Ryan Serhant predicts death of iBuyers, agent of the future

Serhant's brokerage will focus on expansion teams

Today’s RealTrending features an exclusive interview with Ryan Serhant of SERHANT, a New York-based brokerage. Serhant founded his real estate brokerage in September 2020. He speaks frankly to RealTrends about his opinion of the iBuyer business model, his ideal real estate agent, the future of real estate teams and more.

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Here is a small preview of today’s interview with Serhant. The transcript below has been lightly edited for length and clarity:

Tracey Velt:  What is the biggest misconception those in the real estate industry have about your brokerage?

Ryan Serhant: That I took my team and I made it a little bit bigger and now I don’t have to pay a split to the house. I don’t think that could be further from the truth. And I’ve been pretty quiet about our expansion plans. And I’m excited about this year, because I think a lot of people are going to be very surprised. The same way when I launched, right? We kept it under wraps for like a year, and we came out, [in an article in] The Wall Street Journal in the middle of COVID. I believe very strongly that if you are in any type of sales, if you are in a media company first, you are a blacksmith. There is no future, right?

You cannot scale or depend upon personal relationships anymore because people make personal relationships with their phones first. And the way of the broker has changed. There’s a lot of turnover right now with a generational gap. My future agent, the one I’m building for today, who I care about the most isn’t 35 or 45 or 55 with lots of sales experience, okay? We built the business right now the last year with people that have been in the business for at least five years. But our future, my future rockstar agent right now is 15 years old.

People come to me and say, “Hey, listen, my mom and I used to watch your show on Wednesday nights when I get home from school. I’m looking to buy my first apartment. It would be amazing if I could work with your company.”

That is brand equity pay, paying off in a way that no one else, none of my other peers have been able to do. And you know what the big difference is? I run this business. I don’t have investors, I don’t have banks. There’s no pressure here. I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. All of my competitors on the brokerage side, they are permanent CEOs and they just think about costs all day long.

I have people who think about costs. I don’t think about costs. I think about brand and sales every day. And so I also know when I meet with my agents. I can truly empathize and put myself in their shoes because I know what it’s like to lose a million dollar deal because I’ve been there. And I know what it’s like to be nervous about mortgage payments and rent payments and losing another client and the potential for a market decline. And I also have eaten what I killed for years and years. And the biggest brokerage CEOs that I know of anyway, they do not currently sell or have not sold in a very long time.

RealTrending features the brightest minds in real estate. Twice a month, brokerage leaders, top agents, team leaders, and industry experts share their success secrets, trends, and lessons learned navigating this ever-changing industry. Hosted by Tracey Velt and produced by Elissa Branch.