Each week, we talk to agents across the country about what they’ve learned along the way (and what they wish they had known as new agents). This week, pioneering NYC broker Ted Karagannis of Warburg Realty explains why keeping an open mind and letting the client take the lead can pay big dividends.
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 real estate professionals, clients rely on us for our expertise. According to broker Ted Karagannis, however, sometimes we have to let what we think we know take a back seat to the client’s preference and perspective. Find out how this expert in design and development learned to put aside first impressions and focus instead on the client’s point of view.
How long have you been in the business?
I have been in the New York City real estate business since 2005. I am an interior designer, jewelry and clothing designer, and a yoga instructor. After my first co-op purchase in NYC for myself, I realized I would be a great real estate agent with my eclectic professional background.
Coming onto the real estate scene, I was one of the first agents to “stage” an apartment before putting it on the market. Right away I was given press coverage regarding the benefits of staging. This new profession of staging and selling real estate felt like I was hitting the lottery each week, putting three apartments into contract.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Within the next five years, I would like to see myself still designing, constructing and flipping houses, something which I have now achieved, and I am starting to appreciate the rewards.
What’s one big lesson you’ve learned in real estate, and how did you learn it?
One big lesson I have learned in the New York real estate world is never to judge a book by its cover. Also, a property that I may not like, my buyer may walk in and fall madly in love with.
I was selling a penthouse apartment, having a summer open house, and a buyer came into the apartment. Without looking at the interior of the apartment, they went straight outside to a wrap-around terrace, where they stood for 15 minutes, smoking one cigarette after another.
I was dealing with three other buyers. Once I was free to walk over and ask the buyer if I could assist in any way, the buyer said: “I am going to buy this apartment.” I then asked: “Would you like to see the inside of the apartment?” The buyer replied, “My husband and real estate agent are on their way here, and my agent will give you an offer.”
As happy as I was to receive an offer, I honestly did not think that this was a real buyer, due to their clothing, hair and chain-smoking. Well, this buyer did buy the penthouse and still happily occupies the incredible space.
What advice would you give to new agents?
My advice to new agents is to listen to your clients — they will tell you exactly what you need to know. It’s never about you as the agent, but it’s all about your client.
Second, never put your opinions out there, as the client’s taste may be 100 percent the opposite of what your taste is.
Third, never judge a client by their appearance because they may turn out to be the most loyal, lifelong client you will ever have.
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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