02-01-2014 | The Real Deal News

Manhattan's Top Agents

In the battle for broker supremacy, John Burger of Brown Harris Stevens held on to the top spot again this past year after finishing at the top in 2012. The white-glove broker had more than $410 million in listing at the time of the survey in mid-2013. Serena Boeardman of Sotheby's, meanwhile, jumped to the second place spot from the number five slot in the ranking the prior year. And Deborah Grubman on the Corcoran Group finished third, a big leap from 11th place the previous year.
02-01-2014 | The Real Deal News

Top Mid-Size Brokerages

Call them the in-betweeners. They're too small to be gigantic firms and too large to be boutiques. They're New York City's mid-size residential firms. And in 2013, for the first time, The Real Deal compiled a list ranking these firms by dollar volume of listings (in addition to looking at brokerage behemoths and boutiques as in years past). CORE finished first, followed by Warburg Realty.
02-01-2014 | The Real Deal News

Top Residential Brokerage Firms by Closed Manhattan Deals

In addition to ranking Manhattan's biggest brokerage firms by listings (see charts on adjacent pages) as it had done in years past, The Real Deal ran its first-ever ranking of Manhattan firms by closed deals (encompassing only sales above $1 million) in its May 2013 issue. The ability to rank firms based on closed sales rather than on a snapshot of listings was the result of improved data-gathering methods as well as better transparency in the industry. Data was provided by the website StreetEasy with additional research by The Real Deal.
02-01-2014 | The Real Deal Press

Top Rental Deals of the Year

Deals at the very tippy top of the rental market got even pricier in 2013. There were 13 rental deals in Manhattan that got signed for $100,000 a month or more during the course of the year, up from just one such deal last year. The Towers of the Waldorf-Astoria and the Pierre saw three of the top deals each, the most of any building, and 15 Central Park West saw two deals that made the list.
05-01-2013 | The Real Deal Press

Cornering the Middle

Call them the in-betweeners. They’re too small for the top firms list and too big for the boutiques. They’re New York City’s mid-size residential firms.

And for the first time this year, The Real Deal compiled a list ranking these firms by dollar volume of listings.

The firms — which this year had between 50 and roughly 240 agents — have recovered from the difficult market of the last few years and are now looking to grow, either by opening new offices and renovating old ones, hiring more brokers or expanding their core businesses.

“The market just has been steadily improving since the bottom in 2009, and we’ve all benefitted from that,” said Frederick Peters, president of the 126-agent firm Warburg Realty, which logged in at No. 2 on TRD’s ranking with $188.1 million worth of exclusive listings. (TRD’s data was collected from listings provider Online Residential in mid-March.)

Nabbing the No. 1 slot was the 55-agent brokerage CORE — which took the top spot on last year’s boutique list. This year, the company had 70 exclusive listings worth some $344 million. Rounding out the top three was relative newcomer Keller Williams NYC, which had 68 listings worth $186.5 million.

Collectively, the top nine mid-size firms had 319 Manhattan residential listings worth a total of $909.5 million.

Blu Realty founders, from left: David Tobon, Moshe Balalo, Alon Chadad, Michael Arcos and Andy Kim

Making moves

CORE saw a substantial uptick this year — 41 percent — in the dollar value of its listings. (TRD’s ranking last year found that it had listings valued at a total of $244.7 million.)

Much of that boost is due to one super-pricey listing: a five-bedroom property at 15 Central Park West, listed for $85 million with CORE’s Emily Beare.

CEO Shaun Osher said the firm has recently started representing several new developments, including the 92-unit 93 Worth Street in Tribeca.

The company also opened its first Uptown location on the Upper East Side last month, bringing its total number of offices to three.

“We’re definitively growing our brand,” Osher said.

In terms of number of agents, however, he said he’s not looking to drastically increase the size of the firm. Osher said the firm will “continue to grow organically,” but noted that he’s very picky about the agents he hires. “Per agent, we’re very efficient,” he said. “We don’t have agents who don’t do business.”

Warburg is also making moves. In March of this year, the firm moved from its longtime headquarters at 969 Madison Avenue into swanky new headquarters at 654 Madison.
Peters explained that it wasn’t until 2012 that Warburg even considered the upgrade.

“We needed more space,” Peters said. “It just seemed logical to look into an office building with a more central location; 2008 and 2009, the market had gone into the tank so it was hard to think about making a change like that and spending a whole bunch of money.”

“I love it. I am so excited about this place,” Peters added. “This move is clearly the most significant thing we’ve done” in the past year.

Next, Peters said he plans to renovate the firm’s other two offices to make them as “state of the art” as the Madison Avenue office.

That’s a significant change from the downturn. In 2009, Warburg shuttered two of its offices — at 2235 Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem and at 65 West 13th Street.

But when it comes to number of agents, Peters said he has no plans to grow Warburg significantly more than its current total of 126 agents.

“I’ve made a decision about the size that I wanted to maintain for the firm because I want to make sure our broker-to-manager ratio is always small enough so agents can always get the training and support and feedback that they need,” Peters said.

Meanwhile, the 62-agent brokerage MNS is expanding its reach.

The firm — which was formed in 2011 as a merger between the Developers Group and the Real Estate Group New York — recently opened a new Williamsburg office at the Edge, which the firm has been marketing. The firm has two other offices in Manhattan. (Only Manhattan agents and listings were included in this ranking.)

“We have a good story in [Williamsburg],” MNS CEO Andrew Barrocas said. “We have a high concentration of apartments coming on the market and more condo sales than any other company out there in the Williamsburg market.”

While the firm is marketing a number of new rental and condo developments in the outer boroughs, “we did do a lot of business in the Manhattan market” this year, Barrocas said. For example, the firm is marketing the new development condo 2280 Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem.

MNS stayed mostly consistent in terms of Manhattan dollar volume of listings, TRD found, increasing to $27.4 million in total dollar volume of listings from $27.1 million year-over-year. (Like CORE, MNS was also on the top boutiques list last year.)

Like many others, Barrocas attributed the lack of substantial growth to the work MNS has been doing with buyers as well as sellers (see related story, “Brokers turn to buyers to boost business”).

“There are probably 30 buyers to every one apartment that’s out there,” Barrocas said. “A lot of what we do work on is new developments and there were periods where there weren’t any new projects being planned.”

Another firm, 55-agent DJK Residential, is also shifting its focus. The firm came in at No. 7 with $13.9 million in Manhattan listings.

With listings few and far between in Manhattan, the firm has been doing a lot of work in New Jersey, through its office in Nutley, according to Phyllis Pezenik, the company’s vice president of brokerage services.

“With the market being tight and exclusives being gold, everyone’s looking for the bigger properties and they’re scarce,” she said. “But short of building them, we’re trying to find them wherever we can.”

The fifth-ranked firm, 80-agent Fenwick Keats, founded in 1989, had $44.2 million in sales listing volume for 38 listings this year. (Its most expensive listing was a $19.95 million Upper West Side townhouse at 47 West 70th Street.)

The firm, previously called Fenwick Keats Goodstein, bought out Goodstein Management in late 2010. Following the split, it moved out of its Downtown office at 45 Seventh Avenue and into new headquarters at 419 Park Avenue South.

