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As the founder of The Katzen Team at Douglas Elliman, one of the top-ranked teams nationwide, Frances Katzen combines exceptional knowledge of the New York City real estate market with a global perspective that allows her to better serve her international clients. Born in South Africa and raised in Sydney Australia, she maintains a network of contacts in the US, Europe, Australia and the Middle East.

Find out how this powerhouse team leader built a business that has earned the loyalty of financiers, celebrities, real estate investors, developers and a Who’s Who of the city’s artistic and cultural life.

What’s one big lesson you’ve learned in real estate, and how did you learn it?

The art of not reacting in real time. I realized that reacting didn’t serve me, but actually hurt me and the situation.

What’s the best advice you ever got from a mentor or colleague?

Stop talking and listen. I think when you feel insecure about your position in the job, you tend to want to “sell” yourself. But, as we learn who we are and get more comfortable in who we are, and stop apologizing for who we are, we are able to stop and truly take in what others are saying.

What is the one thing everyone should be doing to make their business better?

Not settling and operating from a place of integrity. When you do, you complete things much more fully and to the level that clients expect and deserve. But more importantly, you feel really good about what you are putting forward.

If you could do anything other than real estate, what would it be and why?

I would likely be a photographer for National Geographic. I find a lot of peace in nature and I am acutely sensitive to the power of what it can do to us in terms of calming us down, resetting us, reminding us of what is truly valuable. To be in a position to capture these incredible interactions between nature and species, I would imagine it would be really profound.

Tell us about your most memorable transaction.

There is nothing more gratifying than seeing someone who has put the sweat equity into their job and now, as a result, are in the position to buy something that is concrete and is such a departure from everything that they have had in their past. It really is “that moment” of arriving into their financial freedom and of owning something really beautiful. Watching their faces get emotional about this realization is pretty awesome.

Christy Murdock is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant and the owner of Writing Real Estate. She is also the creator of the online course Crafting the Property Description: The Step-by-Step Formula for Reluctant Real Estate Writers. Follow Writing Real Estate on TwitterInstagram and YouTube.

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