Erik Conover’s first real estate video was a seven-minute tour of his 300-square-foot studio apartment in Manhattan. Back then, Conover focused on producing travel vlogs of his international adventures, but the more than 1.5 million views and 2,000-plus comments under his apartment tour video spurred him to focus on his burgeoning love of real estate.
Fast forward two years, 26 luxury listing videos, a collaboration with Ryan Serhant, and 1.48 million subscribers later, Conover has decided to officially launch his real estate career with Nest Seekers International as a licensed agent and the host of two new Nest Seekers’ YouTube series that take a deep dive into luxury real estate and development.
“We are thrilled to welcome Erik into the Nest Seekers family,” Nest Seekers International Founding President and CEO Eddie Shapiro said in a prepared statement. “He has amassed an incredibly large audience and viewership with his YouTube channel and his ‘Luxury Listings’ series.”
“He’s really tapped into a new innovative way to market and brand yourself and has created a massive following along the way,” Shapiro added. “His talent in understanding brands, marketing and creating the highest quality of real estate content as well as selling homes will be a huge asset and great addition to the family.”
In a phone call with Inman, Conover shared his backstory with content creation, real estate, and how his decision to become an agent and join Nest Seekers International came to fruition.
“Joining Nest Seekers is a great honor and privilege,” Conover said in a written statement before the phone call. “Eddie is one of the most hardworking and tenacious people I’ve met in the real estate business.”
“His experience and vision of building and empowering great talent and brands within the firm as well his expansive knowledge of luxury and ultra-luxury markets make this the greatest opportunity,” he added. “I’m happy to have found my new home in the Nest Seekers family and am even more excited about what’s to come.”
When Conover moved to New York City in 2013, he only had $1,500 and a dream of living in one of the world’s most iconic cities. Although he graduated from Northeastern University with degrees in public advocacy and rhetoric and business marketing, Conover wasn’t sure of his career path and worked a series of jobs for a luxury catering company, a luxury hotel, and a restaurant in Saks Fifth Avenue while learning about filmmaking.
Little did he know, those jobs gave Conover an invaluable look into the world of luxury living — something that would help him understand how to market the most luxurious properties across the United States.
“You learn [about] people working in a luxury industry, because you’re around individuals who have either worked extremely hard, or they’ve built something for themselves,” Conover told Inman. “And that level of service and attention to detail is at a higher level of any ordinary run-of-the-mill establishment, hotel, or restaurant and people are paying for that premium service.”
After his 300-square-foot apartment tour went viral, Conover continued to create travel content and partner with international brands such as Dyson, BMW and American Express. His stellar filmmaking skills caught the eye of former Nest Seekers International agent and current Serhant broker-owner Ryan Serhant, who asked Conover to collaborate for one his first YouTube videos.
“I saw there was a new genre on YouTube to tap into,” Conover explained in his latest YouTube video. “It just so happened that around this time in February of 2018 Ryan Serhant and his team reached out to me about his YouTube channel and wanted to collaborate.”
The duo produced four videos that garnered more than 16.5 million views and officially launched Conover’s career as YouTube’s go-to luxury property tour guide. Since then, he’s collaborated with agents such as Sally Forster Jones and James Harris to tour their multi-million-dollar listings.
“Working over the past two years filming all these incredible properties in New York, California, and all over the world, it’s really taught me how to appreciate a thoughtfully designed space,” Conover said of how his luxury listing series deepened his love of real estate.
Over time, Conover began thinking about becoming a licensed agent, but he wanted to keep perfecting his filmmaking skills and learning as much as he could about the industry before going all in.
“I reverse-engineered getting into this position, and it all started with the quality of the content,” Conover said. “Initially, when I first really got into these tours, my first instinct was ‘I need to get my license.'”
“But I perfected my craft — I edit the majority of all my videos, my fiance and I work, just the two of us, in creating the content on my YouTube channel,” he added. “I really just wanted to become the best I could at giving these tours before I went forward to get the license, and then dive into the actual business end of this and do real estate transactions.”
The coronavirus pandemic pushed Conover’s travel content to a grinding halt and gave him the opportunity to finally pursue a real estate license and launch his career as a real estate agent in New York City.
“Throughout history, there have been periods of times where, when things don’t seem to be going the best, and that is the absolute perfect time to take a jump into a new industry,” he explained. “I have been filming these properties for just over two years, and I fell in love with acquiring the knowledge of the industry and working with some of the top brokerages in the world.”
“I just really hit it off Nest Seekers and the CEO, and our vision really aligned for what we think the future of this industry is going to look like, moving 5 or 10 years down the line,” he continued.
In the same phone call with Conover, Nest Seekers International CEO Eddie Shapiro said now, more than ever, content is king as the pandemic pushes buyers and sellers toward a totally digital real estate experience. Moreover, he said consumers’ interest in behind-the-scenes content is only strengthening — making an agent like Conover a must-have in a quickly-evolving market.
“Erik is not our first star agent,” Shapiro told Inman. “Our Hamptons operations have been on a Netflix show called Million Dollar Beach House, and that’s been in the works of the past couple of years.”
“There have been other agents who have been on reality shows and various media outlets, [and] some very powerful brands within our brands that were built as a result of all that, and so we’re staying in that space and we’ve made it a big part of our business,” he added. “Erik has been part of that space for a number of years and we’ve been watching him, and I think the timing is actually better now than it was before.”
Shapiro said buyers are counting on video and virtual content to make their decisions and investing in high-quality video content is a smart move for any brokerage looking to stay successful now and in the future.
“Real estate has been one of the few industries that have done well through this crazy time that we’re in,” he said. “Now that the winds are back, we feel really good about now furthering our visual content, and media content.”
“More than ever, particularly in this world, where so many people are making their decisions through advanced forms of showing property, content is king,” he added. “That whole evolution in media to taking interest in real-life businesses and real-life stories has been an ongoing thing for the past 10 years, and for us, it feels like if you’re not doing it, then you’re missing out on a big part of where the world is going.”
He continued, “So, you know, I don’t know that we’re visionaries, but we’re just staying with the times and responding to what’s happening in the world and what’s happening with media. So there can’t be a more perfect synergy in this case.”
Conover already has nine co-listings with experienced Nest Seekers International agents and has begun working on furthering the brokerage’s media empire with Legacy and Icon, two upcoming YouTube series.
“Throughout this process, I’m really just kind of moving into it with an open mind,” he said. “I’m really just open to learning and more importantly, collaborating with the fellow agents here at Nest Seekers and show that selling the property isn’t just a one-man show.”
“I’m really just excited to learn,” he added.