In addition to its headquarters, it has an office Downtown at 45 Seventh Avenue and one on the Upper West Side at 2244 Broadway.

“We adhere to the basics and we are very consistent and steady, so our agents are really trained to deal with all markets and deliver with both our buyers and our sellers,” said Kinnaird Fox, Fenwick’s director of development.

Not mid-size for long

Some firms that are currently mid-size don’t plan to stay that way.

Keller Williams NYC — the Texas-based firm, which opened a Manhattan franchise in 2011 — hopes to grow to 750 Manhattan agents in the next three years, according to Eric Barron, Keller Williams NYC’s CEO. (The firm was founded by powerbroker Illan Bracha, who is still at the helm as the firm’s chairman.)

TRD’s mid-March tally found 240 agents listed on the firm’s website.

Barron said Keller Williams NYC also hopes to open four more offices across the city — on the Upper East and Upper West sides and two Downtown — in the next three years. The firm currently has one office, at 425 Park Avenue.

Growing the number of agents is crucial to Keller Williams’ unusual profit-sharing model: Half of Keller Williams’ annual profits are paid out to brokers who have recruited other agents.

But Barron said he’s not daunted by the fact that the firm has a long way to go. “We’re building the core and the foundation first and then we’re looking to expand,” he said.

The firm’s visibility may get a boost now that a Keller Williams broker, Luis Ortiz, is joining the cast of Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing New York.” The season premiere of the series airs this month.

Keller Williams hired Ortiz from real estate brokerage Synergy NYC this past year. Barron said he was initially concerned about how Ortiz would be portrayed on the show, but is so far happy with how it’s shaping up. “How can you argue with the name Keller Williams New York City being on television six times a week?” he said.

Another new firm, Blu Realty, clocked in at No. 4 on the list with 28 exclusive sales listings worth $80.5 million.

Blu was founded in 2011 by five former Nest Seekers International brokers. According to TRD’s tally, Blu had 56 agents as of mid-March. But firm co-owner David Tobon disputed that, saying the company has 66.

He said the firm aims to have 100 agents by the end of the year to fill two new offices it’s looking to open — one Downtown and another on the Upper East Side. (The company currently has two offices, its headquarters at 1674 Broadway, and an Upper West Side outpost at 120 Riverside Boulevard.)

Tobon attributed the firm’s growing business to an increase in international clientele.
“We’ve gotten a lot of international clientele in the last year,” he said. “That’s where we’ve grown in sales.”

He said Blu’s increase of international clients has come primarily from the firm’s newly formed London office, which has exposed a variety of foreign buyers and sellers to the brokerage.

Back home in Manhattan, the firm is currently marketing several high-end listings, including a $27 million Upper East Side townhouse at 170 East 80th Street and a $17.5 million Upper West Side townhouse at 38 West 87th Street.
04-04-2013 | New York Observer Press

Introducing the Upper East Side’s New CORE

A new establishment is taking shape amidst the elegant shops and high-priced pads of the Upper East Side: on the corner of Madison and 61st Street, boutique real estate agency CORE is opening its gorgeous new flagship office. Last night, in the swanky downstairs party room of Rouge Tomate, The New York Observer teamed up with CORE to celebrate the launch of the real estate brand’s exciting expansion.

Habanero-infused tequila cocktail in hand (made peach-colored, in honor of The Observer), we mingled among CORE’s jubilant team- members and some of the city’s biggest names in real estate.

“The [new] office is gorgeous, and it is perfectly located—you can’t miss it,” enthused Reba Miller, CORE’s director of sales. “Anybody who has any interest in real estate is going to stop by ... It’s professional, with that edge that you want in today’s times.”

We asked Shaun Osher, CORE’s studly South African founder and CEO, what the Madison Avenue expansion means to him. "It means
going into a market that we’ve sold a lot of real estate in, and I’m looking forward to selling more real estate in," he said. "[It’s] a prime location that reflects our brand, and a location that can really cater to the needs of our clients on the Upper East Side."

So what does the future hold for CORE? “Really establishing ourselves as a force in the luxury market on the Upper East Side,” Mr. Osher said.

CORE’s expansion wasn’t the only cause for excitement at Rouge Tomate. In the spirit of luxury living, The Observer was also celebrating the launch of its new lifestyle section, NYO.

“Jack and I have never felt so short in our lives,” joked Mr. Osher, as he and CORE co- founder Jack Cayre stood next to Jared Kushner and Joseph Meyer.

“We’re especially excited to be a part of NYO, the lifestyle section that launched today, because real estate is a part of everyone’s lives, and we look at CORE as a company that caters to everyone’s lifestyle,” Mr. Osher said in a speech to the room.

After helping ourselves to a cracker topped with a petite pile of arctic char, we chatted with Jack Cayre, whose family has been partnered with Mr. Osher from the beginning. “I’ve been looking forward to coming to the Upper East Side for a while. We’re looking to really jump in to the area with both feet,” Mr. Cayre said.

Yet, Mr. Cayre confessed that he himself couldn’t lay claim to any Central Park views. “I live in Brooklyn,” he confided. “Not the nice part.”

Near the bar, CORE agents Lee Frankel and Jeffrey Smith were mingling with brand new hire Keri Chambers, who had signed her contract a mere 24 hours ago.

“I think it’s really important for CORE to have a presence on the Upper East Side, because the brand of the company, it’s a higher end company and it’s deserving of the Upper East Side,” said Mr. Smith, a UES resident who knows the neighborhood like the back of his hand. Where’s his favorite street, we inquired, should we fall in to a sudden windfall? Should we be putting down roots on 81st street, like our favorite material girl?

“I’m partial to Carnegie Hill because that’s where I live, so I would say 91st street between 5th and Madison,” he said.

As the launch party neared its end, waiters circled the room with trays of delicate desserts. We nibbled on rich chocolate truffles and peppery coconut macaroons and washed everything down with more swigs of spicy tequila.

If there’s one thing we’re certain of when it comes to CORE and The Observer, it’s that these two New York institutions truly know the meaning of luxury.
04-04-2013 | The Real Deal Press

CORE Debuts on Upper East Side: PHOTOS

Residential real estate brokerage CORE unveiled its second Manhattan retail office today and had a party last night to celebrate. The rather tasteful, subdued gathering took place in a sleek basement lounge at the Rouge Tomate, an upscale Upper East Side restaurant known for its nutritional offerings, and was hosted by the firm in partnership with the New York Observer, which just launched a new lifestyle supplement to its weekly newspaper.

As such, heavy hitters from both real estate and media were in attendance, including key CORE clientele such as Walker Tower developers Michael Stern and Elliott Joseph. Core owners Shaun Osher and Jack Cayre were spotted as well as top execs from the firm such as Reba Miller, who will head the Upper East Side office, and top brokers Doron Zwickel and Vickey Barron.

Newly anointed East Village super landlord and Observer publisher Jared Kushner worked the room alongside his brother-in-law, Observer CEO Joseph Meyer and Observer Editor- in-Chief Ken Kurson. The Real Deal publisher Amir Korangy and director of marketing Yoav Barilan were also in attendance.

