A Day In The Life of A NYC Real Estate Broker

Rest assured, I rarely take annual leave — despite what this (stock) image says!

Rest assured, I rarely take annual leave — despite what this (stock) image says!

Here’s what the broker lifestyle is really like…

One question I get asked more often than any other is: What does a broker do on a daily basis? The truth is, this job is always a bit of a whirlwind, and no two days are exactly the same—which is one of the reasons I love it so much. Here’s a peek behind the curtain at one recent day on the job, a quick glimpse of what the broker lifestyle is really all about.
7am From the moment I wake up, I’m checking emails to see what messages from clients may have come in during that small time frame when I’m actually offline and sleeping. One reason people like working with me is that I set an expectation that clients can call or email me at any time, day or night. Probably the most important thing about being a broker is staying available 24/7/365. A good broker is never, ever plugged out.

8am Contrary to the glamorous impression you may get from “Million Dollar Listing,” I’m actually drudging away at the office by eight every morning. I like to get started before others are in, so that I can see what new listings are up, what properties have been updated, and respond to new requests from clients, all before the day starts to get hectic.

9:30am Skype call with a prospective seller who is out of state to discuss getting his listing ready. The New York market is so fast moving, and New Yorkers themselves are always moving at breakneck speed, so I try to have all the info lined up for clients who aren’t available for a face-to-face meeting, ensuring they can act quickly and never lose a second.

11am Jump on the subway, head over to new Downtown property I’m about to list, and meet the photographer on-site. A lot of people think a broker’s job only starts when the listing goes live, but there’s so much to do before then, especially in terms of getting the apartment in the best condition. I’m always there for the photo shoot to ensure everything is in place and the images represent the property in the best, and most accurate, light.

12pm Fly back to the office and find out that a closing I’ve been working on for three weeks isn’t going to happen. You can’t win every one, but that’s the nature of this game: it’s always an emotional roller coaster. I immediately get back on the phone with my client to discuss his options and strategy for re-launching the listing.

2pm After grabbing lunch at our office I get on the 2 train to show a young couple a property on the Upper West Side. Showing properties is a huge part of the job - a broker might show fifty properties to one of their clients before finding the right match. While walking through, we check in and recap other properties they’re considering, going over the pros and cons of each one, and discuss getting their documents in order to put in the best bid.

4pm Back on the train—I’m on the subway so much that I can tell you exactly which car to board in order to get out in the right place at pretty much any stop. Now it’s off to another listing I’m launching on Central Park West. This one’s a high-profile client in a sought-after building, and everything has to be perfect. We’ll spend eight weeks painting, staging, and talking through details before this listing goes live.

6pm Hop on the phone with a seller’s broker to discuss a bid my buyer just put in. People tend to think that we real estate brokers are all at each other’s throats all the time, but the truth is 90% of transactions in NYC are co-broked and good brokers are happy working together. It usually takes two experienced agents who know how to collaborate productively in order to get a deal done and ensure both buyer and seller are happy.

8pm After dinner I pop into Union Square to catch a movie—something I love doing because you’re actually forced to turn your phone off (trust me, people will yell at you if you don’t). I like going to movies alone because it’s a quiet place that gives me a chance to clear my head and think about all the transactions I have in process.

11pm Back at home, while catching up on “Game of Thrones” I do a last cycle through emails, refresh listings, and prepare for the morning—maybe even jump on the phone if a client has a last question for the day.

That’s the life of a broker—perhaps not as easy-breezy as some envision, but there’s a reason why Forbes recently reported that real estate agents are the happiest people out of any profession in America. It’s always a roller coaster and you’re juggling a million things at once; but at the end of the day (and during every minute of the day) I’m doing what I love most: helping people find a home.