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Name: Julia Hoagland
Title: Principal and founder of the Julia Hoagland Team at Compass New York
Mary Barbrack: Agent on the Julia Hoagland Team at Compass New York
Sandra Levykh: Agent on the Julia Hoagland Team at Compass New York
Stephane Guerrier: Broker on the Julia Hoagland Team at Compass New York
Michelle Flikerski: Agent on the Julia Hoagland Team at Compass New York
Experience: Julia Hoagland has 18 years of experience, and the team has a combined 45 years of experience
Location: Manhattan, New York
Brokerage name: Compass
Rankings: Locally and nationally ranked in the top percentiles of residential teams by multiple agencies nearly every year since its 2005 inception. Nationally ranked top 1 percent by RealTrends in 2020 and 2021
Team size: 8 total (5 salespeople, a COO, and two administrative/marketing professionals)
How did you get your start in real estate?
Julia Hoagland: It was luck, which I will take seven days a week if I can find it.
I was laid off from my job in finance in 2003, two months before my wedding, and took advantage of the time off to travel the world for a year for our honeymoon. I was never very passionate about my work in finance, so when I got back, I wrote a business plan for investing in real estate.
Nine months later, following attendance at foreclosure auctions on two boroughs’ courthouse steps (including wads of cash), digging through courthouse records for lis pendens (this was pre-ACRIS), and many free NYC HPD classes on a variety of topics, including boiler maintenance, DHCR regulations and “How to be a Landlord,” I concluded that, due to a lack of funds and a lack of temperament, being a landlord wasn’t for me.
The buy side being written off, I decided to investigate what the sell side looked like. And here we are.
How did you choose your brokerage?
Michelle Flikerski: Real estate is a relationship business. Beyond relationships with clients, lenders and fellow agents (the list goes on), the relationship with your brokerage may arguably be the most important. A good brokerage can be a valuable ally in helping an agent flourish.
I wanted to join Compass for its cachet of having a brand name and nationwide recognition, as well as its progressive digital platform. What I love most, however, is the culture of positivity and support.
I love that there are numerous sessions from various coaches and sales managers on a weekly basis for agents to take advantage of — running the gamut from educating on personal value proposition during a pitch to training sessions for new agents and to weekly market talks.
Agents should absolutely interview with as many different brokerages as possible to ensure the right fit — what is important to me may differ greatly from someone else — but I do feel that a brokerage should strive to improve the livelihood of its agents and teams via an array of tools and services.
What do you wish more people knew about working in real estate?
Mary Barbrack: The beauty is in the details. When clients choose a real estate agent, it’s about trust and confidence that you will represent the client’s best interests, always. In this context, it’s less about what the agent has sold, where they have sold it, and how much they have sold.
Yes, your experience is important, but what is critical is your willingness to leave no stone unturned to get a client the information they need to make an informed decision. Whether it is understanding the seller’s mindset when negotiating on behalf of your buyer, digging into the details of a building’s maintenance history, or vetting vendors for any work needed to prepare a home for sale.
What’s something you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
Sandra Levykh: This business requires understanding and great care for each person you come into contact with. What people want isn’t static – people and circumstances change every day, and their needs shift alongside this.
So how does an agent make sense of endless change? Paying attention to the way clients live their day to day and what they hope to experience in the future shares more about their wants and needs than what they tell you on their first day out searching for homes.
Checking off boxes of preferences is great, but making someone feel heard by helping them envision their hopes and dreams in a home is priceless.
The process of buying and selling is just that – a process. This requires an ability to listen deeply, communicate reality clearly, and move and pivot quickly. Things don’t always go as planned.
Sometimes sellers who were ready to sell when listing change their minds after a few months when they have an excellent offer in front of them; sometimes, buyers want to underbid on a property because they haven’t seen enough homes to have a sense of the market. Every day brings a new situation that needs resolving — you can either get frustrated or you can see it as a surmountable challenge.
Always search for solutions and keep going. Sometimes no amount of solutions is enough – a deal can fall through because life happens. An agent on the opposite side of a deal can be difficult to work with. Learn to improve what you can control, and don’t take the rest personally.
The sooner you can pick up and move forward, the sooner you can be of service again. Not everyone is the right person to work with you, and you are not the right person for everyone. The more you are yourself, and of service, the more people will want to work with you.
What’s your top tip for freshly licensed brokers?
Stephane Guerrier: I encourage you to research different teams to find the one that aligns with your goals, values and preferred work style. By joining the right team, you can enhance your professional growth, gain valuable experience and set a firm foundation for your real estate career.
Joining a team allows you to learn from seasoned agents who can provide valuable insight and guidance. They can share their knowledge, strategies and best practices, helping you turbo-boost your learning curve. In some instances, it can also provide instant brand recognition.