Party-goers sipped on salmon-colored cocktails and nibbled on hors d’oeuvres. Miller told The Real Deal she was ready stand on the street corner to make Upper East Siders aware of CORE’s new presence in the neighborhood and drum up business.

“If you buy an apartment, you get a free $50 Barney’s gift card,” she joked.

CORE inked a 10-year deal for the 3,500-square-foot office at 673 Madison Avenue last fall, The Real Deal previously reported. The retail office occupies the second and third floors of a historic brownstone between 61st and 62nd streets above a boutique Judith Ripka store.
04-03-2013 | New York Observer Press

To Do Wednesday: NYOMG

Do a double toast to celebrate the opening of Mad @61st, the new Madison Avenue flagship store from Shaun Osher, the CEO, and the Cayre family, and the launch of the hotly anticipated NYO—The New York Observer’s new lifestyle section, your guide to a very
stylish life. The dress code is “festive,” and though it was just Easter Bunny time, we suggest avoiding pastels. Wear something that pops for the party photographers—perhaps a little metallic, as The Observer just celebrated our silver anniversary.

Rouge Tomate, 10 East 60th Street, (646) 237-8977, 7-10pm, by invitation only.
04-02-2013 | New York Observer Press

Getting to the Core: Shaun Osher Talks NYC Real Estate Stardom

WHEN NYC SALES STAR Shaun Osher decided to open CORE in 2005, the South African native teamed up with Jack Cayre with a very specific vision in mind. “I wanted to provide an unparalleled level of service to my clients,” he says. In 2006, Messrs. Osher and Cayre opened the firm’s first retail office in Chelsea, and they have been aiming high—as in high-end—ever since.

To serve that high-end segment, CORE created a website that raised the bar in the industry with its outstanding photography and innovations like the first market report based on real-time data, The Real-Time Report, and a blog to which Mr. Osher personally contributes. He also created a traveling sales office to market and sell properties globally.

“To be an agent at CORE, you have to conduct yourself according to our brand integrity, culture and business model,” says Mr. Osher. “We are a marketing agency first and foremost and always look to pioneer new tools and technologies to sell real estate.”

The firm’s rise has been fast and sure. CORE was named the No. 1 boutique real estate brokerage in New York City last year by the industry chronicle The Real Deal. And according to Mr. Osher, there are no plans to slow down. In April, CORE will open a new Upper East Side office on East 61st Street and Madison Avenue as the company plants a new flag uptown.

Q: What is your view of the real estate market this spring?

A: The market right now is frenzied, due to a lack of supply and a huge demand for inventory. Most markets are driven by consumer confidence, which in Manhattan is very strong. There is a lot of wealth in the city, and there just is not that much supply. What we see, traditionally, is that upward trends always start in Manhattan then spread virally to the outskirts. When buyers get priced out of the city, they go further out—to Williamsburg, Long Island City, Jersey City, places like that. Then it spreads from there. Those neighborhoods grow and change. For instance, Williamsburg is a very different place and market today than it was three years ago.

Q: How is the market on the Upper East Side?

A: The Upper East Side is divided into segments. Fifth Avenue is still the single most powerful address on the globe. Park Avenue is the second most. It has always been all residential, architecturally beautiful homes, with very established residential addresses. Going further east are addresses with less architectural significance. These are newer buildings, less accessible to transportation, and the neighborhoods were not originally built to be residential. But with the shortage of housing, new neighborhoods get discovered. The Second Avenue subway will have a positive effect on property values. There are some newer high-end buildings further east, like The Lucida [151 East 85th Street], 74th and Second, The Brompton [205 East 85th Street], the Georgica [305 East 85th Street] and The Laurel [400 East 67th Street]—all newer, more high-end buildings. The developers created luxury product with great amenities. Those buildings are helping the neighborhoods. Restaurants and more shopping are following.

Q: Is 96th Street still the cut-off point for many buyers?

A: Not really. We are selling a project at 1 Museum Mile at 109th and Fifth. It has extensive amenities, including private parking, a rooftop pool, park views and a doorman. It is designed by Robert A.M. Stern, and it has become a destination building.

To add value, you have everything you need, which gives buyers a reason to go a little out of their way. You may travel another 10 blocks, but it’s worth it when you get there. It’s kind of a microcosm of the suburbs.

Q: Do you think this trend of the “destination building” will continue?

A: Yes, because Manhattan is the epicenter of the world, and it has also become the best and safest big city in the world, and it is an island, so the amount of real estate is limited. Developers are continually looking to create more product to feed the demand. The stabilizing factor is that land prices keep going up. That prevents a glut. The market is almost self-leveling in that way.

Q: Do you have any advice for Manhattan home buyers?

A: If you see something you love, and you can afford it, you should buy it. In Manhattan I’ve never seen someone regret buying property, but I have seen lots of people regret not buying. Don’t try to time the market. If you buy for the right reasons, you can’t go wrong.

Q: Is there a typical Manhattan buyer these days?

A: No two buyers are the same. New York is very beautiful and eclectic in terms of buyers and buildings. That’s what makes the city special. Take Tribeca—it was not originally built for residential use, but many buyers are attracted to the huge volumes of space, the beautiful high ceilings, etc. Then there are buyers who aren’t attracted to those qualities at all. They want something more modern, with floor-to-ceiling windows.

We could sell a loft in Tribeca for $4,000 per square foot, or an apartment in the Time Warner building for that.
There are a limited number of townhouses, and not everyone wants them, but those who do create that market for townhouses, the same with Tribeca lofts.

That’s the beauty of New York. It is simultaneously an old and a new city.

Q: What are some of the neighborhoods you see emerging?

A: Far West Chelsea is emerging. Art appreciators are drawn to it because of the galleries and the spaces.
Madison Square Park has become one of the most active neighborhoods in the city. Not so long ago, it was considered a bad neighborhood. Now it has the park, incredible retail like Eataly and new trendy hotels like The NoMad. The transportation is great, and new restaurants are catering to new residential activity.

The Bowery is also very exciting. We did a project at 52 East Fourth Street.

Q: Who is buying apartments in Manhattan? What groups of people?

A: Here we have probably the most diverse buyer pool in any city. Artists, financial professionals, tech entrepreneurs, international buyers, entertainment people, entrepreneurs in general and professionals.

Q: Where are the international buyers typically coming from?

A: They come in different waves at different times. Right now, everyone is talking about Chinese buyers. We are doing deals with lots of different people from all over the world, people from every continent—except Antarctica.

New York has this romance with the world. It’s in movies, stories. Owning a penthouse in the sky in New York is a dream people have all over the world.
02-01-2013 | Scene Press

Stellar Sellers: Shaun Osher, CORE Founder and CEO

I'm a broker's broker - first and foremost - which gives me a unique perspective as the owner of CORE. As one of the top agents in NYC, I founded CORE as an extension of my business and ideology, which is to thrive on a transparent environment where we share ideas and information seamlessly. By eliminating hierarchies found in large organizations, we communicate in a manner that not only encourages us to grow, but also enables us to provide the highest level of service to our clients.

