Seven months after joining Brown Harris Stevens, real estate agent and TikTok phenom Madison Sutton has jumped ship to SERHANT. Sutton and her five-person team will operate under broker Sean McPeak, who also found early success at BHS and Halstead.

Seven months after joining Brown Harris Stevens, real estate agent and TikTok phenom Madison Sutton has jumped ship to SERHANT. Sutton and her five-person team will operate under broker Sean McPeak, who also found early success at BHS and Halstead.

Madison Sutton | Credit: BHS

“I have witnessed first-hand the incredible business shift that comes from leveraging content creation and social media,” Sutton told The Real Deal Tuesday morning. “This is not just the future of selling real estate, it’s how you sell real estate right now.”

The publication said SERHANT. team members began “aggressively courting” Sutton at its NYC Real Estate Showcase and Forum — the same day BHS CEO Bess Freedman and SERHANT CEO Ryan Serhant verbally sparred about the reign of real estate reality shows and whether they cheapened the profession.

“I do think reality TV is very deflating to what we do because I think it makes it look effortless,” Freedman said during the panel, referencing the Netflix hit Selling Sunset. “It makes the consumer think all you have to do is look cute, have a fancy car and boom — you can do a deal.”

Serhant fought back with anecdotes of his success on Million Dollar Listing New York, which helped raise his profile in the industry and catapulted him into the pop culture stardom. His ability to leverage that kind of visibility, he told Inman, is what laid the foundation for his brokerage namesake, SERHANT.

Ryan Serhant | Credit: SERHANT. Studios

“Reality TV has given birth to the future of real estate,” he said. “It represents big cultural and economic trends upon us right now: the power of content, the demand for mobile entertainment, and the appeal of the modern workplace.”

He added, “What is shown, however, brings real estate to new audiences and has done wonders for attracting young, diverse and driven agents into the industry, while also providing agents a means to build brand awareness and grow their business by feeding the unquenchable thirst for real estate content.”

It seems Serhant’s message resonated more with Sutton, who kicked off her real estate career in April 2019 at Highland Residential. By the end of her rookie year, the coronavirus pandemic brought the industry to a screeching halt with many consumers sidelining their plans.

To keep some momentum, Sutton launched a TikTok under the moniker @theNYCagent and quickly amassed a following of more than 100,000 followers. Sutton’s audience drooled over luxury apartment tours and gobbled up her other videos, which focused on her day-to-day adventures in the city.

Before long, Sutton hired several staff members to help her sift through the hundreds of leads she received each day.

“There were days I was getting two or four hundred inquiries for one apartment,” she told CNN Business in December. “What TikTok did, I couldn’t have expected or planned or calculated in my entire lifetime. It’s completely changed my life.”

Bess Freedman | Brown Harris Stevens

Her astounding success drew the attention of Brown Harris Stevens, which recruited Sutton and her team to reach a whole new audience of young, affluent consumers via TikTok and other social media mediums.

“We consider ourselves eternal students of technology and are always eager to adapt,” Freedman told The Daily Mail in December. “With more and more emerging technology and social media platforms like TikTok capturing the public’s attention, Brown Harris Stevens and our agents are continually pivoting and evolving. And now, we are hiring a TikTok sensation.”

Sean McPeak

During her brief tenure, Sutton trained fellow agents on how to grow their businesses using TikTok, and helped launch BHS’ TikTok account which has gained 16.5K followers since its launch in mid-May. Now, SERHANT. is hoping to seize some of Sutton’s magic for its treasure chest of luxury listings.

“Madison has made waves in the New York City real estate market for her mastery of TikTok and social media,” McPeak said in an emailed statement. “As the most-followed team within the most-followed brand in real estate, we are so excited to welcome Madison to The McPeak Team.”

“Her approach to sales is in complete alignment with our own and, with the power of SERHANT. behind us, we can further optimize content strategy to reach an even wider audience,” he added. “We look forward to working with Madison.”

As for BHS, the brokerage has already pinpointed its next TikTok guru, real estate agent Anthony Park. Shortly after SERHANT.’s Sutton announcement, Park and Freedman took to TikTok to talk about Freedman’s TRD appearance and clarify her views on social media, reality TV and the future of real estate.

“I have incredible respect for Ryan and it takes an incredible amount of courage to open your own brokerage,” she said. “The point I was trying to make was those reality real estate TV shows are not an accurate representation of what we do as real estate professionals.”

@anthonyrichpark Always 2 sides to a story. This is what she really meant. Respect to what you’re doing over there @Ryan Serhant! 👊🏻 @BrownHarrisStevens #nyc #nycrealestate #realestate #newyork #realestateagent #manhattan ♬ Violin – Grooving Gecko

A BHS spokesperson said Park, who has 119,000 followers on TikTok, will take over Sutton’s training responsibilities.

“Since launching our BHS TikTok 4 weeks ago, we have reached more than 16,000 organic followers and counting,” they said. While social media is crucial to marketing, branding, and information sharing, at Brown Harris Stevens the primary focus is real estate and supporting agents who demonstrate professionalism and a strong work ethic.”

“We wish Madison the best.”

Email Marian McPherson

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