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Broker Spotlight: Molly Townsend, The Agency New York
Name: Molly Townsend
Title: SVP | Managing Partner of The Agency New York
Experience: 20 years in real estate
Location: New York Metro Area
Brokerage full name: The Agency New York
Rankings: The Agency debuted in the Manhattan rankings thanks to its purchase of Triplemint last spring. We made the top 10 ranking with only 150 agents and one year in the market. We also ranked 8th in co-op sales in 2022 with 150 co-op transactions over $135 million.
Team size: 150 agents. We just launched our East Coast headquarters in NYC.
Transaction sides: 821
Sales volume: $975 million in volume in 2022
How did you choose your first brokerage?
I didn’t choose my first brokerage. I literally got licensed and hung it at the brokerage that my friend told me to. I lasted there six months until I found a place that was the right fit for me.
I love that choice and culture fit have become more and more valued in the industry. I always tell agents when I am interviewing them that it has to be a win-win, that it has to be a partnership.
I also say that at the end of the day, it comes down to people and money: Do you like and feel elevated by the people who you work with? Is it a place where you can make the money that you want to make?
What do you wish more people knew about working in real estate?
It’s far more grit than glam. I often use a restaurant analogy to describe this reality because real estate and hospitality have a lot of crossover. I say that real estate is far more “back of the house” than “front of the house,” meaning the bulk of the work is spent in the kitchen — chopping vegetables, washing dishes, yelling orders and preparing the plates.
It’s far less time in the front of the house where everyone is well-mannered, impeccably dressed and moving through a beautiful space.
Tell us about an epic fail you’ve experienced since you’ve been a broker. What did you learn?
I once left a great executive management position with a team that I loved to be the director of sales on a new development here in New York City. (My background is in new development). I had never been offered that much money in my career and I couldn’t say no.
Two weeks into the project, I knew I had made a mistake. The project was overpriced, the developer was a micromanaging terror, and the market had softened. I managed to stick it out a year and make a graceful exit.
It was an important reminder for me that, generally speaking, I am not someone who should make decisions based on financial rewards. I have to believe in something fully and feel like I am contributing, or else I am miserable.
What makes a good leader?
A good leader not only understands that good communication is paramount, but they also know how much is too much. Transparency has become such a corporate buzzword. It’s important to know why you are being transparent and what the impact will be of the information you are relaying.
In the world of brokerage, there are things that happen behind the scenes that the agents do not need to know about because it does not directly affect them or their business. Understanding the nuances is ultimately about empathy. Great leaders go to great lengths to imagine what it is like to walk in other people’s shoes.
What’s one thing you wish every agent knew?
I wish they knew how to articulate what makes them unique, what their value proposition is and what they stand for. Most agents, new and established, struggle to answer those questions for themselves and it’s unfortunate because they are at the core of brand creation.
You can have the best-looking marketing in the world but it won’t do you any good if you don’t know who you are.
Know someone who should be featured in an upcoming Broker Spotlight? Nominations, please, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.