Technology

6 insights from ‘Million Dollar Listing’ star Ryan Serhant

Real estate agent sheds light on business philosophy at panel hosted by Zillow's StreetEasy

Ryan Serhant, a real estate agent at Nest Seekers International, knows a thing or two about selling real estate. At 30, he stars in the reality TV show “Million Dollar Listing New York,” and counts what he says are some of the world’s biggest movers and shakers as clients.

For a taste of the business philosophy that helps drive his success, chew on these insights he shared during a recent panel on real estate data hosted by StreetEasy in New York City.

1. Embrace data and the companies that provide it to consumers.

Serhant casts StreetEasy, a Zillow-owned New York City-area listing portal, as his “steroid.”

He says he often sees real estate agents hesitate to bring up data from the website, which some agents regard as a threat. But those who portray themselves right off the bat as “information concierges,” curating information from different sources, will have “locked that client in from the beginning,” he said.

“They’ll say, ‘did you see that market report?” Serhant said, speaking of a potential client citing a report from a data aggregator like StreetEasy. “And I’ll say, ‘Absolutely, I did. It was beautiful.”

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Ryan Serhant poses with Katherine Salvio, a real estate agent at NextStopNY, at a panel on real estate data hosted by StreetEasy. Credit: Katherine Salvio

Ryan Serhant poses with Katherine Salvio, a real estate agent at NextStopNY, at a panel on real estate data hosted by StreetEasy. Credit: Katherine Salvio

2. If you’ve got a seller who wants to price their home for much more than it’s worth, show them recent sales of comparable homes and then ask: “Why would you want to buy your own home?”

3. Talk to seller clients every day. That’ll help you build trust with your clients, making it much easier to convince them that making certain adjustments, like accepting a lower price, is in their best interest.

“You’ll be able to say, ‘Listen, this is the only offer we’ve had in two months. What do you want to do?” he said.

4. Give the right data to the right clients.

Some buyers with lots of options are going to want to pore over lots of statistics. Others, perhaps under pressure to act fast, may be more inclined to buy with their hearts.

Besides StreetEasy, Serhant said his favorite data sources are the New York City listing database OLR and Miller Samuel, a real estate appraisal and consultant company,

5. You never know what a home will sell for.

Even if you run a seemingly bulletproof comparative market analysis, your suggested list price might end up miles off — in one direction or another.

Serhant says he’s overpriced homes that have sold way above their asking price, and also heard nothing but crickets after underpricing homes to spark bidding wars.

That’s why having a close relationship with a seller is so important. If you’ve gained their trust, they’ll make the price changes you suggest.

6. “Every market is different, and everybody is smart.”

Not a statement that’s likely to alienate anyone. But Serhant says that his experience working in different housing markets, from Miami to London, have shown him that there are many ways to successfully approach buying and selling real estate.

Consumers hunting for properties in New York City may have a cosmopolitan streak to them, but Serhant says buyers and sellers everywhere are often savvy in their own special ways.

Email Teke Wiggin.