A fact that some people may not know about our firm is that we find inspiration from innovators and brands outside of real estate that are relevant to the world we live in. With this as an integral part of our culture, we can pioneer new initiatives that help the real estate industry evolve. CORE is a marketing firm that sells real estate, and we have built our resources around this model. We express this through everything we implement, from our agents, website and offices, to our use of social media, blogging and video content.

Our firm continues to grow organically, and I’m excited to expand our business to further service our clients on the Upper East Side with an office on Madison Avenue and 61st Street which will open in the spring of 2013.

2006: CORE is founded and opens its retail storefront in Chelsea.
2007: CORE releases the Real Time Report, the first monthly market report of its kind.
2008: The first NYC real estate brokerage blog, the CORE Blog, is introduced.
2010: HGTV’s Selling New York airs its first season, starring various CORE brokers.
2011: CORE implements the first proprietary listing system with StreetEasy.
2012: The Real Deal ranks CORE as the #1 boutique real estate brokerage in New York City
2013: CORE is set to open its Upper East Side office in the spring of 2013.
01-01-2013 | The Real Deal Press

A Day in the Life of: Shaun Osher

The CORE CEO walks TRD through a typical day, as he bikes up to 75 miles, juggles pricey listings and plays the sax

6:30 a.m. I usually wake up at 6:30. Half the week I stay in Port Washington, on Long Island. That’s where my two beautiful daughters live. The days when I don’t have my girls, I’m on West 9th Street, where I share a townhouse with my girlfriend, Brittley Jarrell, who is the chief operating officer of Core. I’ve always been very active — I work out about four or five times a week. It’s usually a bike ride, between 20 to 75 miles [before work], and it’s usually loops in Central Park. Today, I ran seven miles along the Hudson. I also try to meet with my trainer once a week, to do push-ups, pull-ups, the rowing machine and rope-climbing, like back in my army days in South Africa. I was in the army for two years. There was six months of basic training, which was brutal. I was living in the bush, crazy stuff.

7:30 a.m. When I stay on Long Island, I take my daughters to school. Then I go home and start checking emails on my iPhone. There’s a 9:11 train that I usually take into the city. When I’m here, I will help Brittley take her boys to school. Then I will hop in the shower and do my emails from the apartment.

10:00 a.m. to noon Most mornings, I’m in the office by 10. Today, I had a conference call with the sales team at 93 Worth, a 92-unit condo conversion in Tribeca. Sales started in early December, and more than a dozen contracts have been signed already. Whenever you open a building, you have nearly constant engagement with the sales team and the developer. The first two weeks are very intense.

But it’s a good problem to have. I spend about 15 to 20 percent of my time working on new business, which means meeting with new agents. We have about 70 employees, and we have two offices. We’re opening a third one, on the Upper East Side [at 673 Madison Avenue], in mid-February. It will be a showroom and will house 30 agents.

Noon I don’t really do lunch meetings because they’re long, and I only have so many hours in the day. So, I usually eat on the run or get something in the office. A turkey sandwich, that’s usually my go-to, but I pretty much eat anything. Last Wednesday I had a meeting at noon with Michael Stern, managing partner of JDS Development Group, which is building Walker Tower, a 53-unit condo. We met at the sales office in Chelsea. The project is going well. We’ve sold a significant amount. [StreetEasy shows that 40 percent of the building has sold.]

2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sometimes I will drop by our office on Seventh Avenue to check in, and an agent will pull me aside to ask about a deal. For example, Emily Beare needed advice on a $95 million listing she has at 15 Central Park West. We have property lists of people who are really affluent, so we reach out and let them know the unit is available. Emily also represented the seller, Leroy Schecter, in his purchase of the Rothschild Mansion on the Upper East Side for $25 million. I pulled some comps together and helped with the negotiation.

5:00 p.m. If I have my girls, I’m heading home to be with them. I am very involved with their after-school activities, so I will take Ava [who is 11] to tennis and pick up Ella [who is 6] from dancing. I love to cook — maybe some chicken, or pasta, though my recipes are expanding. And Ava likes to bake, so once a week after dinner, we’re baking.

6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. If I’m in the city, I will go home and play sax for a while. I keep a tenor sax in Manhattan; my two altos are on Long Island. I keep my soprano sax here [at Core’s headquarters, at Fifth Avenue and 16th Street] and sometimes I play at night when nobody is around. The acoustics are really good in here. I played the sax in jazz bands — I played at the Blue Note, the Cupping Room Café and the Village Gate before it became a CVS. Every once in a while I will still go to see jazz, like at the Village Vanguard.

8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. I skip the charity events; I usually just write a check. So we will have dinner in the apartment or go out to Tertulia, on Sixth Avenue, or Alta, on 10th Street. I don’t watch much TV — maybe Monday Night Football, or the Tour de France, or some cricket if it’s on. I also read a lot. I just finished “King Leopold’s Ghost,” about North Africa and the Belgian Congo. I also like GQ and Vanity Fair. And Seth Godin’s blog, about marketing, but I don’t really focus on real estate too much.

10 p.m. onward I’m in bed between 11:30 and 1, depending on how many emails I have. I like to start my day with a clean slate.
07-01-2012 | The Real Deal  Press

Manhattan’s Top 75 Listing Agents

John Burger has had a good year. Not only did the Brown Harris Stevens broker earn the No. 1 spot on The Real Deal’s annual ranking of Manhattan’s top listing agents, he also more than doubled his dollar volume of listings from a year ago to $411.7 million.

That number sets a new bar for the ranking, which is based on dollar volume of active Manhattan residential listings, gathered from Online Residential in mid-June. (Scroll down to see the chart of Manhattan’s top agents.)

Last year, the top agent, Brown Harris Stevens’s Paula Del Nunzio, had $358.4 million in listings. This year, she ranked No. 3, with $293.8 million. That tally includes an exclusive for the Woolworth Mansion at 4 East 80th Street, which has been included in Del Nunzio’s total since it was listed in March 2011 for $90 million.

Rounding out the top five are the Corcoran Group’s Carrie Chiang at No. 2 with $316.2 million in listings, Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Dolly Lenz at No. 4 with $255.1 million and Sotheby’s International Realty’s Serena Boardman at No. 5 with $198.9 million.

Collectively, the 75 agents with the highest dollar volume of listings had more than $6.34 billion worth of properties on the market, up 8 percent from last year’s total of about $5.96 billion.

Burger — who employs one full-time assistant but otherwise works alone — chalks up his success to the network of clients he has built over a 28- year career.

“Those people have fortunately come back to me over the years for all of their real estate needs and the needs of the next generation,” he told TRD during a phone interview from London, where he was attending a birthday party for a friend and client.

A Manhattan native, Burger was 22 years old when he obtained his real estate license, lured by the chance to work with both investment assets and people. “It’s sales and marketing, like many other forms of sales and marketing, but the end of the pipeline is somebody’s home, and that’s a very meaningful process to be involved in,” he said.

But this year has been a particularly successful one for Burger, thanks to eight-figure transactions like the $34.6 million sale of William Lie Zeckendorf’s co-op at 927 Fifth Avenue, and listings like a private investor’s full-floor co-op at 944 Fifth Avenue, priced at $50 million.
In addition, there are outside factors contributing to Burger’s — and other agents’ — jump in dollar volume of listings this year.

