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Ryan Serhant on What it Takes to Make the NYC Real Estate Market Work for You

Trust us when we say that Ryan Serhant knows New York City real estate. He is the face of the hit Bravo reality show Million Dollar Listing New York (the third seasons starts up April 2 at 9pm), in which he navigates the most exclusive listings in the city for some of the richest clients imaginable. Forty million dollar penthouses, temper tantrums from sellers, cutthroat competition to bring in the highest commission — Serhant has seen it all. In less than five years, he was able to sell nearly one billion dollars of real estate for NestSeekers International, a more than impressive feat for a young broker in New York. With expertise in both the buying and selling market, Serhant offers five tips for getting what you want in the always dramatic, ever changing New York City real estate market.

Ryan Serhant

Ryan Serhant (Photo: Courtesy of Serhant)

1. Don’t enter the market alone.
Buyers and sellers often make the mistake of listing or shopping for properties without the help of a broker. “Don’t do it on your own,” warns Serhant. “You will get hurt.” When buyers shop for property, they’ll face landlords who use professionals and are “already prepared for battle,” as Ryan puts it. If you don’t have professional help on your side as well, you risk overpaying.

2. Don’t go shopping at the mall and forget to bring your wallet.
Serhant says this a common mistake buyers make: They begin searching to buy a home before their finances are in order, or before they know how much they can actually pay for a property. “Before you start searching for a property, go to your bank first,” says Serhant. Know how much money you’ll be able to secure for a home loan and get pre-approved for a mortgage. Buyers also need to be realistic with their income and how much of it can go toward monthly property payments. As Serhant puts it, “Always work with your wallet in hand.”

3. In this market, be prepared to pay ask or more.
You don’t have to watch many episodes of Million Dollar Listing New York to know that property in New York is hot. With wealthy buyers coming in to the city from all over the world, the competition for a nice apartment or townhouse is fierce. If you want to buy in popular neighborhoods of Manhattan or Brooklyn, don’t expect to nab a deal. Be ready to put in a high offer or to engage in a bidding war.

4. In this market, don’t be a dreamer.
“Be realistic,” Serhant urges. “Don’t expect to find a one-bedroom apartment in a popular neighborhood of Manhattan for less than a half million — it’s just not possible.” And going back to his tip of shopping with your wallet in hand, he says, “Don’t expect to afford more than you really can.” Other mistakes of real estate daydreamers? They wait on buying property that they love, only to have it snatched up by someone else. “If you see a place you love, don’t expect it to still be on the market one month later,” says Serhant. He brings his clients into the office before the actual process begins to fully educate them on the market and the purchase process — that way, buyers won’t have questions or potential holdups while looking at properties.

5. Hire Ryan Serhant.
“I’ve thought long and hard about this one,” Serhant says, “And I’m telling you to hire me.” Serhant has the qualities a buyer or seller should look for: He’s got impressive access to all corners of the market, he’s aggressive, knowledgeable, and he works with the best professionals in New York. Catch him in action during the third season to see if his style is right for you.

For more on Ryan, read our 2013 interview with him where he dishes on the day-in-a-life of one of Manhattan’s most successful real estate hustlers. See some of his real estate listings on

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