Twenty-one years ago, Kane Manera made an 11,000-mile journey from Australia to the United States to pursue acting. While scurrying from set to set on the bustling streets of New York City, Manera fell in love with the city’s architecture — a love that would blossom into a full-fledged career after a three-year stint on “Guiding Light.”
“Upon finishing acting school, and everyone has to get some sort of work, and most people work in bars and restaurants, and I started doing rentals for a broker,” he said. “When Guiding Light got canceled, I started realizing that acting may not necessarily be a career that’s going to give me everything I want in life.”
“It’s funny because I love walking,” he added. “I used to walk to the CBS studio to do all the filming, and then walk back to my apartment in the village. It’s one of those things where you don’t realize how much information you’re picking up about New York City real estate just by walking around all the time.”
After “Guiding Light,” Manera spent a couple more years in the entertainment industry as a producer before landing the opportunity to join Leonard Steinberg’s Douglas Elliman team in 2011.
“I’ve thought about some opportunities that I’ve been given in real estate, one of which was working with a real estate broker who was prolific — the chief evangelist for Compass, Leonard Steinberg,” he said. “I was lucky enough to work with him for a period of time and learn a lot from him.”
Although Manera’s rental experience and expansive network came in handy during his rookie year, he still had a “huge learning curve” to navigate in terms of learning the ins-and-outs of New York City’s unique real estate landscape.
“[New York City] is a place that is built on competition,” he said. “But, and I think this holds true in many different industries, it’s a place where you can learn a lot quickly.”
“You can learn a particular building and see multiple apartments in one building in a day, and then go to another building the following day, and really hone your education on properties here,” he added. “I would imagine this is much more difficult in Miami or California or anywhere else in the world where you have to drive from place to place [and] you have to spend a lot of time in transit. Here, we don’t necessarily have to do that.”
When he wasn’t working on a deal, Manera was spending time seeing as much property as he could, talking to fellow brokers about new listings and market trends, and intimately learning about Manhattan and Brooklyn by connecting with the people that make neighborhoods thrive.
“I live downtown,” he said. “I’m like a member of the community of the places that I wanted to sell, I’m a part of the fabric of the streets, these restaurants, these buildings, and the people who live in these buildings,” he told Inman. “You know, I saw myself as someone who enjoys the location and the story and the life of where I wanted to sell.”
Beyond learning about properties and neighborhoods, Manera said he learned how to leverage his acting skills to become a better networker, negotiator, and salesperson.
“Through acting, there’s a certain amount of presentation, there’s an understanding of space and your awareness with it,” he explained. “You’re dealing with the motivation that human beings have to do certain things, which I think helps sell a piece of property.”
“I think [my acting experience] helps me represent people when [I’m] negotiating on their behalf, and it also allows [me] to get a lot of information from a situation just by assessing and analyzing it,” he added.
In 2017, Manera ventured to Corcoran where’s he’s been thriving as one of the brokerage’s top-producing luxury new development agents. Although 2020 provided some headwinds, Manera said he’s found hope in the resilience of his fellow New Yorkers and is excited to see what the city will be like post-COVID.
“It wasn’t an easy time because I couldn’t show properties,” he said. “But at the same time, it was incredibly wonderful. People had time to assess New York real estate, who I think had never really assessed New York real estate before.”
“I hate the idea that people are sick and unhealthy and suffering, but within [the pandemic] has come change and rebuilding and I think a lot of people are excited about this rebuilding,” he added. “I was here during Sept. 11 and I think anyone who lived through that and was in New York City at the time, feels ownership to the city in a certain responsibility for the city.”
“And I think anyone who’s been through this experience will feel that same ownership and responsibility and definitely believe the commitment to making the city the best it can ever possibly be.”
In the meantime, Manera is working on his business and anxiously awaiting the time where he can experience the thrill of a night on the town and catch up on the movies and Broadway productions he misses so much.
“Going into films is one of my favorite things; I could not go to enough,” he said. “So I just can’t wait until they’re open again. I love the experience here going to places like the Paris Cinema up on Central Park South.”
“Then just seeing movies and then walking out on Fifth Avenue with The Plaza being right there; I could do that every day and be completely happy,” he added. “So I’m looking forward to that coming back again.”