The Real Deal took a look at former Rookies of the Year to determine how they got off to a fast start, the impact the award has had on their careers and what they’re up to now.
Elise Ehrlich (2012)
Elise Ehrlich served as chief marketing officer for a $140 million direct marketing company named Media Solutions Services before joining Halstead Property in 2010 to work more independently. She also has an MBA from Fordham University.
“Part of me thought I was too young to be a rookie,” Ehrlich said, referring to winning the award. “I do always explain to people that I had a prior career. I ran a $140 million company. There’s nothing rookie-ish about that.”
Ehrlich got off to a quick start after joining Halstead and soon secured a relationship with a sponsor looking to offload 20 to 30 units over several years. Despite having little experience, Ehrlich convinced the broker-wary sponsor to list with her, following a meeting with her manager and a more experienced broker she had asked to help out.
Ehrlich was solicited by at least two other companies following the award ceremony last year. She was also awarded the company’s in-house award for most promising agent. When The Real Deal spoke with the broker last week, she had been offered a position with another firm the day before. She has chosen to remain with Halstead. She currently has five active listings, according to her agent’s page, ranging in price from $349,000 to $1.2 million.
While Ehrlich said the dollar volume of her deals has gone up since the award, she said she could not necessarily attribute the uptick to the award.
“I don’t know if I could say that I got a particular deal because I got Rookie of the Year,” she said.
Renee Fishman (2009)
When Renee Fishman decided to ditch her law career — first as an attorney at Weil Gotschal & Manges and then as in-house counsel at a start-up — to become a real estate broker in 2007, her colleagues in the legal profession questioned her move.
“Lawyers by their nature are very conservative and certainty-driven,” Fishman said, “and so a lot of people said I was brave to leave a steady pay check and go into real estate.”
Upon joining Halstead, Fishman looked to leverage her social media savvy and existing connections to make deals. Instead of cold-calling prospective sellers and working open houses as rookies tend to do, she bulked up her social media presence and set about reminding people within her social and professional networks that she was now a broker.
“I felt I had to do something consistently to remind the people in my network that this is what I do now,” she said. “I could do that through old fashioned direct mail, but it was more natural for me to reach people through social media.”
Winning the REBNY and in-house Halstead award validated Fishman’s career move to former colleagues, she said, and heightened her profile in the industry. She has since been asked to conduct classes on social media by REBNY and serves on the organization’s education committee.
Still, being a former Rookie of the Year does not necessarily guarantee deals, Fishman said.
“I would never walk in [to meet a client] and assume they’re going to give me the business because I won Rookie of the Year, just like I never would assume they they’d give me the business because I have two Ivy League degrees or because I’ve practiced at a top [law] firm,” she said.
Nevertheless, the dollar value of Fishman’s deals has been on the uptick. She recently closed a $3 million deal at Metropolitan Tower at 146 West 57th Street, her highest-priced transaction thus far.
“[The client] asked me if I’d ever sold a $3 million listing before,” she explained. “I didn’t lie. I said, ‘No, but the skill set involved in selling your home is no different than the skill set required to sell a $1.5 million home, and I’ve done plenty of those.’ He liked my moxie.”
Monday, April 01, 2013