Ryan Serhant, who launched his own brokerage called “Serhant.” back in September, has made his first round of hires from prominent New York brokerages, including Douglas Elliman, Compass, the Corcoran Group and Modern Spaces.
Serhant’s new hires include Chase Landow, who was formerly a member of the Serhant Team, but moved to Noble Black’s team at Elliman last year; Scott Francis of Corcoran; and Kayla Lee, a broker from Modern Spaces in Long Island City. Jonathan Perrelli and Sean Jadidian (both from Elliman), as well as Compass’ Jason Baker have also been brought on.
On the administrative side, Serhant brought on Natalie Vitebsky as chief financial officer, who was most recently vice president of operations at Elliman, but has also served at that brokerage in the role of CFO, and had a two-year stint as head of finance at Compass. Garrett Derderian, who formerly led data and research divisions at CORE Real Estate and Stribling and Associates before forming his own real estate data company, will be director of market intelligence at Serhant.
When Inman spoke with Serhant back in September about forming his own brokerage, the celebrity broker said that while he wanted “to be consistently growing,” his focus was to hire “only the best” and emphasize “quality over quantity” with any new recruits.
“We’re moving as strategically and quickly as we can, and it’s been good,” Serhant told Inman in a conversation on Wednesday. “We have our inner team goals and our company goals that we set up, and we’ve surpassed them. Our first batch of agents, even as a small group, do about $1 billion in sales a year, and that’s [just] the agents.”
Serhant also pointed out that Vitebsky and Derderian have significant experience in their fields that will provide valuable support to the brokerage’s agents.
“We’re looking for experienced agents who have great energy — it’s all about energy for me,” Serhant said. “Energy, empathy and enthusiasm. Those are my three Es. If you’re enthusiastic about the work, if you can have empathy for other people, and if you wake up every day with great energy, you can be an amazing sales person, and so far everyone we’ve brought in has all three of those. We also have a strong commitment to diversity, so we’re looking for a diverse group of agents as we build our company from the ground up in year one.”
Serhant added that the individuals he’s brought on in this initial hiring round have all been referrals to the company from third parties, or were personally invited to apply to the brokerage. The company has received about 4,000 job applications at this point, and Serhant said there are still many to go through.
Lee and Francis both cited Serhant’s forming a new brokerage as a game-changing development that made them want to work with him. When Serhant led his own team, the appeal wasn’t really there.
Lee told The Real Deal that working on Serhant’s team in the past would have been a “step back” in a position under another agent. “But as soon as I heard that he created his own company, it was a total game-changer,” Lee said. “I can be an agent under his brand, but I’m not under another agent.”
Francis likewise said he wasn’t interested in joining a team during Serhant’s days as a team leader, although the two had conversations about collaborating at that time. “Now it really felt like the right time,” Francis told The Real Deal, citing in particular Serhant’s attitude towards working remotely. Serhant previously told Inman that although his agents would all have access to an office, they would not be tied to any office location, and would be free to work wherever they want.
The brokerage’s commitment to education is something Serhant said he believes is also attracting people to his company now, especially as they continue to try and navigate business through the pandemic. Serhant. recently developed a social media ads course to help agents learn how to sell homes through social media, and plans to formally announce the training in a few weeks.
“If you can’t do open houses, if you can’t go to networking events, if you’re not going around shaking hands and meeting people the way you have for the last 50 years, how are you supposed to get new leads?” Serhant asked Inman.
“So, a lot of people are resorting to just cold calling, and other than that, they’re having a really hard time. But, if you know how to run the correct social ads, both lead ads and listing ads, and you know to use the Facebook algorithm, you can let the Facebook ads manager do a lot of that networking for you and it’s an amazing tool that most real estate agents know of, but they just have no idea how to use it.”
Corcoran Group and Compass declined to comment on their agent departures to Serhant. In recent months, Josh Golan, who was previously a member of The Serhant Team with Nest Seekers moved over to Compass and formed his own team. Associate brokers Jenna Amicucci-DeChristopher and Ivy Kramp also left The Serhant Team for Compass within the past six months.
Eric Benaim, CEO and president of Modern Spaces, said of Lee’s departure, “Kayla left on good terms; she is always welcome back and I wish her the best of luck.” Douglas Elliman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.