With the presidential election looming, homeowners may have a heightened sense of urgency to sell before new capital gains tax rates take effect, Burger said. He has also noted a “newfound confi- dence” in the Manhattan market.

Burger listed the unit at 944 Fifth, which comes with 70 feet of Central Park frontage and a separate guest apartment, on June 1. He declined to say whether the seller had received any offers since, but said interest in the home was “very strong.”

At another of Burger’s listings at 907 Fifth Avenue — a combination of three apartments that can be reconfigured back to architect J.E.R. Carpenter’s original 18-room layout — the seller bumped up the asking price to $29 million in May. It first went on the market for $25 million in January.

Trophy listings

This year, several brokers are appearing in the top 10 for the first time, due in part to the presence of several extremely high-priced trophy properties on the market. Landing just one of these ultraexpen- sive listings can propel a broker into the top echelon of Manhattan listing agents.

Consider Noble Black, a former securities lawyer who joined Corcoran in 2005.

Black has never ranked on TRD’s top 75 list, but this year he is No. 7 with $135.1 million in listings. In January, he and Corcoran colleague Bonnie Pfeifer Evans listed songwriter Denise Rich’s pent- house at 785 Fifth Avenue for $65 million. (Evans, who frequently teams up with Black on listings, is a personal acquaintance of Rich’s.) Billed as the largest-ever penthouse offered on Fifth Avenue, the 20-room apartment is the third most expensive home on the market, according to StreetEasy.

Black is also listing a townhouse at 101 East 63rd Street — formerly the home of the late fashion designer Halston — for $38.5 million.
But despite a longstanding interest in real estate, Black almost didn’t join the profession: He was intimidated by staking his livelihood on commissions.

Then, while he was working at a law firm, the producers of “The Apprentice” approached the hand- some young New Yorker about auditioning for the reality show. He didn’t get the part, but he did land a brief consulting gig with the production company. Then, instead of returning to his legal ca- reer, he reevaluated his professional life and decided to give real estate a shot.

That decision appears to be paying off: Black said he is now making more money than the partners at his ex-firm.

So would Black ever return to law? “Oh, God no,” he said.

Coming in one spot below, at No. 8, is real estate veteran Sharon Baum, director of Corcoran’s ex- clusive properties division, with $127.5 million in listings. Despite her long history in Manhattan real estate, Baum is making her first appearance on TRD’s top 10 list. (She did not appear on the 2011 ranking, and was No. 22 in 2010.)

Baum is one of four brokers sharing a $72 million co-exclusive listing at 828 Fifth Avenue. The spread is actually made up of three units: a duplex maisonette off the lobby; a triplex apartment spanning the second, third and fourth floors; and a penthouse on the sixth floor. The apartments previously belonged to the skyscraper developer Howard Ronson.

The other brokers on the listing include Corcoran’s Deborah Grubman and Leighton Candler, who occupy TRD’s No. 11 and No. 22 spots, respectively, as well as Stribling & Associates broker Alexa Lambert, who landed at No. 14.

“Do we like having it to ourselves better? Sure,” Baum said of sharing the listing with Stribling. “[But] we’re fine working with Alexa, because she’s terrific.”

Baum estimates that about 90 percent of her deals take place on Fifth Avenue, Park Avenue and Central Park West, plus the “great side streets” in the area. A former banking executive who was a member of the first Harvard Business School class to include women, Baum works with her younger brother, David Enloe, and three other team members.

Today’s market is unlike any other in her experience — not a seller’s market, not a buyer’s market and not quite a changing market either, Baum said.

“In a changing market, nobody’s right,” Baum said. “In today’s market, for the first time that I’ve ever seen it, I feel that everybody’s right.”
In other words, both buyers and sellers stand to benefit from market conditions, such as low interest rates, off-peak prices and a shortage of good properties.

To be sure, measuring brokers by dollar volume of listings — itself a moving target — does not give a complete picture of a broker’s abilities, since it eliminates important factors such as buyer’s side representation and closed deals — data that can’t be obtained in a comprehensive way presently.

The ranking also excludes certain properties, such as a $65 million townhouse at 7 West 54th Street, which is zoned commercial, noted Brown Harris Stevens’ Del Nunzio, who has the listing. Del Nun- zio, a townhouse specialist, told TRD she got into real estate “through a love of architecture and its transformation of space and light.”

There are a number of other brokers this year with listings above $50 million.

Multiple ways to the top

Sotheby’s duo Elizabeth Sample and Brenda Powers have a $60 million listing at the Time Warner Center. After TRD collected the data, however, they took the property off the market for the slow summer months; the owner hopes to get a better price for the unit in September, Sample said.

“He is willing to wait for the market to catch up to where he wants to sell his apartment,” she added.

Sample and Powers are also listing a 4,825-square-foot unit at the Time Warner Center for $42.5 million.

All told, Sample and Powers had $162.9 million in listings, pushing them up to the No. 6 spot, a significant jump from their No. 19 position last year when they were still at Brown Harris Stevens. In 2010, they were No. 5.

Sample attributed their success in part to the strength of the luxury market.

“Just across the board, there are some record-breaking numbers — record-breaking dollars per square foot — and there is extremely limited inventory because there is such strong demand again,” she said.

Of course, marketing one or two trophy properties is not the only way to pull in hundreds of millions of dollars in listings.

Corcoran’s Chiang, for example, works on new developments as well as individual homes. Currently, she and her team are managing sales for the Cassa NY Hotel & Residences at 70 West 45th Street, where 39 units are on the market, ranging from about $951,000 to $20.3 million. (Chiang and Board- man, of Sotheby’s, both declined to be interviewed for this article.)

Chiang took over the marketing of Cassa from Ilan Bracha, founder of Keller Williams NYC, in Feb- ruary after Chinese firm HNA Property Holding Group acquired the building from an affiliate of Assa Properties.

Bracha is No. 18 on TRD’s ranking, with $100.4 million in listings.

Meanwhile, the Kleier team — made up of Michele Kleier and daughters Sabrina Kleier Morgenstern and Sa- mantha Kleier Forbes — ranked No. 9 with 20 properties on the market. Their $127.5 million in listings range from a junior one-bedroom for $459,000 to a six-story mansion at 158 East 61st Street asking $13.5 million. The trio, which appears on HGTV’s “Selling New York,” debuted on the top 10 for the first time this year after coming in at No. 25 in 2011 and No. 51 in 2010.

Elliman’s Lenz seems to take a similarly diverse approach to list- ings.

Her exclusives include a three-bed-room unit at 15 Central Park West priced at $35 million — which Lenz called a “bargain” during an appearance on Bloomberg TV inthe spring — and fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld’s three-bedroom apartment at 50 Gramercy Park North, now asking $4.95 million.

Ranked at No. 10 is Elliman’s Leonard Steinberg, who works closely with Hervé Senequier and seven other team members.
The Leonard Steinberg Group has a total of $127.3 million in listings, including the $11.5 million triplex penthouse and two other units at the Arman, an eight-unit condo building at 482 Greenwich Street where they are overseeing sales.

