Marko Arsic and Jason Lau were friends first, and admirers of each other’s real estate work ethic, before they decided to join forces.
Both ranked individually in the top 25 agents at Corcoran Group’s upscale Manhattan office, the pair, Marco.Arsic@corcoran.com and Jason.Lau@Corcoran.com, teamed up in January 2022 with an eye toward creating a more powerful presence in the competitive New York City and Brooklyn markets. On track to exceed $100 million in sales before the year is out, it appears they are well on their way toward meeting the goal.
Arsic, who was born in Serbia, earned a degree in business management from the University of Belgrade and emigrated to the U.S. eight years ago, determined to establish a presence in New York real estate.
“I grew up watching shows about Manhattan real estate on Serbian television,” he said. “This was the first and only career I’ve ever wanted.”
Hong Kong-born Lau, who arrived here with his family 22 years ago, holds a degree in finance and economics and built a successful career in banking before taking up real estate four years ago.
“The real estate market excited and challenged me,” said Lau. “It was the best decision I’ve ever made.”
The two, who speak at least five languages between them, have added an administrative assistant and a social media manager to the team to help expedite transactions and drive business. But it is their belief in their own skills and in each other that powers their united journey.
Barbara Pronin: Marko, you were Corcoran’s Rookie of the Year in 2019, and Jason was already a top performer. You were both seen as rising stars in the agency. Why did you decide to join forces?
Jason Lau: I think the universe kind of had things lined up for us. When I landed an exclusive listing and needed to do an open house, I sent a blast email to Corcoran agents looking for someone to assist. Marko was the first one to reach out, and that’s what brought us together.
Marko Arsic: We were competitors, of course, but as we got to know one another, we really admired each other’s professionalism and work ethic. We found ourselves doing a lot of brainstorming, and since we both enjoyed the New York City lifestyle, we began spending some of our off hours together too, so we got to be pretty good friends.
Jason Lau: You know, a good business partnership is a lot like a marriage. It takes mutual commitment, a lot of trust in each other and similar goals. What Marko and I did was a little professional ‘dating,’ I guess, and it didn’t take long to realize we were really on the same wavelength – and that collaborating would give us twice the impact, more flexible time management, and a stronger way to build a brand.
BP: What, if anything, did you do differently once you became a team?
MA: We were able to manage our time better and connect with more people, and we doubled down on our promise to provide customized service. As business grew, we hired a social media manager to help tell our success stories online. Now we have something like 300,000 followers, so we always have a ready source of leads.
JL: At the end of the day, we know that the biggest share of the business is done by a small pool of brokers, and we are determined to be among the leaders.
BP: How do you divide the workload?
JL: I tend to specialize in new developments, and Marko in resales and condos. But we are always available to each other/s clients, and they know and appreciate that.
MA: Also, we’ve been able to adapt as the market has fluctuated in the time we’ve been working together. A lot of my business comes from social media these days, while Jason’s are most often referral-based.
BP: Speaking of market fluctuations, what are you seeing in the day-to-day?
MA: In New York City, it’s all about pricing, and prices have so far been more or less holding.
JL: Manhattan is still a showcase market. A lot of people fled during the worst of the pandemic, but they’ve been coming back, and some of them are cash buyers. But as interest rates rise, we are working with sellers to help them rein in expectations in what may be a cooling market.
MA: At the same time, we work with a lot of investors, and there should be opportunity there – so, on the whole, we are pretty optimistic.
BP: Any advice for others who are considering teaming?
MA: For us, having shared personal interests as well as professional admiration made teaming an easy decision.
JL: We have great energy for connecting with others, and that has kept us on track to meet our first year’s goal. It’s gratifying, but we’re just beginning. I’m excited to see what we can accomplish together in the months and years ahead.