New York real estate guru Leonard Steinberg shares his journey from fashion to property and how to succeed in both gigs

first_imgReal estate guru Leonard Steinberg will speak about the New York property market at AREC 2017.He made waves through the industry three years ago when he announced his defection from Elliman to Compass — a tech-centric real estate start-up with 60 employees.It now has 1600 staff and 30 offices across the United States. “Real estate’s a walk in the park next to fashion,” he said.“Think of fashion as vegetables. You make fashion and it’s perishable because after a few weeks it becomes stale. “Real estate has a much longer lifespan.”Both professions do have one thing in common in his view — entrepreneurship.“You have to think like an independent small business,” he said.“It’s not just about selling a pretty dress or an apartment. You have to look at finance, marketing, etc. “If you think of those components every single day you’ll have a successful career. It’s taken me 52 years to learn that.”Mr Steinberg’s goal as president of Compass was to make it a movement within the industry, not just a company.“There is an old fashioned way of doing real estate and there’s the new way, and the best is the blending of both, where you embrace all the traditional things real estate brokerage entails but also embrace the new world that we live in,” he said.In his segment at AREC 2017, titled The Gentleman’s Guide To New York Backstabbing Brokerage, Mr Steinberg will explain why most people see New York real estate agents in the worst possible light.More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach North8 hours ago02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa1 day agoReal estate guru Leonard Steinberg will speak about the New York property market at AREC 2017.Mr Steinberg believes consumers hate two things about real estate agents — paying them commission and bad behaviour.“There’s some really bad behaviour in our business,” he said.“But if you have a company that doesn’t let any of those agents in then you have added value to the equation.”He recalls a time when a speaker at a previous employer’s annual meeting referred to the company’s top real estate agents as ‘killers’.“At that point I made a vow that if I ever achieve success in this business, I don’t want it to be because I’m a killer,” he said.“I’m not proud of much in my career, but the one thing I will boast is I am the poster child for being a real estate agent in New York and actually being honest and ethical and kind and decent. “I can wake up in the morning, look in the mirror — I don’t like what I see — but I can look in the mirror and feel good about myself.”Mr Steinberg will also share his tips on what’s driving the New York property market.One of the New York real estate market trends Mr Steinberg will share at AREC 2017 is the emergence of the lazy buyer.“They want to walk in to an apartment or home and it must be beautiful,” he said.“For the consumer today, we’re seeing a common thread of people who don’t want to do the big renovation.”The other key selling point is ease — anything that makes life easier and saves time for the buyer because, he points out, “time is a luxury”. “The global nomad is spoiled by the service you get in a hotel and then they get home and miss it.” Real estate guru Leonard Steinberg will speak about the New York property market at AREC 2017.He’s worked with a long list of powerful people, from Oscar winners to global financial leaders, although refuses to reveal names.He also sold and helped develop one of New York’s most iconic residential buildings — 200 Eleventh Avenue in fashionable West Chelsea.Designed by famed architect Annabelle Selldorf, it features a garage in the sky — no doubt what attracted Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban to the building.In fact, the star couple were Mr Steinberg’s neighbours until he moved out recently.But success hasn’t come easy.Mr Steinberg suffered a setback early in life when he was lucky to survive a car accident that left his face disfigured.“For two years my head was a big bloated elephant man mess,” he said. “It taught me to reapply myself.” “I entered the biggest fashion competition in South Africa in the young designer section and I won.”He moved to New York in the mid-1980s where he worked as a designer at Victor Costa then Christian Dior, before starting his own company, Julie & Leonard.The label was a success, selling in high-end department stores Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Saks.A decade later, Mr Steinberg kicked off his real estate career at the Corcoran Group before moving to Douglas Elliman in 2001. New York high-end real estate agent Leonard Steinberg will be speaking at AREC 2017.ASK Leonard Steinberg what he attributes to his success and the answer might surprise you.“It’s my fake British accent.”“In America people love British accents.”In truth, success hasn’t come easy for the South African-born fashion designer turned real estate guru, who will be in the country in May to share his story at the Australian Real Estate Conference 2017 on the Gold Coast.At an age where most people are just finding their feet, Mr Steinberg went through an early midlife crisis.He was 30 years old, and after several years of surviving in the cutthroat fashion industry, he’d had enough. “I loved fashion but fashion was killing me,” he said.He tried his hand as a musician, albeit “a really bad one”, before switching to another tough gig — selling real estate. And he’s never looked back.The president of New York residential real estate firm, Compass, has marketed many of New York’s most luxurious buildings and sold over US$3 billion worth of property in a career spanning two decades.center_img Real estate guru Leonard Steinberg will speak about housing affordability at AREC 2017.When it comes to the housing affordability debate raging here in Australia, he believes New York is similar to most large global cities — including Sydney — where strong demand and short supply is pushing up property prices.“There’s only one solution to affordable housing globally — you have to build a lot of real estate,” he said.“If you aren’t building enough property, the prices go up.”And he has some blunt advice for first home buyers: buy your first home, not your dream home. “We have a generation who are not used to making sacrifices,” he said. “A lot of millennials want instant gratification.“If you want to live in a big expensive city you have to get your foot in the door and you also have to compromise.”Who is speaking at AREC 2017?International keynote speakers include:*Chris Voss*Bob Wolff*Robert Cialdini…and many more Australian real estate industry identitiesThe Australian Real Estate Conference will be held on the Gold Coast on May 28-29. For more details, or to register for AREC 2017, visit or call 1800 335 336.last_img