The group is also listing 54 East 81st Street, a 7,500-square-foot townhouse that is undergoing a gut renovation, available for $17.95 million.

If you don’t have a product to sell, you have to create it,” said Stein- berg, a former fashion designer. He realized long ago that he’d rather be involved in the conceptual stage of new developments, he said, rather than merely executing a developer’s vision.

In the next few months, Steinberg plans to start marketing 150 Charles Street, a 98-unit West Village condo conversion developed by the Wit- koff Group.

Steinberg called the project the “most exciting” one he has ever worked on.

“It is shrouded in a veil of secrecy,” he said, “but when the veil is re- vealed, it will be beyond anything anyone’s ever expected downtown.”

06-01-2012 | The Real Deal  Press

Boutique Breakthroughs

In the world of Manhattan boutique firms, a new company is king.

For the first time since The Real Deal started ranking boutique firms in 2009, the seven-year-old brokerage Core knocked the venerable Upper East Side brokerage Leslie J. Garfield & Co. from its continuous perch atop the firms with the highest dollar volume of listings.

Both Core and Garfield have more listings than they did last year at this time, according to TRD’s research. But Core’s 99 Manhattan residential listings are worth a total of $244.7 million, an increase of almost 41 percent from $173.6 million last year at this time. Meanwhile, Garfield’s 23 listings are worth $182.4 million, down 15.3 percent from $215.3 million last year.

Collectively, the 358 agents working at the top dozen boutique firms had 271 Manhattan residential properties listed for sale, totaling nearly $874 million, when TRD collected the data from listing provider Online Residential in early May. That’s up from last year, when the top dozen firms had 276 agents who shared 231 listings worth a total $690.4 million.

“The size of the company doesn’t matter,” Core CEO Shaun Osher said of his firm. “It’s actually the power that we have in our listings.”

Jed Garfield, owner of Leslie J. Garfield, expressed disappointment that the firm his father founded in 1972 was no longer No. 1, but he also said the company generated more revenue than ever last year, with several megasales. (In the last year, the firm’s deals have included the $23 million sale of Irish financier Derek Quinlan’s townhouse at 20 East 64th Street and the $15.5 million sale of 21 East 70th Street.)

Two agents left the firm during that time — one for a wind power software company and another for Prudential Douglas Elliman — trimming the ranks down to eight agents, including Leslie Garfield, who is no longer working full-time as a broker.

“Hopefully you do one thing better than 99 percent of the other people out there, and I think we still do that,” Garfield said.

That one thing involves brokering the sales of high-priced Upper East Side and Upper West Side townhouses, including multifamily townhouses. The firm’s priciest listing is the $30 million, seven-story residence at 12 East 96th Street, marketed as a single-family home, that currently houses an Italian private school.

In contrast, Core’s sales business runs the gamut from Harlem to the Financial District and from co-ops to new-construction condos. Indeed, it appears to be Core’s handling of sales at several new developments that propelled the company from its long-occupied No. 2 spot, according to TRD’s analysis of the firm’s listings.

In November, Core took over sales at 1280 Fifth Avenue, developed by Brickman, from Brown Harris Stevens and Nancy Packes Inc. It later rechristened the 116-unit tower One Museum Mile and launched an advertising campaign with the tagline, “Art appreciates.”

Core brokers Tom Postilio, Natalie Rakowski and Parul Brahmbhatt have 18 of the units on the market at the moment, asking a combined $38.7 million, including an eight-bedroom combination unit priced at about $7.2 million.

The brokerage also has multiple listings at two Chelsea developments — the Cammeyer and 350W16th — as well as a townhouse at 38 Bethune Street in the West Village listed at almost $15 million. The firm is also “imminently” planning to list $500 million worth of condos at the 53-unit Walker Tower in Chelsea, Osher said.

More visibility

Since 2010, Core brokers have appeared alongside Warburg Realty and Gumley Haft Kleier brokers on HGTV’s hit show “Selling New York,” which Osher said has given the firm a platform to showcase its brand and its agents.

“But with respect to our business, our business model is not affected by the TV show,” he said.

Still, the show has increased Core’s visibility “tremendously,” said fellow cast member Michele Kleier, president and chair of Gumley Haft Kleier.

Kleier, too, is reaping the rewards of her star turn, along with daughters and fellow “Selling New York” stars Sabrina Kleier-Morgenstern and Samantha Kleier-Forbes.

Although the brokerage once again had the third-highest dollar volume of listings, Gumley Haft Kleier increased its listings value by 34.4 percent to $113.2 million. (Kleier said the total was closer to $129 million.)

But she said the increased visibility that comes from TV is especially beneficial for a firm like Core, which counts so many more developers among its clientele. In contrast, developers typically bring in Gumley Haft Kleier to market one-off trophy properties in their projects, as Two Trees Management did with the penthouse in the Clocktower Building in Dumbo.

“It’s extremely helpful for a [brokerage] that focuses on new construction because developers love to be on the show and certainly want the exposure,” she said, noting that the private sellers who make up the bulk of her firm’s clientele may see the show’s publicity as a liability.

Gumley Haft Kleier’s agent count dropped by three to 36, which Kleier said is consistent with her plan to keep her firm at 40 agents or less. “We’re very selective because we work in an atmosphere where everybody works very closely together,” Kleier said.

Osher said he has also committed to limiting the size of his firm, while imposing rigorous standards for agents.
In the last year, this approach has sometimes given the impression that Core had a revolving door, as an influx of new talent — including Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Lawrence Rich and Halstead Property’s Ivana Tagliamonte — joined the firm and left within a few months.

Adding to the uproar, Osher abruptly replaced Mark Ripka, his well-liked managing director of sales, with Reba Miller, head of the eponymous brokerage.

“Most of the agents were asked to leave,” Osher said, although he was reluctant to revisit the controversy.

But many of the defectors challenged Osher’s contention that they were fired, saying they left of their own accord. (Ripka has since joined MNS.)

TRD’s tally reveals that Core is almost exactly the same size now as it was a year ago, with 52 agents compared to 51. More recently, broker Jarrod Randolph, named one of Forbes Magazine’s “30 under 30” in real estate, joined Core from Brown Harris Stevens.
“If you compare us to any [residential brokerage] in the city, our income and productivity per agent is the highest by a multiple,” Osher claimed.

More shake-ups

Core’s position at the top of TRD’s ranking is not the only shake-up among Manhattan’s boutique firms. Three brokerages cracked the list for the first time this year, while others have dropped off since 2011 —partly a function of the way a few listings can affect a boutique firm’s rank.

For example, Barak Realty’s dollar volume of listings fell to $7.9 million this year, compared to $16.1 million a year ago.
“We don’t really have a lot of listings that sit on the market for a long time,” founder Barak Dunayer said.
Three firms have maintained their positions from last year: Fox Residential Group, at No. 4 with $84.5 million in listings; the Modlin Group, at No. 6 with $48 million in listings; and Key-Ventures, Inc., at No. 7 with $45.7 million in listings.

“Our focus is the same: to build high-quality, personal relationships,” said Adam Modlin, who founded the Modlin Group with his brother, Avery Modlin, in 1999. “We don’t have a business where we service strangers or walk-ins.”

