David Michonski is CEO and chairman for Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy, a major real estate brokerage company in New York City. The company was originally founded in 1988 by William Morris Hunt III and JoAnne Kennedy — David Michonski and Coldwell Banker acquired the company in 1996.
Michonski will speak at the Real Estate Connect conference in New York City, which runs from Jan. 7-9, 2009.
He answered a set of questions posed by Inman News:
What do you see happening in the real estate market in 2009?
A bottoming and slow recovery. Prices should bottom in the winter and it should be a recovering spring market. There is just too much pent-up demand and with building permits plunging and with new construction grinding to a halt. Everything is now in place to sop up the huge excess inventory. That should start in the spring (if not sooner), and inventory should be declining through most of 2009.
What advice do you have to help real estate agents and brokers get through this market?
Be patient and keep developing relationships by constantly communicating with people. When this is over, consumers will remember the agent who reached out and called them and talked to them when it was darkest. Stay positive. No one wants to deal with a real estate agent who is negative. We like positive people and when it comes time to buy or sell, consumers want to deal with agents who exemplify good cheer.
What sparked the idea to start your company?
The idea was to bring a national franchise to New York City where there had never been one before. It worked. Today everyone either is national in New York City or claims to be in one form or another.
What made you get into real estate?
I was a college professor teaching philosophy and classics and got into real estate to make money and support a growing family.
What’s been your biggest challenge in running the business?
Managing expectations. In New York City, people’s expectations are that you will be huge within minutes of forming a company. It has taken us 13 years to become one of the largest Coldwell Banker franchisees and we have grown too fast for our own good. I wish we could have grown more slowly.
What new features are in the pipeline? Can you share any future plans, goals?
We have invented and patented a new software that tracks all advertising calls, called Ad Tracker. It is a … technology that will save real estate companies enormous sums going forward.
What lesson did you learn in the last year?
Save money for a rainy day.
What would your second career choice be and why?
Teaching. I am just good at it, and I love the opportunity to uncover the talent within people and stimulate their minds and energize their emotions.
What is the biggest problem in the real estate market today, and how would you fix it?
The independent contract status. It means people come into the business for freedom, but in reality the agents need structure and the more structure the more successful they will be. Our independent contractor status actually works against the agents’ success.
What do you most enjoy about working in the real estate industry?
Handling the most important asset in someone’s life.
Tell us something we don’t already know about you.
I have always wanted to sing and dance. I fulfilled the dancing part early on in my life and still love to dance with my wife, but the singing part really has hurt. I just cannot carry a tune, and I am tone deaf. So I hired a singing coach (who was fabulous) but who made me even more insecure by telling me that I actually had a beautiful voice, but could not hear it. So here I am, always lip-synching when near a microphone.
Hear Michonski speak at Real Estate Connect in New York City, Jan. 7-9, 2009. The conference program and registration are available online via the Connect Web site.
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