Maxim Mitnik is a sales and leasing executive at FirstService Realty.
Describe what you do in one sentence: I’m a problem-solver with a passion for real estate.
Degree, school: Bachelor of Science – S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications – Syracuse University
Location: New York
What’s your favorite activity outside of work and why?
I love spending time with my family. I try to make it home to Boston or see my extended family in Florida any chance I get.
What’s your favorite classic piece of literature and why?
“The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. Simple yet profound. Can be interpreted in many different ways. Makes you think no matter how much life experience you have.
Are you the first entrepreneur in your family?
No. My mother has owned a very successful hair salon for more than 15 years in an affluent neighborhood in Massachusetts. She started with no formal small-business education but persevered by providing a great experience to her customers and a family-type atmosphere for her staff.
I try to follow those same principles in everything that I do. I am very proud of what she has accomplished.
Why’d you decide to join your company?
Startup feel with support from an established company. We are the brokerage arm of one of the largest property management companies in New York City. Our position gives us seamless access into what goes on in our elaborate building portfolio. We also exclusively represent one of the largest downtown rental portfolios in Manhattan.
Describe a time when you felt particularly insecure about the future of your company. How did you bounce back?
There have been a lot of adjustments since being absorbed by our parent company. We had to work hard on rebranding and getting the word out on who we are. In recent months, everything has come together, and with the launch of our new website coming shortly, I know we will be in a good position to excel in the future.
What would you describe as your company’s biggest victory since you joined it?
Since joining, we have won new building accounts both in Brooklyn and the Financial District over far larger brokerage companies. We simply proved to the owners that we could provide a better service for them.
What’s been the biggest obstacle your business has encountered, and how have you dealt with it?
There was a time when I joined a team at a big firm in New York. Although a great learning experience, it became clear that it was not the best situation for me. I like to be in the forefront of the business intricacies and make the deals and mistakes myself. That is the best for way for me to learn.
What puzzles you most about the industry?
I wonder how my generation’s preference for urban living and the flexibility of renting instead of buying will affect future real estate markets.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned about building a business?
Keeping detailed notes. Something as simple as sending a card for a client’s birthday or remembering their pet’s name is important. Little things like that can set you apart.
What’s the most overrated real estate technology?
All of the New York listing services that do not require exclusive representation for posting. It creates an environment for false, misleading or incomplete information.
How will the role of the real estate agent change over the next five years?
As transparency in the industry continues to grow, it is imperative that listing brokers be able to handle deals that do not involve a buyer’s broker. I see a trend of savvy buyers/renters going to the listing agent directly because they might be able to get a better deal on price and/or fees.
What motivates you more: power or money?
Power, because it allows you to control your business, your freedom, and make true changes in other people’s lives. One of the best parts about my work is that it is mine. Being able to succeed on my own terms is priceless.
What is your biggest professional fear?
Eventually moving back home to Massachusetts and learning a new market.
What is your biggest personal fear?
I have an ongoing list of things I want to do both personally and professionally, and my biggest fear is not being able to check off every single item.
Whom do you respect most in the industry?
The landlords and homeowners that give back. Real estate can be so cut and dried — all about the money especially with investor/owners, but I know some who graciously give back by allocating some units in their buildings to disabled people.
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