To start things off, I have a little quiz. It is written from a girl’s point of view, so guys, just bear with me.

1) It is Sunday morning. You are running out to preview a condo for a buyer client on a day when you are also holding an open house, and possibly meeting the buyer client in the afternoon. You:

  • a) review the listings that compete with your open house so you can talk intelligently to drop-ins about what’s on the market;

  • b) take one last look at the condo floorplan so you see whether there are closet or layout flaws you want to look at more closely; or

  • c) dig out your pasties so you don’t get nipple show-through in your white blouse.

2) It is Wednesday afternoon. You are getting ready for a second showing of a unit that is “too much” apartment for your client, and her mom — the emotional approver — will see it for the first time. You:

  • a) run a page of statistics on historical price performance, proving that “too much” apartment will actually be a better investment than the “right size” apartment;

  • b) review the selling points of the building, figuring that if you get client and mom to love the location on this go-round, something else will come up; or

  • c) give yourself a fake pedicure with insta-dry nail polish, so you can wear open-toed shoes.

3) It is Friday morning, a time slot you traditionally invest in marketing yourself. You:

  • a) go in to the office to crank out more of a direct-mail drop;

  • b) work on placing an ad highlighting your recent deals in a respected local publication; or

  • c) head to the hairdresser for two hours of blonding and trimming.

The answers, of course, are c), c) and “Why do you have enough time on your hands to write a quiz? Shouldn’t you be at the gym?”

I am officially wrapping up my first year as an agent in New York City. I have traveled miles: when I started, I was knowledgeable but I bumbled around a lot. Now I am informed, I am empathetic, and yet I am still hungry.

I mean literally hungry, because in this career, I’m always dieting. With real estate, the more I master the basics, the more I move into an arena of beauty and sex and presentation.

You think I’m kidding? One of my competitors is a 6-foot-5-inch Swedish guy whose Wikipedia entry mentions his former career as a porn star.

I spend my time trying to be a kinder, gentler broker, and everywhere I turn I have to fight the old-fashioned types. You know them, the hustlers: this is new, this is sexy, buy it now now NOW while it’s hot! I just lost a renter to one of them, someone I had spent two days busting my hump for, and I thought I had worked out that he would at least pay me a referral fee before departing for the land of smoke and mirrors. Turns out, no: why do I deserve the money, all I did was work? The fee will go to the broker who had the better come-on. I’m so sad, and so disappointed, and so fearful … what about my established clients, are the nice homes I got for them enough to keep them tied to me? Or are they going to be picked up by one of the hustlers?

So I do what I can on the “flirt front,” as I call it. I bronze my skin and bleach my teeth, and I am thinner than I was at my wedding. I still need to invest in some serious clothes, but I think the cash for that is coming in soon … not from my impeccable ability to get a client into the right home, or from my tireless customer service. No, I trace my current run of luck to my great new haircut.


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