In The Sell, the brokering, bartering bible written by New York City-based real estate mogul Fredrik Eklund, the Swedish sales expert writes: “Stop comparing yourself to others and realise that while you may not have the same things others have to offer, what you do have to offer — you — is enough…”
It’s easier said than done — especially when there are people like Eklund out there. The 44-year-old is beyond successful, having closed over $20 billion of residential real estate deals during his time at the top of the industry (and $4.5 billion last year alone). Those seriously impressive numbers have seen him attract the attention of the Million Dollar Listing reality television series and the Real Estate Board of New York, of which he is a member. He even founded Eklund Stockholm New York, the most high-end real estate brokerage in Scandinavia — and another wildly successful venture at that.
So how has Eklund done it? Despite studying at the Stockholm School of Economics, Eklund never graduated — putting him in an elite group of successful men without a degree. But, if anything, more real-world experience has made him the man he is today; being dubbed a ‘triple-threat’ in 2016 by The New York Times. Since then, many more deals have been closed, and Eklund has reinforced his place at the pinnacle of New York City’s towering real estate scene. Here, we ask how he got there, what his favourite project has been and if there’s anything left to achieve…
When did real estate become your passion?
Honestly, it was my very first deal in NYC. I came to New York with no experience, no Rolodex, no friends, and no money, but I did have big dreams. So I got my license, took the little I knew, and in six months closed my first deal. $525,000 on W 20th St. When I got that $15,000 commission check I was hooked and shocked that something so lucrative could also be so fun.
In The Sell, you highlight the importance of charm. Does this come naturally, or do you have to work at it?
You can definitely work on it however, you have to have a real interest in people. Kindness is the first step to charm. What I do is I scan the room, person, or property and look for something I genuinely like. The major trick is you can’t be gimmicky with your compliment, it must be genuine. When I am at home I see a part of the home that I love and use that as a genuine conversation starter to get to know someone
You’ve closed over $20 billion in deals so far. Do you have a number you’re aiming to hit?
No, I really don’t! Right now I am very driven about building the best team. We currently have 75 agents and 12 offices and are quickly growing. I am so proud of the family and hardworking spirit we have created with our team. I am more focused on our team than our numbers. The numbers will come if the team is filled with genuine people who work together.
How has the real estate industry changed since you began your career?
The industry has changed completely! When I started people were faxing listings — that tells you how old I am! Brokers were keeping listings very close to their heart. There wasn’t any transparency in the marketplace — now everything is out in the open. This industry now promotes working together like never before!
But I think the inventory shortage (NY, Miami, TX) is a real problem. Because of this, I predict we will go backwards in the sense that more and more deals are happening off market. Now more and more deals won’t go onto MLS because they simply sell too quickly to even be put on the market.
Why is it important that real estate brokers have a personal ‘brand’?
It’s very important for agents now to have their own brand because it’s an already competitive industry. Take a look at NYC, with an estimated 75,000 agents in Manhattan alone. Everyone is competing against one another. Your brand is your integrity as well as your track record. Your brand is a way to step apart from other agents and your way to stand out. However, once again, your brand has to come from within and be authentically you. That’s also part of the sell.
Would you approach a $500,000 sale differently to how you’d approach a $20 million sale — or do the same principles apply despite the size of the sale?
The same. That’s what we pride ourselves with, that we give the same service and exclusivity regardless of price point, the best photos, videos, national and international outreach.
What’s the most exciting residential project you’ve been involved with?
There are so many. They are like my children, so hard to pick. 53 West 53rd St by Jean Nouvel is one of those iconic Central Park towers which are setting all sorts of records. Another one is Olympia in Brooklyn which today set a price per sqft record in the history of Brooklyn with a new signed contract. It’s selling incredibly well and it’s the tallest and most iconic building in Dumbo, Brooklyn.
Where in the world do you see the most promise for real estate investment in the next five years?
Texas, USA. We have teams there now in Austin, Dallas and Houston and I go there every week. It’s really insane what’s happening there.
Which of your listings would you say had the best view ever?
15 Central Park West, PH.
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