NEW YORK STATE OF MIND

Elite Agent - - CONTENTS - Nick Har­ring­ton

in Syd­ney, Nick Har­ring­ton lived in France, Ger­many and New York, where he faced stiff com­pe­ti­tion against high-fly­ing agents from Mil­lion Dol­lar List­ing. But in the early days, des­per­ate to com­pete with them, it was some wise ad­vice to ‘start act­ing like them’ that set him on the road to sales suc­cess.

How long have you been in real es­tate? I first started in the real es­tate in­dus­try in 2003. I be­gan as the of­fice go­pher in Ray White El­iz­a­beth Bay and was grum­bling about not be­ing a ‘proper agent’ af­ter about one month. The fa­ther of my then girl­friend told me that they’ll ‘re­spect you as a sales­per­son when you act like one’. His ad­vice was to go and find some listings; not wait to be made a sales­per­son, but just to go out and be one. A month later, at one of the team sales meet­ings when ev­ery­one else had fin­ished, I asked if I could say some­thing. The of­fice sales team looked at me oddly and they were quite sur­prised when I placed three (at that time green) agency agree­ments on the table. That’s how I first got into sales.

How does it tie in with your back­ground in po­lit­i­cal sci­ence? I have al­ways been in­ter­ested in read­ing, in pol­i­tics, phi­los­o­phy, and so on. Po­lit­i­cal sci­ence for me is a per­sonal in­ter­est; real es­tate is how I gen­er­ate a life­style. I find both fas­ci­nat­ing and feel I bring a lit­tle aca­demic rigour to how I man­age listings, and how I gen­er­ate mar­ket­ing and ne­go­ti­at­ing strat­egy. How com­pet­i­tive was New York and what did you learn from the ex­pe­ri­ence? Real es­tate in New York is in­cred­i­bly com­pet­i­tive. When I ar­rived, Mil­lion Dol­lar List­ing had been on for a cou­ple of sea­sons and those guys were bro­kers ac­tu­ally in the mar­ket; guys against whom you’d try to pitch for listings! The big­gest dif­fer­ence be­tween New York real es­tate and any­where else is the cal­i­bre of the agents. Many of the most suc­cess­ful agents had pre­vi­ously been at­tor­neys, in­vest­ment bankers, com­pany di­rec­tors, and so on. They come to the in­dus­try with a rolodex of wealthy clients that they then spend their time ser­vic­ing. The big­gest take­away from my time in New York is the value of the longterm per­sonal re­la­tion­ship. The game is a so­cial game over there. It’s far less trans­ac­tional than here in Syd­ney. In New York you have a bro­ker for life, and the bro­ker trea­sures and nur­tures that loy­alty.

You speak flu­ent Ger­man and French – how has be­ing mul­tilin­gual helped your ca­reer? Back in the 1960s there was a sur­pris­ing num­ber of French ex-pats who bought prop­er­ties in El­iz­a­beth Bay. It wasn’t at all un­usual that I’d go to have a look at a prop­erty and find my­self speak­ing to the home­owner and their fam­ily in French.

Most mem­o­rable or un­usual prop­erty you have sold? The most mem­o­rable prop­er­ties I have sold were the two apart­ments in ‘Del Rio’ (2224 Bill­yard Av­enue, El­iz­a­beth Bay). The build­ing is one of the most at­trac­tive in Syd­ney: a beau­ti­ful Span­ish Mis­sion block with a stun­ning har­bour-front pool and large apart­ments with por­tico ter­races.

What would you say your ca­reer high­light has been, and why? My ca­reer high­light was speak­ing at an elite con­fer­ence dur­ing the Global Fi­nan­cial Cri­sis about how to man­age the change in mar­ket con­di­tions to en­sure you con­tinue to write the com­mis­sion you need to write and your clients still get the re­sults they ex­pect. I en­joy pub­lic speak­ing and it is nice to know you can of­fer help­ful ad­vice to peo­ple who find them­selves in the same sit­u­a­tion as your­self.

What’s the best com­pli­ment you’ve ever re­ceived, and why? Some­one told me I was the most ‘nor­mal’ per­son they had ever met. It’s not the best com­pli­ment, but it’s one I’ve never for­got­ten.

If you could give one piece of ad­vice to your younger self, what would it be? Spend more time lis­ten­ing and ask­ing ques­tions.

What would you do more quickly? Read!

Best piece of ad­vice you have ever been given? If you don’t be­lieve in your­self, how can you ex­pect any­one else to?

What has been the best thing about join­ing McGrath? I ap­pre­ci­ate the level of man­age­rial sup­port and the free­dom to work on your own terms.

What do you still find most chal­leng­ing about be­ing in real es­tate, and how do you over­come it? The most dif­fi­cult as­pect for me is the work-life bal­ance. Real es­tate is an all-con­sum­ing pro­fes­sion. It’s al­ways a chal­lenge to find the right bal­ance.

What are your goals for this year? I don’t set goals. I just work as hard and as smart as I can, try­ing to max­imise the out­come of ev­ery ac­tiv­ity. •

“THE BIG­GEST DIF­FER­ENCE BE­TWEEN NEW YORK REAL ES­TATE AND ANY­WHERE ELSE IS THE CAL­I­BRE OF THE AGENTS.”

“SOME­ONE TOLD ME I WAS THE MOST ‘NOR­MAL’ PER­SON THEY HAD EVER MET. IT’S NOT THE BEST COM­PLI­MENT, BUT IT’S ONE I’VE NEVER FOR­GOT­TEN.”

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