Real Estate Board of New York Award Winners Offer Expert Advice to Agents

Updated: May 17

We are excited to announce that three Brown Harris Stevens agents—Clifford Marks, Steven Marvisch, and Joseph Ulam—received awards at the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) annual Charity & Cocktail Gala. Their recognition made BHS the most awarded firm at the ceremony.



In reflecting on their wins, Marks, Marvisch, and Ulam each offered advice to those looking to achieve success in real estate—whether just starting out or looking to take their careers to the next level. They also discussed the deals that led to their recognition, how to navigate complex real estate scenarios, and more.


Clifford Marks

REBNY Industry Rookie of the Year

Village Office


What is your advice to agents starting out in the field, particularly those who might be intimidated by markets like NYC?


This business is a rollercoaster with lots of ups and downs. Early on, someone told me: “Stay focused on the process, not the outcome.”


I keep that line written on a post-it note on my desk. It's a daily reminder to push forward and stay on track, even when something doesn't pan out with a deal you've been working on. Prioritizing the client and their best long-term interests instead of the immediate transaction at stake has served me very well.


What do you consider to be the core reason for your success at such an early point in your career?


In addition to staying extremely plugged in to the market and fully in touch with the nuances of the various submarkets across New York City, I think the number one core attribute of my success has been my uber-responsiveness and attentiveness to my clients.


Since day one, I have prioritized my clients 100% of the time, and it is that level of commitment and engagement that my clients appreciate and expect when working with me. I also strive to form real connections with my clients and work to understand their goals so they become my goals. I am not satisfied until my clients have achieved their goals, whether that’s buying their dream home or selling the home that they’ve loved.


What does this win mean to you?


It is an incredible honor to win REBNY’s 2021 ROTY Award amongst the impressive group of agents who have joined the business over the past two years. We started at an unprecedented time in the market, working through thick and thin with COVID-19 and experiencing the NYC comeback story play out in real time. It has been a privilege and honor to work with my clients. I truly appreciate the acknowledgement and recognition by BHS and REBNY, and I strive to continue to hone my skills to be the best agent I can be.


Connect with Clifford Marks here.


Steven Marvisch

1st Place

Residential Sales Deal of the Year


What is your advice to agents navigating complex or difficult deals?


My advice is to be transparent with all parties. Also, remember that so much in life—business and personal—requires compromise.


Don’t burn bridges, and stay optimistic. For example, the sellers in this deal initially accepted another offer only to come back to my buyers about a week later after the other deal fell apart. My buyers stepped up to the plate, and it all ended well!


To what do you attribute your win?


My buyers were super cooperative: paying the right price, hiring the right attorney, and getting me all required documentation for the board package in a timely manner. I attribute my win to my buyers.


What does this win mean to you?


Like virtually all of my colleagues, I take my work very seriously. To be recognized by REBNY is an honor and brings me great joy. And it was a fun night!


Connect with Steven Marvisch here.


Joseph Ulam

2nd Place

Residential Sales Deal of the Year


What is your advice to agents navigating difficult or complex deals?


I always have to remind myself that logic doesn’t always enter the equation. You might encounter unreasonable, irrational people, and every portion of a deal can be precarious.


The attorneys, clients, and brokers involved may or may not be able to see the larger picture, and you cannot always overcome the pathological need to be “right” and to “win” by using simple logic. Egos often need coddling! No one likes being patronized, mistrusted, or scoffed at, but sometimes you have to take a few lumps in this business to best represent your clients’ needs and make the deal happen. As tempting as it may be to get to be self-righteous and take things personally, I try to keep my eyes on the prize.


Also, fellow agents make great sounding boards, and venting about the business is not negativity, it is therapeutic!


To what do you attribute your win?


I have the best sales directors in the world, as well as wonderful colleagues at the Village office. There’s a sense of teamwork and camaraderie that isn’t easy to find in any work environment. Knowing that Sara Rotter has my back, and that my friends at the office will listen patiently, allows me to approach any transaction with more confidence. Plus, at one point in my life, I sold comedy tickets in Times Square, so I don’t get easily discouraged!


What does this recognition mean to you?


It means a lot. It was gratifying witnessing how proud my directors were, and how happy colleagues were for me. Plus, it is fun—there aren’t many times you can take a few minutes, reflect on a deal, and give yourself a pat on the back.


Connect with Joseph Ulam here.

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