But there was still room for rookies on the list.

Blu Realty, a 100 percent-commission firm founded in early 2011, debuted at No. 5 with $57.5 million in listings. Founded by five alumni of Nest Seekers International — Alon Chadad, Moshe Balalo, Andy Kim, David Tobon and Michael Arcos — Blu now has 59 agents and 34 listings, according to TRD’s research.

Blu recently tapped Halstead’s Vince Rocco to head up the firm’s second outpost, an office in Trump Place at 120 Riverside Boulevard launched to capitalize on new developments on the Upper West Side.

The strategy appears to be paying off, as 19 of Blu’s 34 current listings are resales in Trump Place and Extell Development Company’s the Avery, also on Riverside Boulevard. The firm is also set to bring three newly renovated Upper West Side townhouses to market, each priced between $12 and $14 million, Chadad said.

Also new to the list is MNS, the firm created out of a 2009 merger between the Real Estate Group New York and the Developers Group.
While the bulk of its Manhattan listings are concentrated in two Harlem developments — the Lenox at 380 Lenox Avenue and 2280 FDB at 2280 Frederick Douglass Boulevard — MNS has tried to broaden its focus in the last year, working with buyers and individual sellers in addition to developers, according to CEO Andrew Barrocas.

“We market a building, we [sell] it out and agents have gone back a couple years later and gotten resales in the buildings,” Barrocas said.

MNS has also gained a wider reputation by overseeing sales at the Edge, Douglaston Development’s once-stalled Williamsburg megaproject (although Brooklyn listings are not included in this ranking).

With that development nearly sold out, MNS has several buildings in the pipeline, ranging from 20 to 100 units and located in the Lower East Side, Union Square and Murray Hill, Barrocas said.

Another newcomer is the seven-year-old Platinum Properties, which lands on the ranking by virtue of its $16.5 million penthouse listing at 200 Chambers Street in Tribeca.

The apartment first hit the market at nearly $17.8 million last July. Platinum has offered a $100,000 bonus to the broker who brings in a successful buyer.
01-25-2012 | New American Luxury Press

Shaun Osher on "The Market That Never Sleeps"

Shaun Osher started CORE, a boutique real-estate brokerage and advisory firm, six years ago with partner Jack Cayre after becoming disenchanted with the generic client services offered by New York’s larger firms. CORE quickly rose to the top thanks to its focus on providing the highest level of personalized service and expertise in the field. Osher recently spoke with New American Luxury about the trends, limitations, and wish lists of one of the world’s most exciting, expensive, and evolved real-estate markets—Manhattan.

Part of CORE’s success is due to your unique philosophy and your desire to keep real estate fresh and relevant. What separates CORE from other firms?

CORE represents the evolution of real estate. We are a company interested in how real estate should be conducted in 2012, [whereas] a lot of companies are operating on the same fundamentals that they were in 1980. The world has changed, and we as a company strive to be at the forefront of all of those changes.

What properties are hot in New York real estate right now?

Clients are looking for quality—something they’ve become so used to seeing a lack of in this market. New Yorkers want turnkey, well-conceived, perfectly finished apartments and homes.

Are there design styles that are more popular than others?

Our clients are looking for everything from traditional to modern styles; it runs the gamut.

Different personalities want different things, and we pride ourselves on being able to help find the perfect fit.

Is there anything that high-end New York clients look for across the board, no matter their preferences in style?

The fundamentals of real estate—the things that are key to making your lifestyle and home a special place—we call those “the intangibles.” This includes the view, the layout, the ceiling heights, the amenities, whether there is a doorman or not. Ultimately it always comes down to the same thing: location.

What are the geographic trends right now?

Our focus is mostly Manhattan, and within the island we’ve seen a lot of downtown neighborhoods emerge as desirable luxury neighborhoods, like the West Chelsea area. The West Village area has always been popular, but it’s more desirable now. And really what we’ve seen recently is NoHo [North of Houston Street] evolving into one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in Manhattan.

Outside of location, what’s at the top of every New Yorker’s wish list?

Location and then price points, followed by bedroom and bathroom counts, and then the luxury items—the intangibles I mentioned before. Things like finishes come last.

What are your clients willing to sacrifice to have the ideal location?

Certainly, there is always a trade-off. People will sacrifice space, which is the ultimate luxury in New York. And then they start sacrificing things on their wish list—views, bedrooms, [and] details like flooring, appliances, or other finishes.

Are you seeing an influx in “green” properties? Are New Yorkers ready to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle?

We have more clients now looking for that lifestyle than we did 10 years ago, but unfortunately not as much as I’d like to see. Because of the economy and what we’ve just lived through, and what we seem to be faced with now, money is still the driving force behind the majority of decisions people make. They don’t see how these sustainable choices will save them money in the future; they see the up-front costs.

One of the most exciting things for your firm has to be your involvement with HGTV’s Selling New York. How has the show impacted business?

It’s been the most powerful branding experience and something we couldn’t replicate if we tried. To be shown in 60 countries to millions of people a week is an exposure we couldn’t have dreamed of.
12-06-2011 | Gotham Press

Broker Beat: Core Group's Shaun Osher on Utilizing Cyberspace for The Ultimate Insider’s Edge in Securing Residential Space

Shaun Osher, founder and CEO of Core Group, an upscale residential and commercial real estate brokerage and marketing firm, believes that success begins with this mantra: Knowledge is power. But reaching far beyond simply advising buyers and sellers on comparable projects in their area, Osher and Core Group—which he founded in 2005 with partner Jack Cayre, scion of a powerful yet under-the-radar billionaire real estate family—were among the first to harness the power of the Internet to move real estate and attract new clients to their business.

“We use our blog as a marketing tool because it is an open platform where we can instantly reach a mass audience and communicate and interact with them,” says Osher. “It gave us the platform to openly express our philosophy, business practices, and knowledge on the market.”

According to Osher, something as simple as using the Web’s search engines to learn about a buyer or seller, investigate the background of a builder or developer, or study a contractor and designer can give the smart real estate investor an insider’s edge in a competitive market. “We live in a world of transparency,” he says. “Both buyers and sellers should embrace the technology and use it as an asset.”

In today’s market, Osher says, there is still “low inventory” for high-end properties. If you are a buyer and you can close a deal—do it. “Don’t be fixated on one or two percent differences,” he says. “Finding the right apartment is priceless.”
11-16-2011 | NYC Resident Press

Real Estate Featured Q&A - With Shaun Osher of CORE, from "Selling New York"

In Manhattan, where you live can define your status amongst the finest of all things. Many will claim the Upper East Side and TriBeCa hold their place as home to some of the priciest properties in the city, and that would be accurate. There are those properties that are now fetching top dollar downtown in the Financial District in anticipation of the new 1 World Trade building. However you view your status, New York City is a “real estate city” so, why not create a television show that gives you a birds eye view of the ins and outs of how NY residential real estate gets done, and some of the major players behind what moves those million dollar properties.

