By:Amy Rosner By:Amy Rosner | October 20, 2021 | Home & Real Estate
SERHANT. is the first real estate brokerage designed and reimagined for the marketplace of tomorrow.
The company grew from the #1 ranked sales team in New York City into a full-service firm that is revolutionizing the traditional real estate model.
Ryan Serhant, seasoned real estate broker and star of Bravo’s two-time Emmy-nominated Million Dollar Listing New York, founded SERHANT. during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic amid uncertain market conditions.
The multidimensional real estate brokerage that sits at the intersection of media, entertainment, education, and technology, celebrates its one-year anniversary and reflects upon a year’s worth of explosive gains.
The eponymous firm has achieved substantial growth milestones and solidified its position as one of the top luxury residential real estate brokerages in New York City during its first year of business.
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“It’s been exhilarating to see our innovative brokerage concept come to life over the past year and achieve industry-leading milestones,” said Ryan Serhant, founder and CEO of SERHANT.
“We’ve built such a strong brand around the SERHANT. name, and cultivated a deep trust in our team and our offering, that we were the brokerage of choice to represent flagship luxury development projects, achieved record-breaking sales for properties of global interest, attracted top New York City agents and grew our education, marketing, and content platforms. I’m so proud of what we’ve built and of how we are modernizing the real estate brokerage landscape as we grow.”
Already an industry leader, SERHANT. has become a highly sought-after source to comment on the state of the luxury real estate market.
We sat down with the Real Estate Maven himself to discuss the current state of the industry, the impact of the pandemic on the housing market, and how SERHANT. is transforming the infrastructure of the luxury real estate space at large.
You’ve accomplished so much in your career. From hand model to soap opera actor, to Million Dollar Listing star, and now founder and CEO of one of the most successful Real Estate companies in the world. How have these past experiences led you to where you are today?
I’m a big believer in the power of yes, manifesting my future and keeping an excited energy. Everything I’ve done has led to the next step in my life. Every failure has just been a corner with another road of opportunity. If you’re nice people, and you work really, really, hard, anything can happen.
How has SERHANT. established a leading market position in such a short period of time? What advice would you give other companies in their first year of business?
After 12 years in real estate, I decided to strike out on my own and founded SERHANT. to fill a need in the industry for an agent-first brokerage designed as a content-to-commerce mobile real estate firm. Starting a company in the middle of a pandemic might seem counterintuitive, but we were confident that our unique approach to building a brokerage would resonate in the market, and it has - we’ve grown to over 70 agents and more than 45 full-time employees in our first year, closed $900 million in total sales volume, and are now the most followed real estate brand in the world.
Social media is a huge focus for us at SERHANT. But the way we create quality content is unique - we are the first-ever real estate brokerage to have a full-service in-house film studio and production team - currently run by the first-ever video hire at Buzzfeed - that creates all of our original and engaging content.
The team also manages all social media, photography, and video for SERHANT., our agents, listings, and new developments. And our content is not just content - it’s cinematic, it’s entertaining, it’s educational, it’s personal, it’s storytelling, and most of all, it’s creating results for our clients and agents.
I’ve spent my whole career building a strong brand - one that is associated with luxury real estate, creativity, and entertainment, getting deals done - especially the challenging ones, and helping others along the way.
That brand identity transcends who I am as an individual and has grown to represent the SERHANT. company as well. Agents come to SERHANT. because they know we’re going to help develop and foster their personal brand and provide them with the tools to succeed in the marketplace of tomorrow.
Clients come to SERHANT. because of our forward-thinking approach to selling, our global reach across social media and all of our platforms, and because, plain and simple, we’re the ones that are going to get their house sold or help them find the home of their dreams.
My advice to other companies in their first year of business is to dedicate time to building their brand. Your “brand” is what you’re known for; it’s the sum of your digital footprint and all of the unique value propositions that make your company what it is.
Branding is the one thing that leads to more leads and more sales than anything else. It’s the reason why someone chooses to do business with your company versus anyone else and it is my best advice on what to focus on as you grow your business. In fact, I’m taking everything I’ve learned about branding over the course of my career and am turning it into a course that will be released through SERHANT. Ventures, the education arm of the company - it will be chock full of tips and tricks that new companies can put into action throughout their first year and beyond.
What has been SERHANT.’s biggest industry-leading milestone? What milestones are you hoping to achieve in the future?
In our first year of business, SERHANT. has solidified its position as one of the top luxury residential real estate brokerages in New York City; we’re on track to close over $1 billion in total sales volume during our first full fiscal year.
We’ve represented clients in a number of record-breaking transactions including the most expensive home sale ever in the state of Florida in Palm Beach for $132.88 million, as well as the first-ever resale at the acclaimed Robert A.M. Stern-designed 220 Central Park South for $33 million. This is the highest price-per-square-foot paid in New York City since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We’re also proud of the growth we’ve seen across SERHANT. Signature, our specialty division designed to serve high net worth clients and focuses on properties over $10 million.
