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Team name: The MSH Team

Brokerage: The Corcoran Group

Team members: David Mayer, Raphael Sitruk and Michael Hania

Experience: 20 + years combined

Location: New York, New York, and Miami, Florida

Rankings: Consistently ranked No. 1 team at Corcoran’s SoHo office, top 1 percent nationwide

Team size: 6 licensed agents in total

Sales volume: $100 million in 2022

Why/how did you get your start in real estate? 

Michael Hania (MH):  At a very young age — maybe six or seven — I remember moving from an apartment to a house with my parents back in Paris. This is when I fell in love with real estate. I recall that I enjoyed the process of going from agency to agency to look at available homes and when we renovated the house we chose, I remember sitting in every meeting with the contractors and tradespeople.

I studied finance in college and after graduation, all of my classmates got banking jobs in London and New York. Instead of following them, I followed my passion and became a broker on the commercial side in Paris. I met my wife (who is from the United States) and came to Manhattan.

Initially, I worked at Zillow on the tech side but decided to go back to the transaction side of the business because there really is no better place to sell luxury real estate than New York. There is such a wide variety of property types — from high rises to brownstones — and so many fascinating clients. I enjoy every aspect of it.

David Mayer (DM): I got started in real estate just over 10 years ago. I’m originally from Montreal and I’ve been going back and forth between Canada and the U.S. for the last decade.

Back in Montreal, when I had friends who were looking to purchase their first apartment, I really enjoyed helping them with the process. It was just something I was drawn to.

I started my real estate journey as an investor and a few years later, I decided to move to New York permanently. What better city to live in and sell real estate than New York? That’s when I decided to get my license.

Raphael Sitruk (RS): Since my young age in Paris, real estate properties and investment strategies were always captivating to me. I love meeting new people, introducing them to each other, and the challenge of negotiating and doing what it takes to get it done.

Working as a team makes it all more enjoyable. It’s an honor to work in a business where you help people make the biggest decision of their lives. Everyone needs a roof over their head and it’s a joy helping clients find the home of their dreams. 

What do you wish more people knew about working in real estate?

DM: I wish more people knew that real estate agents wear many, many hats. We need to be well-versed in finance, marketing and understand contracts. We also need to vet clients and know how to negotiate.

Most importantly, buying and selling is often among the most important decisions one has to make, and a good broker should be prepared to manage his clients’ emotions. From managing our clients to managing other brokers, it’s imperative that we master a diverse set of skills.  

RS: I wish more people understood that we are not only “door openers”; we are trusted advisors. When a client dreams about a property, we dream about it, too.

Quite simply, we live the same experience as our clients. We get emotionally invested while advising them and are always working in their best interest. Our job is 24/7 and we are available for our clients any time they need us.

MH: That a career in real estate requires a lot of commitment. We absorb a lot of the stress for our clients so they can have the smoothest experience possible. There are a lot of moving parts. If just one is not handled correctly, it can have an impact on the next one and break the deal.

For agents, it’s crucial to remember that your “deal” is a “dream” for your clients. Sometimes dreams come true and sometimes they don’t. There can be countless hours worked and no transaction.

What are 5 things you’d like readers to know about you and your brokerage?

1. We are not only friends and business partners, we are like family. And like a family, this is a team built on trust and respect. Each one of us brings something unique to the table so we complement one another perfectly. Clients can see they are working with people who enjoy the business and each other. 

2. The MSH Team has a very strong international background. Among the three founders, we speak five different languages, but across our team we speak a total of eight. We are proud of our expansive network of leaders in finance, art, tech, politics and law — and between buyers and sellers, we have an extensive global clientele. 

3. The team has feet on the ground in both New York City and Miami, and proudly serves clients in both regions.

4. We achieve better results for clients through our network and through intensive research and smart marketing. For sellers, we understand the profile of the likely buyer and how to reach them. Economic and political factors are all tied to real estate, so we keep a close eye on all conditions that can impact the market. 

5. Our team is committed to clients, 24-7. We provide true white glove service and aren’t afraid to go the extra mile. 

Tell us about a high point in your brokerage career.

RS: My high point was in 2019. At the time, I listed the most expensive apartment in New York City, “Le Penthouse” priced at $98,000,000. I was able to secure the listing by cultivating a strong relationship with the developer and by proving results.

The partnership with Michael and David changed the entire trajectory of my career. It’s not the same job anymore. We now offer the next level of high-end services, with better systems in place. It’s much more rewarding and enjoyable.

MH: For me, it is forming this team. The adventure is so much more exciting when doing it together vs. doing it on your own. It’s great to work with people whom you not only respect professionally but who are also your friends. It makes us strong and unstoppable.

We are proud of our sales of course, but also of how we help clients. Recently, I came to the rescue for a rental client from Paris who could not sleep at night because the heating system in his apartment was not working. I was able to help him resolve the problem and he was the happiest guy in the world; that’s a great pleasure. It is never about the multi-million-dollar deals but always about seeing a smile on your client’s face.

DM: I need to separate this into three answers. Number one would be founding this team with my two partners. It feels great to have your “own thing” and work with like-minded, service-oriented people.

The second would be our Upper East Side townhouse sale in December 2022 where the last asking price was $29.5 million. We were able to make this sale happen relatively quickly, as we had an accepted offer within 43 days.

The third is being consistently recognized the No. 1 team in our office. It is nice to see the successes we have had in such a short period of time since joining forces. We are regularly ranked amongst the top teams at Corcoran and there’s no better feeling than that.

What’s your top tip for freshly licensed brokers?

MH: This can be a hard business to start alone. Join a team that’s going to provide you with mentorship and support, so you can learn the fundamentals to grow your career. Be patient and persevere — this is a commission-only job, so if you can start out with some cash saved, I would advise that. Ideally, you should have a reserve for 12-18 months.

Build yourself a road map to guide you on what you need to be doing on a weekly basis to have deals come in both on the buyers’ and sellers’ side. Every six months, sit down with your manager or team leader, look at that road map, and assess how you are performing and what adjustments you might need to make.

DM: Be curious. Be a sponge. There are many hats that real estate agents wear. It can be a little overwhelming, especially in New York City. Coops vs. condos vs. townhomes: We have a complex and ever-changing market.

Try to spend a lot of time at the office or out working. Be generous with your time. Go to brokers’ open houses and spend time with your industry colleagues, even if you don’t see any financial compensation. In the beginning, it’s school. You will be spending a lot of time working and it may not pay off right away. You never know when you will use something you once thought was not important.

RS: I would advise new agents to get out and meet people. Be out in the field to see apartments and preview properties every day. It is important to build strong relationships with your fellow agents. Offer to do showings for them, always show respect and expect that one day, you will work on a deal with them.

Always learn. You must be knowledgeable and up-to-date about current conditions. People’s favorite question to ask their agent is always, “How’s the market?”

Christy Murdock is a freelance writer, coach and consultant and the owner of Writing Real Estate. Connect with Writing Real Estate on Instagram  and subscribe to the weekly roundup, The Ketchup.

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