Special Agents: The County's 20 Top Realtors
In good times or bad, whether buying or selling, these are the agents you want on your side.
When you’re looking for a new home, we suggest looking beyond numbers and statistics to get to the true character of a neighborhood. But, when it comes to buying or selling a house, suddenly the numbers matter a whole lot. To find the county’s best realtors, we called realty companies and agencies and asked for the names of the agents who sold the most—in dollar amounts—in 2008. Here are our findings.
1. $87.7 million
What is the secret to your success? Attitude and enthusiasm. I just feel that we live in one of the most magnificent areas in the world. I sell the beautiful lifestyle we have up here. What was your biggest sale ever? $17.5 million in 2008 for a 67-acre estate in Mount Kisco. What really turns off homebuyers? A home in bad condition. It’s first impressions that count. Can you recommend a good contractor? Bob Torre and R. C. Torre Construction, and Bernie Noble of Noble Construction. Can you recommend a good architect? Tom O’Brien and Teo Siguenza.
2. $45.5 million
What is the secret to your success? I have a master’s in counseling. What was your biggest sale ever? A gorgeous home on Stuyvesant Avenue in Rye for $7.7 million in 2007. It was a stunning stone residence with amazing water views. I had sold the family the property five years earlier and then they constructed their own home after demolishing the house that was there. What is a myth about real estate that you think is untrue? That it’s easy. It’s really a 24/7 job. What turns off homebuyers? Many sellers don’t understand that by either doing a pre-home inspection or by staging their home, they’ll end up achieving so much more in the long run. What’s the best tip for finding a home you’ll love? Do research on the community, the area, and the home.
3. $44 million
Your worst customer ever? Some of my best friends were my worst customers. When I first started, I took one woman all around, and she decided to rent. She’s a close friend now, but she still rents. She doesn’t even rent from me. What was your biggest sale ever? $12.5 million in 2008. What really turns off homebuyers? I go into so many homes, and it’s just pitch dark. When you’re showing a home, it’s gotta be light and bright.
4. $42.3 million
What is the secret to your success? I find my clients homes they want to buy, not homes I want to sell. What turns off homebuyers? Strong smells like pets, fish, and air fresheners.
5. $41.08 million
What is the secret to your success? Marketing, marketing, marketing. Make sure that things look different so that they get noticed. All of my prices end with -222. Other real estate agents think that I do that because it’s egotistical. But when people see the -222, the finger clicks on it. Your worst customer ever? We had a client we just couldn’t do anything right. She didn’t like the photos. She didn’t like the music on the website. She didn’t like the ‘For Sale’ sign. She didn’t like the brochure. It got so bad, I fired myself, at least three times. She wouldn’t let me out, and said, ‘You’re the best.’ What’s the hardest part of the job? Convincing sellers where the real price needs to be. I’ve actually gone through more boxes of tissues this year than in my other sixteen years combined.
6. $33.7 million
What’s the hardest part of the job? We do a lot of work and spend a lot of time and often don’t get paid for it. What’s the best tip for finding a home you’ll love? Work with a full-time, experienced realtor and understand that there is no perfect house.
7. $33 million
What is the secret to your success? Success is something that I’ll probably never feel, and maybe that’s the key to my success. What really turns off homebuyers? Damp and odorous homes, dirty bathrooms and kitchens, and busy wallpaper.
8. $32.4 million
What is the secret to your success? I’m a workaholic. What was your worst customer ever? I had someone who took five years to buy a house. I had to keep a smile on my face when I showed them what I thought was the perfect house and they said, ‘Let’s keep looking.’ What really turns off homebuyers? Not giving people their own space when they’re looking at the house.
9. $32.4 million
What turns off homebuyers? Buyers do not like to be shown a home by the seller. What turns them on? A neat, clean, and clutter-free home.
10. $31.6 million
How much was your biggest career sale? I listed a waterfront property in Rye for $6,295,000 and sold it to my own buyer at $5 million. What’s the best tip for finding a home you’ll love? Visit the neighborhood frequently and at different times of the day before you make your final decision.
11. $28.7 million
What is something that sellers should know turns off homebuyers? Saying ‘we’re in no hurry.’ What’s the hardest part of the job? Persuading hardheaded clients that something is in their best interest.
12. $28.6 million
What are real estate myths? The two biggest ones: that it makes no difference who lists their home, that all agents are the same—wrong!—and that a seller should choose the agent that gives them the highest price! Best tip to buyers? Do choose location, location, but also potential, potential.
13. $28.3 million
What was your biggest sell? It happened this past July, a fabulously restored Arts and Crafts home on Bronxville’s historic hilltop for $4.9 million. What’s the hardest part of the job? Having to be available seven days a week and, usually, the intense work is happening when everyone else is off—on weekends and holidays.
14. $28 million
What is the secret to your success? There aren’t any secrets of success in real estate. The business is based upon the ability to sell. What is a myth about real estate? People think of realtors as having a part-time career or a hobby. That is a huge myth. What turns off homebuyers? Sellers should refrain from disclosing their limited motivation to sell. Just consider yourself a seller and behave accordingly.
15. $26.4 million
What’s something realtors might say that customers should be wary of? Anything that’s definitive, that this person will never go lower, that this person will never pay more, that this is the best offer you’ll ever get, you’ll never get another house like this. I find any time a realtor says something that’s absolute, they’re generally wrong one way or the other. What really turns off homebuyers? Lack of knowledge or credibility on the part of the agent. What encourages home-buyers? Great value.
16. $25.3 million
What was your worst customer ever? I worked with a guy for fourteen months. Every week we’d see houses. I just couldn’t get him to make the bid. I was dying. Finally, he put a bid in. We needed to move forward with the inspection. I called and couldn’t get him. Finally I got his wife, who said, ‘I don’t know how to tell you this, but he doesn’t want to move.’
17. $25.1 million
What was your biggest sale ever? $6.4 million in 2005. What’s something realtors might say that customers should be wary of? If you have confidence in your realtor, then you shouldn’t be wary of anything.
18. $25 million
What is the secret to your success? Hard work. What was your worst customer ever? A buyer who lacked trust in me. You could just tell by the questions. Finally I said, ‘If you don’t trust me, you shouldn’t be working with me.’ It’s the largest, single most important purchase you’re going to make in your life. What really turns off homebuyers? When the sellers are home. It’s just not good. And a lot of sellers today are using cameras, so I’ve been getting calls that brokers are letting their customers run wild in their house, playing with their toys, running up and down the stairs, letting the kids sit on their countertops.
19. $22.3 million
Why do you like being a real estate agent in Westchester? I get to see some spectacular homes. What’s the best tip for finding a home you’ll love? Look at all homes across your price range whether or not you think you like it. More often than not, people buy what they least expected.
20. $22.2 million
What is a myth about real estate? That there’s a ‘perfect house.’ There are always trade-offs.