Nina Shepherd is a real estate sensation out of New York City. Nina discovered her passion for real estate when she interned with a broker eight years ago. She believes that thoroughly understanding her clients’ needs, working tirelessly to meet those needs and being honest and candid throughout the process is the best way to accomplish those goals.
Nina loves both history and architecture, so she appreciates the unique details of each property and enjoys educating her clients about what makes a particular home or neighborhood special. When she isn’t working, Nina continues to pursue those interests by exploring different neighborhoods and sampling all of the delicious cuisines New York has to offer. She also believes in giving back to her community and prioritizes spending time to help the homeless (both animals and people!).
Tell our readers about yourself, what brought you into real estate?
I am from a small town in Pennsylvania, where I was raised by my English grandmother , Mary Gage, and we moved around from Florida to Australia and then ultimately ended up back in Pennsylvania, where I graduated from the Pennsylvania State University in Sociology.
I got my feet wet in real estate at an early age. When I was in high school, my grandmother knew a successful agent in our town, and thought I would enjoy shadowing her, so she put us in touch and I spent a whole summer with her team and learning the craft and our local market. Since that summer, I knew that my path was in real estate. I completely fell in love with all aspects of the career. I loved to see the different properties and interior decorating styles. It really made me enthusiastic about working and excited for the future. It’s fun to see how people live and what they do with the spaces they live in.
Did you have any mentors in the industry?
The first broker I worked with, Beth Richards, was really amazing and very successful. Her whole team was comprised of powerful and successful women. They really helped me carve my own path in the field.
In New York, I got myself another mentor, Michael Sandak. This was also my first experience with Compass. Michael has an insane amount of knowledge and I am so lucky that I get to learn from him while absorbing the fast paced lifestyle of New York City and understanding the way things are done here. In the past two and a half years I have undergone a complete transformation. I’m a different person in regards to my abilities and the level of expertise that I possess thanks to these mentors.
From this transformation, what has been the difference between working in Pennsylvania for Beth Richards and being with Michael Sandak and Compass in New York?
I obviously had a less important role when I was back home because of my age and the fact that I was in high school but, I was still very much involved with all the ins and outs of the business. It’s a small town and the barrier to entry seemed somewhat more manageable. When you compare that to New York City and Compass the whole game changes from the money, to the clients and just the operations of the business overall.
The thing I love the most about Compass is its presence. There are so many agents and everyone is ready and willing to help you whether they are on your team or not. When you put it all together there is so much potential for growth and learning from such an array of people. It’s hard to not advance and grow at a much more rapid pace. Compass is a big real estate community with endless possibilities.
What advice would you give yourself or another woman starting in the industry that will always stay constant?
I was fortunate enough to have my grandma teach me an extremely valuable lesson throughout my life. When a door opens you go through it.
I think that goes even more in a place like New York City and in the field of real estate where things move so quickly and new opportunities are like trains passing through the city. By staying open minded and always flowing with the current state of things, you’re more able to seize opportunities and not get left behind. I have really embodied that phrase and I don’t think I would be where I am right now if I didn’t take that advice to heart.
What is a biggest challenge you had this far and how did you surmount it?
For me, there’s a singular overarching challenge. There is this cycle in real estate with highs and lows where one day you can have so much business and the other it’s quiet. It’s very easy to get lost in that so I’ve found that it is incredibly important not to lose sight of the bigger picture and to continuously ask myself; what do I bring to the table, and, how can I improve to bring in more value?
I always remember why I love this business and my motivation which always will and has been helping people feel happy and good about making one of the biggest purchases in their lives. So whether things are slow or insanely busy, I always remind myself that I am here to provide my clients with that support and expertise no matter what.
What is you vision for your future in real estate?
I see myself being right here in the city that never sleeps, continuing to thrive and grow a network of renters, buyers, and sellers as I grow myself at the same time and become a better and better version of myself. Since joining Micheal’s team, we have been involved in nearly $40M in sales this year and that’s 400% of the volume the team had before I was a part of it.
I want to continue that growth. We also have a very huge network of colleagues and this year we referred to eleven different markets and I hope we continue to increase our wingspan as much as possible. The two big cities where my clients pivoted last year were Washington D.C. and Miami. People love the sun! Otherwise, I’ve seen a lot of people migrate upstate, and to the general surrounding areas of NYC. Still, the majority of our business is in NYC.
What inspires you to keep growing and striving for more?
I am completely inspired by the city of New York. I adore living here and love what I do. I feel truly lucky to be able to say that! My business itself is what pushes me to thrive for more and having majored in sociology, I also really enjoy meeting new people and learning about and from them.
What are some things you do to keep a balance in your life?
Keeping a balance is unmistakingly a challenge, I won’t lie. But I start my mornings by reading (usually something short) alongside my tea. In addition to that and coming from a small city, nature is invaluable to me. I grew up horseback riding, so being outside in nature and with animals is thoroughly grounding for me. I recently started horse-back riding here, so that keeps my head where it needs to be to be able to perform at the levels I need to.
Photo Credit : Jonathan Grassi
Photo Credit : ESI Photography
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