- Many well-known real estate agents, from Mauricio Umansky to Mary Fitzgerald, share similar habits.
- From getting caffeine to getting their time in order, top agents told Insider their tips for success.
- We’ve compiled the five habits that are easiest for ordinary people to transfer into their own lives.
What is a typical day like as a real estate agent? Most of the country’s all-star brokers will say there is no such thing, but what is clear is that many of the pros at the top of their game share a handful of similar daily habits.
From Ryan Serhant and Kirsten Jordan in New York to Mauricio Umansky and Mary Fitzgerald in Los Angeles, Insider scoured the archives to find out what some of the best do every day to stay ahead.
Whether you’re an aspiring agent or an ambitious professional, read on to live like a pro.
they take caffeine
With listings and sales totaling $150 million in 2021, Nest Seekers representative Erin Sykes starts her day in Florida with two nitro cold coffees on an empty stomach for an extra burst of energy.
Kumara Wilcoxon, agent of Austin, Texas-based Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty, drinks Earl Gray tea with almond milk in the morning, but that comes after two large glasses of lemon juice and a splash of celery juice. His morning ritual has helped him generate more than $1 billion in sales in his career.
And Los Angeles agent Mary Fitzgerald, who starred in “Selling Sunset” and sold multi-million-dollar mansions with The Oppenheim Group, can’t move without at least two cups of coffee—a human who claims she wasn’t there that morning.
They stay on top of their condition
Franes Kat zen, a Douglas Elliman rep who specializes in luxury condominium sales in New York and sold $340 million last year, is a former ballerina and stays in shape by taking dance lessons three times a week at Steps, her Upper West Side studio on Broadway.
New York-based Douglas Elliman agent Lisa Simonsen also had a former career in fitness. That’s why the rep, who sold more than $100 million in 2022, makes sure he exercises every morning in his building’s gym, often on a bike.
Former Junior Olympian and real estate great McKenzie Ryan used to compete at the national level in rhythmic gymnastics. He said he now practices a similar discipline as Elliman in New York.
“With my past, I have to be physically conditioned. Exercising is half mental, half physical,” he told Insider, which had sales of over $34 million in 2021. “I implement a ton of my business strategies while I work.” He also pulls 1000 sit-ups every night.
First, they check the markets and the news.
“Because my career depends on it,” Ryan Serhant said, not because he wakes up at 4:30 every day. The extra early start time allows him to scan the news and catch everything he needs to know before the markets open. A proven strategy: He’s sold over $5 billion in real estate in his career.
In Los Angeles, Mauricio Umansky of The Agency, which sold $298 million in 2021 and starred in Netflix’s “Buying Beverly Hills,” watches Bloomberg, Fox and CNN to keep up with what’s going on.
“I love hearing all the perspectives. I love seeing them tell the same story from a completely different perspective. It’s pretty fun,” he said.
When Sykes starts his day at home, he always has a TV running in the background to stay up to date with all the happenings that might affect their market. “When there’s breaking news, you have to be ready to comment for different channels,” said Sykes, who is also an economist. “I’ve commented from everywhere: from hotel rooms, my car, clients’ homes, my home, and studios.”
They go the extra mile for their customers
After splitting from Douglas Elliman and starting a company called Official with his brother Oren, Tal Alexander welcomes clients in his exclusive apartment building: 432 Park Avenue near Manhattan’s Central Park. He hides special meats and a wine collection from the butchers, so he always has something special on hand. Together, the Alexanders have sold over $1 billion in real estate.
Leaving your own party? Sure, if you’re Simonsen. An overbooking schedule is not uncommon in Simonsen’s line of business, where agents have to adjust to buyers’ limited windows to see homes for sale. As her team’s operations leader, Charlie McDonald, explains, “Lisa’s customers’ time is very valuable. They’re going to give us the shortest amount of time they can see something, and we need to let them in.”
Serhant buys a new SUV every year “just to update it”, although he says he’s sure his car and clothes are never prettier than his customers’ ones. “The customer comes first. And I always want them to feel special,” he said.
Maximize their time with technology and stay disciplined
Miami representative Dina Goldentayer makes sure to use the most efficient method of transportation around the Magic City to make the most of her day. This could mean jumping in the golf cart to list appointments in the Venetian Islands, having his chauffeur drive him across town, or even taking a helicopter ride to a meeting. The Douglas Elliman agent knows what it takes to be successful: He was the best-selling agent in Miami with $750 million in transactions in 2021.
Aaron Kirman, who sells palace properties with Christie’s in Los Angeles and stars on CNBC’s “Listing Impossible,” has developed a new tool called Estate Dynamics that uses artificial intelligence to find people who might be interested in buying one of the homes he’s selling. The tool then tracks their online behavior, such as their search histories and social media posts, targeting them with ads for properties that match their wishes. The goal is to help agents like him close deals more quickly and efficiently. It’s not because he needs help: Kirman sold over $725 million in 2020.
Have a pleasant lunch? Not Kirsten Jordan. With over $500 million in career sales, the one-time “New York’s Million Dollar List” star and Douglas Elliman rep always makes time for a meal, avoiding quick fixes like protein bars, but being careful not to linger too long.
Very eager to get back to work.