To begin my career I passed on a relatively large, mostly Brooklyn based firm that I planned on working at when I was in real estate school for a small firm in Manhattan. The work - for a showing agent for rental units in Manhattan - mostly consists of placing ads, screening potential clients, and showing apartments for interested clients. Within the first two weeks I had my first deal - I rented out a 1 bedroom apartment in the Upper West Side. Within my first month working as a real estate agent I realized that further, in-depth training - regarding advertising, handling customers, managing work loads, getting to know the various neighborhoods in Manhattan, the various legal aspects related to real estate work - would make my work easier and more rewarding. So I began searching for a company that could offer the training I wanted and would make it easier for me to take my practice to the next level. After taking a look at the handful of the largest firms in Manhattan, I settled on Bond New York. Bond is massive - over 500 agents, 5 large offices in Manhattan. What attracted me to them were the following facts: key figures in the company were accessible - I was able to contact them relatively quickly and get my questions answered quickly, they have a formal training program - Bond University - 6 days, full time, covering - as far as I can tell, many areas that a new agent would need to know in depth in order to do well in Manhattan, and their size & available resources, in my view, probably makes it easier for them to deal with certain landlords & management companies - which makes a big difference to a rental agent when it comes time for closing a deal and getting a client into an apartment of his or her choice. Another main factor in choosing Bond was their relatively awesome office in Greenwich Village (I'll add some photos soon), surrounded by NYU, & very close to a lovely park, & not too far from where I live/short commute. The way Bond does business - a consultative apporach (similar to going to an attorney or a doctor) as opposed to a retail approach (going to buy something from a store) - simplifies the apartment hunting process and, in my opinion, makes the work more enjoyable for agents and probably more manageable for clients. Bond's method appears to be a good mix of high-tech and an older, simpler way of doing business. I have a busy couple of weeks ahead at Bond, my first full weeks out of Bond U, and so far they seem very promising (judging by what I hear from other recently started agents at Bond and what I've observed at the office).
So far, in NYC real estate, I've met some very interesting & nice clients, a few not so nice clients, a bunch of great co-workers (at both firms I've worked at so far), and have worked on a few deals - and as far as I can tell, for those agents who work hard and develop their skills and are with a supportive, resourceful company, there is quite a bit of money to be made in NYC real estate and the work can be rewarding in other ways - learning more about the city and meeting interesting new people being two of them. And your legs will get tired - sometimes long blocks in Manhattan. All in all, becoming an apartment rental agent in Manhattan is recommended - might not be for everyone, but may be the ideal job for motivated people who like new challenges, who like people, and who want to try to make a significant amount of money (after rentals one can go into sales - larger commissions). This is how things look now, a couple of months in, let's see where we are in another month or two. Even though independent filmmaking will continue to be my primary focus in life, NYC real estate work appears to be another very good way to spend my time - and it might even make me a better & more productive filmmaker - let's see, more on all of this soon, in Part 2, before this summer is over. And, of course, if you need help finding a great apartment in NYC or if you have questions about real estate work in NYC, get in touch.
New blogs for projects by NYC artist Katheryn McGaffigan:
Blog 10 (no blog 9, numbered wrong)