In this weekly column, real estate agents across the nation share stories of the lessons they’ve learned during their time in the industry.
As one of the top producing agents at Warburg Realty, and one of REAL Trends 2019 top real estate agents, Arlene Reed specializes in the kinds of New York City luxury properties dreams are made of.
How does she help her high-powered clients make the right moves when they are buying or selling New York’s most glamorous addresses? By trusting herself and using her vast market knowledge to guide her clients to the right option.
How long have you been in the business?
Selling real estate for me is far more than a career. It is a passion that is both satisfying and rewarding. I have been a top-producing broker at Warburg Realty for more than 27 years and was the No. 1 producing broker at Warburg in 2018.
My interest in architecture, interior design, business and people made it an ideal career choice for me.
Prior to coming to Warburg, I had a successful clothing design company. I loved designing. But I was always drawn to real estate. When a friend offered me the opportunity to join Warburg, I jumped at it. I have never been disappointed!
The real estate business is an ever-changing one that is impacted by a myriad of factors, including economic ones, sociological ones and others. This is both the problem and what makes it exciting and intriguing. Every day is new and interesting with many lessons to be learned.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself expanding my business into more new development and into commercial real estate. I like doing a little bit of everything. I am currently working with buyers interested in purchasing property for sound stages in New York.
I love the challenge. I also plan to be a partner in buying and renovating properties, taking advantage of my design skills.
What is one big lesson you have learned in real estate?
One important lesson I have learned over the years in dealing with customers is that even those who are most informed never really have enough information to make sound judgements.
Their initial desires and aspirations will frequently change as they learn more about the real estate marketplace. It is our job to bring focus and direction to this process.
Before I take out new customers, I try to learn everything about them that I can. The more I know about them, the better I can serve them. This more focused information allows me to direct them to locations and properties that they never would have thought about.
A frequent comment is that “I never even knew this existed.” I have had many experiences where customers have purchased properties entirely different from the ones they initially asked about.
How did you learn it?
I learned this first and foremost by listening. I also carefully analyze not only my successes but even more importantly my failures. I pride myself in educating my customers about the realities of the marketplace.
Remember this is an ever-changing dynamic entity which they may not fully comprehend. I believe the more properties they see, the better they understand value.
I realized early on that customers like to see variety. It enables them to understand price, location and what their real priorities are. For some, light and views are most important. For others, space is. As Sy Syms, the clothier used to say, “An educated consumer is our best customer.”
Several years ago, I was referred to a high-powered business couple from California looking to purchase a three-bedroom condominium on the Upper West Side. This was the neighborhood they were most familiar with. They were starting a new business in New York and planned to use the apartment frequently.
After learning as much as I could about their desires and aspirations, I knew they were not going to love the Upper West Side. I also knew that they understandably had little or no knowledge of what was happening downtown.
I took them to see several apartments on the Upper West Side. I then took them downtown and introduced them to many of the neighborhoods and showed them the exciting new construction that was taking place.
They fell in love with the NoMad area and purchased a prewar condominium under construction. They expressed profound appreciation for my thinking out of the box in taking them to this area.
What advice would you give new agents?
Do your homework. Know the marketplace. Learn as much about your customers as you can. Be patient, be honest, and be diligent. Educate your customers!
Remember that purchasing a home is one of the most important things that people do in their lifetime. We are in a noble profession. Our expertise and understanding will help to successfully guide them through this often complex and difficult journey.
Christy Murdock Edgar is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant with Writing Real Estate. She is also a Florida Realtors faculty member. Follow Writing Real Estate on Facebook, Twitter, Instagr