly believes that good brokers and companies will make it through any market.
As if getting the massive New York City market moving again weren’t challenging enough, real estate professionals also have to deal with venture capital money as agents are being solicited to leave their firms.
“There’s a lot of funny money out there, but this business is all about people, and we’ve been able to grow by believing in people and helping them create successful businesses,” said Liebman. “When someone offers them funny money, they’re competing with an unsustainable business model.”
“There are a million different models, so agents have a choice,” explained Herman. “And we all lose people, sometimes due to the fact that people have to try something different just to try it.”
But is the practice of buying a market and agents sustainable?
“Only time will tell,” said Freedman. “That being said, agents need to be careful of what they’re stepping into.”
Consolidation within the business is another topic that must remain front and center as we head toward the future.
“We must be cautious when it comes to consolidation,” said Freedman. “Agents need to feel connected and as though they’re a part of something, and when you’re growing too quickly, something often gets lost in the sauce.”
According to Herman, it’s not how quickly you consolidate, but rather, making sure the culture is a fit. A critical component of all three organizations, culture is key when it comes to recruiting and retaining agents.
“We all have different cultures in our companies, but they’re all inclusive,” said Liebman. “We all understand what it means to be in this business long-term and that agents are the future.”
Challenges aside, Freedman, Herman and Liebman recognize the opportunities facing their organizations today—and are stepping up in a big way to leverage them to their benefit.
“There is opportunity everywhere, but the biggest one is taking control of data again and bringing things back,” said Liebman. “We have to have the guts to ask ourselves whether we’re going to let our short-term satisfaction jeopardize our long-term ability to operate in the industry the way we have for a long time.”
“Not only do we need to have a system in place where all the info is, but also, agents need to go where the consumer is going,” said Freedman. “There’s no MLS in NYC—and we suffer because of that.”
“We’re lucky to be dealing with good competition in the city,” concluded Herman. “In the end, the best women will still stand.”
For CEO Exchange continuing coverage, visit RISMedia.com.
Paige Tepping is RISMedia’s managing editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.