In this weekly column, real estate agents across the nation share stories of the lessons they’ve learned during their time in the industry.

Ilan Bracha

With more than $2 billion in transactions, Ilan Bracha has built an enviable business with a global network of clients whose assets top $10 billion.

But those big numbers were generated with some good old-fashioned hard work: cold-calling and prospecting.

How did he build such a big brokerage from scratch in such a short time? Through appreciation and care for buyers, sellers and the team he leads.

How long have you been in the business?

I’ve been in the business for 20 years now. I came to America when I was very young, just 21 years old. I had just finished serving three years in the Israeli army where I was the commander of 120 soldiers.

Shortly after I arrived in NYC, a very special man told me I had the personality to be in real estate, so I got my start calling sellers for seven to eight hours a day using the blue book. I actively prospected for listings, and over the years, I was able to build upon that initial success.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I’d like to continue the work I’m passionate about, which is matching buyers and sellers to help them to reach their real estate goals. I’d like to continue to grow my company, Keller Williams NYC, and add more talented, successful agents and business tools.

As the industry is becoming more and more digital-focused, KW International has already committed on an international and national level to focus on technology and has spent a lot of resources on this endeavor.

What’s one big lesson you’ve learned in real estate?

You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with. Keep looking for talented people, and never be complacent. Don’t over-leverage your holdings.

How did you learn it?

By taking action, calculated risks, and of course, failing at times. I made my way and am now owner of the third-largest brokerage in the city. Throughout that journey, I learned that your mindset is key — the only way to keep a strong outlook is to have a great support system around you.

Technology will continue to evolve and more tools will be available to consumers and professionals. But at the end of the day, we are dealing with people. Having a genuine interest and listening to people to help to solve their problems is all that it takes to develop meaningful relationships and business opportunities.

I like to live by the words of educator Peter Drucker: “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”

What advice would you give to new agents?

Never stop growing. Stay hungry and humble. Commit to your passion and cultivate it daily. Learn, research, visit as many properties as possible to learn the market. It all comes down to people, so build your relationships, and continue to expand your network.

Are you an agent with a story everyone can learn something from? Reach out to us ( We look forward to featuring more of our best agents and brokers in a future edition of “Lesson learned.”

Christy Murdock Edgar is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant with Writing Real Estate in Alexandria, Virginia. Follow Writing Real Estate on Facebook or Twitter

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