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In this column, real estate agents across the nation share stories of the lessons they’ve learned during their time in the industry.

 NYC associate broker Reba Miller knows New York like the back of her hand. “My car is my office,” she says. “I always think I would be a great Uber driver.”

Instead, she has built a distinguished real estate business through “nonstop” work and dedication. Among her motivators? “I am a fierce competitor,” she says. “I don’t mind losing; I just always want to give it my best. I can’t sleep at night if I don’t.”

Find out how she learned that your next big deal can come from anywhere — even lunch.

Name: Reba Miller 

Title: Licensed associate real estate broker at Compass in NYC 

Experience: 38 years 

Team: RPMiller Team

Transaction sides: Thousands and thousands … 

Sales volume: Over $1.5 billion


I currently sit on the Real Estate Board of New York’s Ethics Committee

Real Estate Board of New York Awards: 

  • Sales Deal of the Year
  • Rental Deal of the Year
  • Henry Foster Award for Lifetime Achievement
  • Third Place Deal of the Year

What’s one big lesson you’ve learned in real estate? 

Deals can come out of nowhere. I once sat at Nello, the Upper East Side restaurant, opened up a floorplan to review, spoke to the person next to me and asked his opinion — and just like that I now have five apartments to sell.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I always wanted to be a star athlete. I also always enjoyed earning my own money and bought my own brand new, stick-shift car when I was 17. If I was a cashier, I was the head cashier. If I was on a team, I wanted to be the captain and MVP. My parents were divorced in 1969 so the home has always meant a lot to me, especially as I visited my friends’ houses, saw other families and other ways of living.  

What do too few agents know that would make their lives easier? 

Make phone calls. Everyone texts and emails and forgets that it’s a personalized business.

What piece of media has taught you the most and what did you learn from it?  

I just am glued to All American, a Netflix series about a high school football player from South Central L.A. who is recruited to play for Beverly Hills High. The wins, losses and struggles of two families, race, culture, young people, athletics, careers and relationships are all mixed in with great acting.

Of course, there are some beautiful homes in Beverly Hills which are contrasted with the homes in South Central L.A. Thinking about and working toward what it takes to get that beautiful home can start as early as the teenage years. 

Tell us a story about your most memorable transaction

Some of my most memorable transactions have garnished awards so I would like to share one that didn’t. I was dear friends with a fellow tennis player, Karen Klitzman, who was just an amazing lady; on 9/11 she was on the 102nd floor. The sadness was so deep. Only a couple of days before, we were playing tennis, laughing, and having fun and then tragedy struck.

Her family reached out to me and asked if I could help sell her home. I walked in and I thought I was going to faint when I realized that she had left that day for work and the home was exactly the same. I was reeling. I obviously wanted to work for the family and have the home receive the best possible care, but I could not immediately separate the emotions of the tragedy and real estate transaction.

As Realtors, we solve problems and give people the opportunity to go to their next destination. I had to keep my head on straight. I was so fortunate to co-broker with a high school friend of mine, Toni Haber; to this day we will always remember what we did together. 

Do you want to be featured on an upcoming “Lesson Learned” column? Reach out to us here.

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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