Find out how NYC agent Michelle Griffith puts a mentor’s wise advice to work as she navigates the ups and downs of the real estate industry.

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An accomplished individual agent with more than $1 billion in real estate sales, Michelle Griffith has built her reputation as a leader in the high-end New York City real estate industry through “hard work, dedication and learning from mistakes, earning the trust of clients one at a time.”

A devoted mother navigating the challenges of “raising two headstrong children in the vibrant city of New York,” she’s consistently been recognized as a top producer among Manhattan residential agents. She has appeared on NBC’s “Open House” and Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing New York” and on the Inman stage, and her listings are frequently featured in the press. Find out how she got her start and where she’s headed next.

Name: Michelle Griffith

Title: Licensed real estate agent at Douglas Elliman

Experience: 11 years

Location: New York City

Sales volume: Sales from April 15, 2023 – April 15, 2024: $106,644,000

Awards: Prior to joining Elliman, Griffith was ranked as the No. 1 agent at her previous brokerage firm and No. 6 in Manhattan by The Wall Street Journal and Real Trends. She is a mainstay on The Real Deal’s prestigious list of Top 75 Manhattan Residential Agents.

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

One significant lesson I’ve learned in real estate is the importance of maintaining a growth mindset, especially when facing setbacks like losing a big listing or client. Initially, these losses were tough to handle, but I realized that dwelling on disappointment wouldn’t help me improve.

Instead, I started analyzing why I lost the deal and what I could learn from it. For instance, was the pricing too high, making it advantageous to be the second broker? Should I adapt and refine my marketing strategies and presentations?

Sometimes we lose a deal or client to make space for the right opportunity to come our way. This shift in mindset has not only substantially grown my business but also strengthened my resilience and mental fortitude.

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

As a child, I wanted to be a newscaster. Interestingly, my career in real estate has allowed me to connect with that childhood dream in unexpected ways.

With the rise of social media and the extensive use of video content in real estate marketing, I find myself regularly in front of the camera. Whether I’m creating virtual tours, hosting live open houses, or sharing market updates, my role often involves presenting information clearly and engagingly, much like a newscaster. This blend of skills has been both fulfilling and instrumental in my success.

What’s the most important thing you learned in your prelicensing classes?

The most important lesson I learned in school and during my pre-licensing classes is the critical importance of complete transparency and effective communication in real estate. Being upfront and clear with clients builds trust and confidence, which are essential for successful transactions.

Additionally, I realized the immense value of teaming up with a mentor or a trusted colleague in the business. Having someone experienced guide you through the actual deal flow and transaction processes from start to finish is invaluable for gaining practical insights and honing your skills.

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

The best advice I ever received from a mentor was, “This too shall pass.” This wisdom has been crucial in maintaining perspective throughout the highs and lows of my real estate career.

New agents often celebrate during good years and abandon the business during slow periods, but I’ve learned that success in real estate is about consistency and longevity. I approach each transaction not merely as a deal, but as the beginning of a long-term relationship. My focus is always on strengthening these relationships, which has contributed to sustained success and resilience in the industry.

Tell us a story about your most memorable transaction

One of my most memorable transactions involves one of my first big clients, a wonderful woman with a stunning three-bedroom apartment featuring two terraces on the Upper East Side. I was the second broker to handle this listing, and the market conditions at the time were quite challenging, leading to difficult conversations with the seller about pricing and expectations.

Eventually, we decided to take the apartment off the market because we couldn’t achieve her desired price. However, I didn’t give up.

I continued to work diligently behind the scenes and eventually managed to sell the apartment off-market at exactly the price she wanted. This success marked the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship. Over the past decade, I’ve had the privilege of buying and selling over $50 million worth of real estate with her and her family. This experience taught me the importance of persistence, adaptability and building lasting client relationships.

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

Email Christy Murdock

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