I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of reality TV, although there are a couple of shows that I will from time to time take a few moments to catch, for the drama, suspense and occasional surprise episode. There is, however, one reality show that I have followed since its premiere: “Selling New York,” which airs on HGTV and is about to begin its 4th Season. Now I may be a bit biased here, since I have been involved in the real estate industry for some time, mostly on the media side; nevertheless, I live to see new buildings being erected and how our skyline takes new shape, and learning about the people who make these things happen.

The 4th season of “Selling New York” premiered on October 13th in the 10:30pm slot, to much fanfare. The show follows three prominent NYC real estate brokerages as they usher buyers and sellers through some of Manhattan’s priciest pads. We had the chance to sit one on one with Shaun Osher, CEO of CORE, which is one of the three featured real estate companies, and a businessman who sure knows his way around the sometimes tough NY real estate world. Shaun and I had what seemed to be a very relaxed conversation where the answers just flowed from him in an unassuming way. When all was said and done, Mr. Osher had to make room for one more person on his "new way of doing real estate" bandwagon. The passion that was eagerly displayed on his face with each and every answer to my questions was testiment to this trailblazer’s mission to redefine the way that real estate is done in Manhattan and beyond.

Resident (NYR): When did you start CORE?

Shaun Osher (SO): We started the company in April of 2005 after realizing that the way real estate is done needed to be changed and redefined.

NYR: How has being featured on the TV show ‘Selling New York’ affected you and your company?

SO: Well, it certainly has given us more visibility, but I am still the same simple person I was before.

NYR: Since being featured on ‘Selling New York’ have you noticed people recognizing you from the show?

SO: Yes.

NYR: Do you feel a bit of celebrity setting in to your personality?

SO: Nope. I'm still the same person I've always been.

NYR: What can people expect when doing business with a CORE agent?

SO: An expert with a company that is going to deliver the highest level of service with more resources than any other company in the industry.
company in the industry.

NYR: What are your thoughts on the state of the real estate market over the previous three years to today, and going forward?

SO: The industry as a whole has taken a tremendous downturn; with that said, I believe that there will always be sales taking place, namely in
NYC, and I see considerable growth happening over the next five years.

NYR: Where does CORE sit among the many NYC real estate brokerages?

SO: First and foremost, we consider ourselves a marketing company that happens to sell real estate. We have built a brand that has become synonomous with luxury and high level service; in doing so we have the top producing and most knowledgeable agents in the city.

NYR: Compared to other real estate companies, what makes CORE Agents different?

SO: I give my agents more resources than any other company. We have an incredibly active blog (, we have an in-house PR team dedicated to our listings and agents, we as well have in-house photographers who have been trained under our brand to deliver the level of photography and imagery that our clients have come to expect.

NYR: What are your thoughts on social media/networking in regards to your business?

SO: We have a social media marketing expert in-house who will sit with the entire CORE team, including myself, and come up with ways to virally spread the message, so, to answer your question, I believe that it is a very important part of doing business in today’s business world.

NYR: Being in real estate for almost 20 years, how has the business changed, or has it?

SO: Well, for one I am very much for transparency in the industry and that was almost non-existent when I first became an agent. Brokers are now relied upon for service and insight, not data. Much of the data that only the professionals had access to many years ago, prior to the evolution of the internet as we now know, is available with a few keystrokes by pretty much anyone.

NYR: Is being a real estate broker in NYC as tough as it is perceived by many?

SO: One of the most difficult accomplishments is building a great reputation in this city and I believe that a real estate company is only as good as its weakest agent, which is why we have to focus our culture as a company on consistency and transparency so, we can learn how to get better and better from one another.
11-08-2011 | The Real Deal Press

Osher's CORE Acquires Residential Firm R.P. Miller & Associates

11-07-2011 | Crain's New York Press

Three Residential Brokerages Shift into Drive

06-10-2011 | The Real Deal Press

Q & A with Midtown Equities' Jack Cayre

04-07-2011 | The Wall Street Journal  Press

Dose of Reality Helps to Sell Condos

A converted office building on lower Fifth Avenue sold its final two condo units, ending an unusual marketing campaign that relied on a reality television show and social media to sell apartments in the luxury building.

Final condos sold at 141 Fifth Ave.

The 12‐story loft building known as 141 Fifth Ave. was featured on two episodes of "Selling New York," which airs on cable channel HGTV. One of the episodes showcased a penthouse apartment that is topped by a copper‐dome cupola with a wrap‐around terrace, the property's signature feature.

There's been some debate in the brokerage community over how much new attention or additional sales can be generated by an apartment's appearance on a cable‐television show. Many brokers remain skeptical.

But Core, 141 Fifth's selling broker, counted on the show to raise the building's profile, supplementing that exposure with Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

Core also took advantage of curiosity about the restored cupola, which can be spotted blocks away from its location at 21st Street and Fifth Avenue, by hosting parties, fund‐raisers and open houses in the penthouses.

A developer can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and more to pay for a traditional print advertising campaign to market a luxury building.

Core Chief Executive Shaun Osher said the alternative approach is the future for the industry, and he is preparing a similar campaign for his next building.

"We made a very strategic decision to avoid an expensive print campaign," he said.

The cupola apartment and a neighboring penthouse were the last two units to be sold. The deals closed on Wednesday, with a buyer who wasn't identified paying $12.9 million for the two apartments.

Overall, total sales for the building's 34 units came to $112 million, with an average price per square foot of about $1,700, according to Core.

The beaux‐arts building, which was completed more than a century ago, was bought for $54 million in 2005 by a partnership of developers led by Savanna. The developers spent more than $40 million on an extensive restoration and gut renovation that left the property covered in mesh for three years.

While many of the units sold quickly—and two have already been resold—the final units took time to move. Core vastly overpriced the cupola apartment compared with the deal price. The initial asking price was $12 million, which amounts to about $1 million less than the buyer actually paid for that apartment and the one next door.

"It was hard to value that apartment because there is no comparable one in the city," said Mr. Osher.

03-11-2011 | The New York Times Press

The Ascent of the Little Guys

11-17-2010 | Press

Meet CEO of Selling New York's Power Agency, CORE: Shaun Osher Talks Real Estate!

11-01-2010 | The Real Deal Press

Cutting To The CORE

07-07-2010 | The New York Times Press

The 30 Minute Interview with Shaun Osher

07-02-2008 | The Real Deal Press

CORE expands beyond its core location

01-22-2008 | The Real Deal Press

Osher Reaches Around the Globe

10-10-2005 | The Cooperator Press

Shaun Osher forms CORE Group Marketing

Former Prudential Douglas Elliman broker Shaun Osher has formed CORE Group Marketing, a full-service,boutique-size real estate firm that will have an integrated. Sales and marketing force to focus on the New York metro area.

CORE Group Marketing will specialize in services to developers, sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants. CORE will provide value adding consulting, marketing and hands-on sales, in office management and exclusive property representation in the marketing of co-ops, condos and townhouses. Osher will be joined by other members of his former Prudential Douglas Elliman team, as well as agents from other major Manhattan firms.

Osher says, "At CORE Group Marketing we intend to limit the size of the organization to make our service more personal and responsive than that of the larger firms. I will be intimately involved in our whole operation' so that our clients can expect to deal with me directly in a layer-less environment where information and creative ideas are free-flowing and enriched by the most advanced technologies."