Residential Experts Share Secrets on Foreign Buyers, Tech, & Relationship-Building at Shark Night Round Table Event

Dozens of Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) members gathered Wednesday evening to participate in seven roundtable discussions at the REBNY Membership Committee’s first “Shark Night: A Round Table Event,” sponsored by Citibank. Following the opening remarks by Joseph Barbaccia, co-chair of REBNY’s Membership Committee and Director at Essential New York Real Estate, each participant spent 15 minutes at each table learning about and discussing topics that ranged from competing with all-cash offers to working with foreign buyers.


“REBNY's Shark Night of round tables was a great vehicle for delivering knowledge to our members, particularly those who are new to our industry and new to REBNY,” said Corinne Pulitzer, co-Chair of REBNY’s Membership Committee and Licensed Associate Broker at Douglas Elliman. “Each of the round table discussions was led by a "Shark" (a.k.a. industry pro) with expertise on the timely topics chosen by the Membership Committee for this inaugural event. The evening closed with a networking cocktail hour, a perfect end to this sold out event.”


“The event was a feeding frenzy of cutting edge information that underscored the best ideas in marketing, technology, new developments, foreign buyers, teamwork, and so much more,” said Joseph Barbaccia. “All discussions were led by powerhouse industry leaders – ‘the shark whisperers.’”


Ken Evans, Branch Manager Vice President at Citibank, walked participants through a breakdown on financing for his discussion on “How to Get the Deal If Financing ‘Competing With An All Cash Offer.’” He explained that a buyer who is financing is just as viable as an all-cash buyer, if not more so in some cases, for many reasons including verifiable income consistency. Evans also stressed the importance of working with the right people.


Ryan Serhant, Associate Broker at Nest Seekers International, and Elise Ehrlich, real estate salesperson at Halstead Property, led a discussion titled “Marketing Out of the Box,” which looked at how relationship marketing can create a sustainable business. The industry pros talked about the best ways to market listings using sophisticated marketing techniques. They urged brokers to develop an understanding of a buyers’ financial position before deciding to work with them and emphasized the importance of being available around the clock, in order to stay competitive. They explained that these methods help to create a bond of trust and forge mutually beneficial, long-term partnerships.


Harold Kobner, Associate Broker with Argo Residential, and Jessica Cohen, Associate Broker with Douglas Elliman, gave participants first-hand knowledge on assembling a team of brokers in the discussion, “To Team or Not To Team: Pros and Cons.” Among the most important takeaways of their presentation was that contrary to how it may seem, working with a team is not always the best way to approach a sale. According to Kobner and Cohen, it is important to decide early on what your expectations and goals are, and where you want to see yourself going. Once this is established, then one should start thinking about how many teammates are required to achieve these goals.


Nicole Beauchamp, real estate specialist at Engel & Volkers, presented an interactive session on the “Top Three Apps You Need To Be More Efficient.” She invited attendees to take a more analytical approach to emerging technologies, advising her participants to be in control of their technology, and not the other way around. “It feels like every day some new device comes out that does something that your existing device already does,” she said. “The first thing you need to do is to understand your own process. Once you understand that, then you can look around and find out what technology fits into that process.”


Richard Herrmann, Partner at Grant, Herrmann, Schwartz, & Klinger, and Corinne Pulitzer, Associate Broker and co-Chair of REBNY’s Membership Committee, gave important tips on what to remember when working with international buyers in their discussion “Crossing the Global Divide – How to Work with a Foreign Buyer,” They advised brokers to not assume that these buyers are familiar with how real estate transactions are conducted in New York, ascertain the purpose of their purchase, have the necessary resources to assist the buyer with the basics of a transaction, and learn early on what the best method of communication will be with a buyer who may not be a native English speaker.


Diane Levine, Senior Vice President and Brokerage Manager at Sotheby’s, shared ways to keep a deal on track after the contract has been signed in her round table titled, “ABC’s – ‘To Get To Closing.’” She advised brokers to always have open lines of communication to keep all parties in the transaction up to date, and not be afraid to make the extra call to stay in contact with the buyer. She also stressed the importance of understanding the process in as much as detail as possible, not assuming that someone else will take responsibility for a step in the process. “Make sure early on that everyone is aware of what needs to be done and what their role is,” she advised.


Charlie Lewis, Associate Broker with Warburg Realty, and Vickey Barron, Senior Vice President and Associate Broker at Douglas Elliman, went over a comprehensive list of the advantages of working on a new development and the benefits of a resale home in their discussion, “New Development vs. Resale,” They presented information regarding financing, purchaser payment of transfer taxes, and sponsor control, among other topics. They also covered how to read an offering plan and how to manage a buyer’s expectations when selling from floor plans.


About The Real Estate Board of New York

The Real Estate Board of New York is the city’s leading real estate trade association with more than 16,000 members.  REBNY represents major commercial and residential property owners and builders, brokers and managers, banks, financial service companies, utilities, attorneys, architects, contractors and other individuals and institutions professionally interested in the city’s real estate.  REBNY is involved in crucial municipal matters including tax policy, city planning and zoning, rental conditions, land use policy, building codes and legislation.  In addition, REBNY publishes reports providing indicators of market prices for both the residential and commercial sectors. Please visit us online at


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