Confessions of ‘Million Dollar Listing’ top broker Ryan Serhant

In the New York real estate industry, only the strongest survive. Ryan Serhant, author of “Sell It Like Serhant” and star of the Bravo TV series “Million Dollar Listing New York,” is no stranger to the cutthroat pace of the business. In a career spanning over 10 years, he’s proven his grit by rising to the top of the earnings list among New York brokers, and more recently his team, The Serhant Team of Nest Seekers International, has made its mark across other parts of the U.S., such as Miami and Los Angeles.

The fierce competition, Serhant says, is driven by the limited amount of listings on the market up for grabs by a substantially higher number of brokers. “There’s not enough for everybody,” he says. “In New York this year, there will be roughly 12,000 listings and there are about 80,000 brokers.”

Serhant admits there are good and bad parts of his job. “I’m a salesperson, I eat what I kill,” he says. “I have no boss. I don’t answer to anybody. There’s no ceiling, there’s also no floor. But everything I do is up to me.” He says the worst part of his job is that he has no security – “there’s no salary, there’s no benefits.”

He also points out that one of the first things he learned when entering the real estate world was that “people, not just clients, not just brokers, but people, are liars, and a grandmother will lie to your face to save $5 if that’s what it takes.” Serhant says this reality is unfortunate, but that it makes him stronger.

Serhant shares his experience and advice when buying or selling property:

Listen for the noise in a prospective new home

One thing Serhant always makes potential buyers do is sit in each room and listen for noise. When walking through an open house, there can be lots of talking going on, so he stresses that when viewing a potential new home, everyone should make sure they go see it on their own before making any final decisions. This will help prevent a situation where you move in and find out that a particular room or the entire space has a noise problem.

Be prepared for closing costs

Closing costs can creep up on you, and Serhant advises that everyone look into these costs before you actually get to closing. He suggests inquiring about what transfer taxes might exist in your town or neighborhood, as well as what escrows might be needed for this particular transaction. He also suggests looking into what the monthly maintenance costs of the home might be after you’ve moved in. These are all costs associated with closing on a property that don’t necessarily come out in initial negotiations.

On the selling side, he mentions that a change in taxes unfavorable for the buyer could be coming into play, which might be why that particular seller is selling. “Look at what your closing costs are,” he says, well in advance of actually closing on a property.

Consider that renting is temporary

Renting is always temporary, Serhant says. He says that in the United States, it is a special privilege having freedom of credit, freedom to take out a loan, and the ability to take out a mortgage, buy a house, and own a deed to your own property. He says people can generally make money when they sell a home, but at the very least they will usually break even. “Why not try to at least get your money back, at the end, instead of paying all that money on rent and making somebody else a lot of money,” he says.

For anyone getting into the real estate business, Serhant warns that “you have to be prepared…. not to make any money for at least the first one to two years.” He says his work is a constant battle – especially to reach the level he’s at now.

“You have to be hungry,” he says. “You have to fight every day like your back is still up against a wall like it was the first day we all got into this business with no money.”

Source: Yahoo! Finance