SERHANT. New Development is our dedicated division for the sales and marketing of new development projects. Our new development team is currently representing 13 projects, totaling nearly $2.6 billion in inventory, and recently put a unit into contract that will be the most expensive condo sale of the year in Brooklyn when it closes.
SERHANT. Studios, our in-house film studio and production team that manages social media, photography, and video content, has grown our following to over 4 million across all social channels and generated more than 102 million views across all our original video content and programming. The team also recently produced its first-ever nationally televised commercial.
Going forward, SERHANT. is looking to expand always, in all ways - we’re going to deepen our presence across New York City, sign more deals and development projects, enhance our feeder market business, sprout offices in new markets, build out our team and, most importantly, continue to foster and amplify the success of everyone who works with us - agents, employees, developers, clients, everyone.
How has the pandemic transformed the real estate market at large? How has it specifically transformed the hubs you work most closely with, New York and Florida for example?
The pandemic caused everyone to evaluate their current living situation and their needs going forward. After being indoors so long, many people began to prioritize outdoor space and amenities, and additional bedrooms or flex rooms.
11 Greene, a luxury rental new development we were working with, offered dedicated home office space in each unit - as a result, the building was 100% leased in less than four months.
2021 has been a record year for sales - there were more contracts signed in the first half of the year than any year prior and Q3 a record-breaking number of sales in a single quarter for at least the last 32 years.
We’re also seeing a decrease in average sales price but an increase in media sales price, which is a greater indicator of what is happening more broadly in the market - people have returned and are buying at all price points and discounts are shrinking. This is a healthy sign for the market that we see buyers engaging at all levels.
The Florida housing market has benefitted in many ways from the pandemic. Housing prices are at all-time highs across much of the state, and earlier this year I sold the most expensive home ever in Florida, closing at $132.88 million.
In addition to individuals moving to Florida, we’ve seen many firms headquartered in the tri-state relocating to various cities across Florida, or at the very least opening additional hub offices there.
The New York rental market is particularly competitive right now. What specific factors would you attribute this to, and do you think this will be the new normal for Manhattanites?
The rental market was under extreme duress most of 2020 as people fled or moved out to less dense areas to ride out much of the pandemic. Now, we see people returning to the city in droves, driving rental prices higher. Renters were eager to capitalize on the lower rents and now the market is normalizing.
The luxury rental market is incredibly strong due to buyers who either sold their homes and still want to maintain a presence in the city or have not yet decided to purchase. We rented out 11 Greene in record time. The market will likely stabilize by next summer and return to a more normal seasonal pattern, with an influx of renters in the spring/summer and a slowdown in the winter.
If you could describe the New York real estate market in three words, what would they be?
Fast. Growing. Exciting.
What are some trends you have been seeing in real estate? Are these trends the same across all markets?
In the real estate market, we’re seeing buyers seek out more space as they adapt to the new normal of increased remote work and school - whether it's dedicated home office space, flex space, or outdoor space and amenities.
Areas of the city that offer the greatest neighborhood feel - shops, parks, close to the water - will continue to see the strongest demand and price appreciation. For example, with the townhouse inventory remaining scarce in Brooklyn, Q3 saw increased demand, as well as premium, for larger-sized condos.
As international travel reopens, foreign buyers will return and we expect this will allow for the Midtown market to see a greater recovery.
Being that SERHANT. is an ultra-luxury luxury real estate agency, you work with a very niche population of clients. Do you ever see yourself expanding into a different demographic?
The SERHANT. brand is strongly aligned with luxury real estate - and our Signature division is dedicated to working with high-net-worth clients and properties priced over $10 million - but our agents work across all markets and price points.
Our mission is to amplify the success of others, this means clients too. But success to a client might mean purchasing their first home, upgrading as they expand their lifestyle, or downsizing to better fit their needs.
While our Signature division will always focus on working with a select segment of clientele, our brokerage is inviting and collaborative in spirit. We actively use social media and content to communicate our product offerings which allow us to reach a broad audience, create community, and ultimately sell more real estate - we’ve been very successful in this approach and are proud of the wide-ranging client base we represent.
You’ve been a trailblazer in the industry, to say the least. What qualities does it take to be a disruptor in any respective space?
Any form of success begins with Big Money Energy. Being a trailblazer goes beyond just being bold and taking risks. It’s about being magnetic, you need to attract people to your vision. Then, you need to shift your mindset so that you always present yourself to the world with confidence, credibility, and success.
And then, you need to maintain motivation, which is hard but important. Drawing a following, being confident, and outlasting the competition are all elements of not just being a disruptor, but keeping a leadership status.
You’ve been known to accurately predict industry patterns and trends over the years. What’s your secret?
History repeats itself - if you study history, you can predict the future.
Where do you think the New York Real Estate market will be in the next 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?
We will have a major setback in the markets before 2030. So we all need to be conservative and not get caught up in the hysteria we’re witnessing now. Stay humble. But like we’ve seen through history, New York City is the most resilient market in the country.
Photography by: SERHANT. Studios