On building a successful real estate brand
Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Brooke has always been a southern girl at heart, but her dream was to one day live in the big Apple. After graduating from the University of Arkansas in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing, she decided to head to New York for a summer internship. That’s when her love for the city grew and solidified her plans to move there.
Fast forward years later she made her dreams come true. She left the fashion world to start her real estate career back in 2019 and hasn’t looked back since. She is now working as an Agent with the Harris Residential Team at Brown Harris Stevens. Here is her success journey!
What transitioned you from the fashion world to real estate sales?
The corporate culture just didn’t feel right for me anymore. It was in 2018 that I started to re-evaluate my current situation and did some major goal searching to figure out what would be my next career move.
I knew I wanted to do something big — something risky. I didn’t want to just get another fashion job and I felt that this would be the time to go big. So with that thought in mind, real estate was always something I was super passionate about, even as a little girl. I remember spending hours looking at houses online when I was ten years old and being interested in that market from a young age. Everyone in my family used to tell me that I need to be a real estate agent one day. It was early 2019 when I finally decided to pursue my lifelong dream.
Did you have any mentors that led you in this industry?
My aunt is a badass real estate agent in Boulder, Colorado. She was also really encouraging me to go for it. So I got my real estate license and then through a mutual friend, I found out about this real estate team that was looking for someone new in the industry to learn the whole real estate world.
It turned out to be perfect for me. I joined a team, got my bearings and learned how everything works. My first project was this new development rental building. My boss at the time put me as the agent for the entire building, and I rented out 38 units within three months. That was my first start into the career, and then from there I just kept learning and growing organically.
What has been one of the biggest challenges you faced this far? Coming into the industry during covid must have been a hard transition for you.
Yes, working in real estate in NYC during COVID was definitely my biggest challenge I’ve faced in real estate so far especially during COVID, with so many people fleeing the city, and just so many unknowns. At one point it was literally a ghost town here so it was really tough to get business in real estate because everyone was scared to rent or buy.
We really had to lean on technology during that time, we were doing virtual showings and FaceTime tours. It was difficult. Our clients really had to trust in us when it came to buying or renting a place site unseen because a lot of people wouldn’t even come in person to see an apartment. They would rely on us to just take a nice video and send it to them, but thankfully we did have clients that were willing to do that when a lot of the business was very slow during that time.
It was definitely a hard time for everyone and we did get very creative on how to convince people that New York would come back. Here we are two years later from the pandemic, and New York city is booming more than ever! There are more people here than there was pre-covid, and the real estate market is on fire now.
What are the areas that you’ve noticed are the most in demand right now and what type of real estate?
I actually live in Greenwich Village and the downtown market is very hot, and also very expensive, compared to other areas. It’s just a very sexy area of New York City, it’s where a lot of the great restaurants and bars are so that’s definitely a desired area. My team also primarily does a lot of business in the Upper West Side.
We are seeing that people are still working from home and want larger apartments, because they want an extra room for their home office, so that’s what we’re seeing people are gravitating toward, even if it’s a young, professional couple with no kids, they want a two or three bedroom to have the space for a home office, and also outdoor space too.
When it comes to you and where you see the bigger vision of where you would like to go in real in real estate, what does that look like?
I work at Brown Harris Stevens, which is a very large firm with over 2,500 active agents. Within the firm, I’m on a team of seven, which is the Harris Residential team. Last year alone, my team did almost $160 million in sales, and our goal for this year is $300 million. We’re actively recruiting, we’re trying to grow our team because we just have so much business right now, which is a great problem to have.
In the next five years, I’d love to expand my business in other places. Right now with Brown Harris Stevens, we have offices in New York and New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, and the Hamptons. I’d love to broaden my network and clientele in the Hamptons. I also have family in Florida, so one day I’d like have my real estate license in Florida as well.
How do you set goals and achieve them, whether that’s with your team or personally?
So with our team, the way we set goals every year, is on January 1st, we set a new sales goal for the team as the total and then as individuals. The team goal for 2022 is $300 million, and what we actually do is we have a team scoreboard with different tasks and metrics, that we each have to accomplish each week. It really holds us each accountable as a team and individual and it helps us reach our sales goal by the end of the year.
When it comes to finding balance, what are your daily routines to set boundaries and avoid burnout?
Yes, as real estate is a 24/7 job. We work every day, including night and weekends. So for me Friday date nights with my boyfriend are non-negotiable. Also happy hour with my girlfriends or brunch on a Saturday are a must.
Even on weekends when I’m working, I just coordinate my schedules so that I carve out time during the day that’s for my personal life, and then during the week, I try to shut down my laptop around 9 pm, which is still pretty crazy late but I want to be available to my clients as much as possible.
Also for my mental and physical health, I make sure I exercise at least three to four times a week. I go on really long walks in the evening and I’ll bring my phone and answer emails and calls while getting some exercise.
What does success represent to you?
Honestly to me, it’s just going after what you want. Even if you fail, just knowing that you tried is a success in my book. I think it allows you to learn and grow from your mistakes to get back up and try it again, especially in real estate. If for example you’re pitching an apartment to a seller, you might not get it, you might not win the pitch, but just knowing that you prepared and went and did the pitch all on your own that to me is just part of the experience and practice and it’s okay if you don’t win — you’re not going to win them all, but it still is success that you got the pitch. It’s just going after what you want and taking the risk.
Looking back at everything you’ve accomplished so far in your career, what advice would you give a younger version of yourself or to a new realtor entering the field?
Network, network, network! Real estate is all about your connections, your network and your referrals. Referrals are everything in this business. My biggest advice would be to just get out there, whether that is at an event or a club or an organization, something that you’re passionate about, get out there and network with people, because you never know who you’re going to meet and who’s in the market to buy or sell.
Once you have that one client, and you do your job well, they will refer you to others and that’s all how it starts. So my biggest advice for someone wanting to get into real estate, is to just put yourself out there and network.
What inspires you to think bigger?
I feel like now with Gen Z’s and what social media has done for people’s success in real estate and all industries too, it’s mind blowing. I’m in my late 20’s and already feel too old for certain platforms like Tik Tok but I know it’s really great for business, so I’m still trying to like learn how to dabble in it. I think that really inspires me and trying to see what I can do with my social media to grow my business.
Contact Brooke directly for all your real estate needs firstname.lastname@example.org
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