For most, middle school New York City history is just another core course they have to get through. For McKenzie Foster, it was the experience that set her future in motion.
“I became fascinated by the city of New York and these beautiful old buildings,” she said. “I started going to look at pre-war apartments and touring open houses on weekends. From that very moment, I knew real estate was what I wanted to do so I got my license before graduating from Horace Mann.”
As a newly minted real estate agent, Foster made her first sale. While still in high school.
“I did my first deal for my parents when I was a teenager, finding them a pre-war apartment on Riverside Drive on the Upper West Side,” she said. “From there, I worked at a number of real estate companies every summer in college, such as Winick Realty, Douglas Elliman, and Related, closing deals and learning the intricacies of commercial, residential, and developmental real estate.”
The rising star has yet to slow down, since graduating from Hamilton College and joining CORE, the #1 real estate brokerage in Manhattan.* Foster is making deals for sellers, finding properties for buyers, and also working as an in-house broker for a financial advisory company in the city.
“I have a pretty large range of business and work with many different types of people that come from to me from referrals or return for additional service,” she said. “My desire is to always get the absolute best deal for whoever I’m working for, and make it as enjoyable a process as possible.”
Whether it was the influence of a real estate family (dad is a commercial broker, and the family regularly bought, fixed up, and sold apartments) or the call of crown moldings and hardwood floors, Foster seemed destined for a successful real estate career. But destiny notwithstanding, she is committed to a relentless study of her craft, which has earned her a reputation for diligence, hard work, and exceptional product knowledge. It’s a skill set that helps even the most finicky and discerning clients accomplish their real estate goals, and when those goals converge with an historic property, all the better.
“I work with all types of properties, but I definitely specialize in pre-war buildings,” she said. “Those properties are concentrated on the Upper West Side and the West Village, but I go wherever the deal is. Flatiron has beautiful historic properties as well, and I know them really well because I have lived there.”
In fact, the local nomad and native New Yorker has lived in multiple places around the city, having moved a handful of times since 2007 and with plans to move again in the upcoming months. “I want to purchase my first property by 25, so I am working really hard toward that,” she said.
“I like to try out different neighborhoods and really get to know different areas, and the only way to do that is to live there,” she added. “It really does change the dynamic of a showing with a buyer if I can speak personally to what the neighborhood is like. I’m not just showing them the apartment but telling them about the lifestyle. It makes a difference.”
As does her complete commitment to the study and practice of real estate. Extensive time, effort, and dedication are typically required for real estate success. But for Foster, her love of real estate-and the city- extends well beyond the norm.
Foster’s free time is filled with real estate-related endeavors including writing her blog, “The Sky’s the Limit NYC,” which covers historic real estate in New York. She is also in the process of writing her first book, a continuation of her college thesis centered on the real estate holdings of the Astor and Vanderbilt families in the Gilded Age.
“It’s no secret I really love real estate, New York, and history,” she said. “I love exploring the city. I think it’s the most magical place in the world and I enjoy being able to share it with as many people as I can.” Foster recently started leading neighborhood and historic real estate tours in her free time.
Foster’s all-in commitment to being of service to clients combined with an unusually strong foundation of knowledge and experience, plus impressive negotiation skills for someone her age, can surprise clients and agents. Add in a competitive spirit culled through years as a gymnast and train ballet dancer and model good looks, and it’s no wonder Foster can catch people off guard.
“I let my hard work and success speak for itself,” she said. “People may have a preconceived notion when first meeting me, but it becomes very apparent within a few seconds of interacting with me that I know what I’m talking about. People can underestimate me, but it doesn’t last long.”
What does last is the impression she makes on all who work with her. Foster isn’t just selling history. She’s making it.