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Secrets to Success from Some of Our Top Agents

Updated: Nov 15

An incredible 134 Brown Harris Stevens agents were recently recognized as “America’s Best Real Estate Professionals” by REAL Trends. That makes these agents among the top 1.5% of 1.4 million real estate professionals in the United States.

We reached out to some of our agents who were included in the list to find out their secrets to success. Take a look at what they had to say.

Mike Lubin

New York, NY

There are many ways to build a substantial business in our industry. For some, it’s the reliance on lifelong relationships that help to open the door with potential clients. For others, creative and consistent marketing and the hiring of outside marketing consultants and PR agents is the secret to their success. 

For me, I suppose I would look to my devotion to client service, respect, and a commitment to provide a sensitive, hands-on, highly involved approach to get to a closing table. It’s in the small details and gestures that I feel we have the opportunity to distinguish ourselves amongst our colleagues. I also never let myself forget that we have a great privilege and honor to work within someone’s private home—amidst their family—and I consider that relationship very sacred.   

Lisa Lippman

New York, NY

I always say “yes” when people ask for an appointment. That’s why, through good and bad markets, I always sell lots of real estate. Communication is key. It’s crucial to stay on top of your emails and carve out time to respond. My personal rule is to answer all emails within a three-hour window, and flag emails that I can’t get to right away so that they don’t get lost in my inbox. It’s important to prioritize and respond accordingly. When it comes to phone calls, I never wait for someone to call me. I make sure to set a time with my clients, make a calendar appointment, and initiate the phone calls. This system lets my clients know that I recognize their time is valuable and that they are important to me. It works!

Jeff Miller

Miami, Florida

When my clients come to me to buy or sell real estate, I really consider myself as more of a strategic advisor—someone who is extremely knowledgeable in the market with 20+ years of experience that can provide detailed insight whether in the buying or selling process. Everyone’s goals and needs are different but the one thing that I always provide to my clients is a true understanding of the market that we are in today. Together, we decide if it’s the right time to buy or sell.

Nancy Dauk

Darien, CT

Always focus on your client and have them know that they are your top priority. Listen carefully to them and what they say all the time. Even if you have multiple clients, zero in on each and every one of your clients’ needs and make them feel like they are your only client. Don’t ever let them feel that you are too busy for them.

Christopher Finlay

Greenwich, CT

When you are interacting with your clients, it is best to listen carefully and be more interested than interesting.

Brendan Aguayo

New York, NY

Create a long-term plan and don't be distracted by the obstacles, however hard they are. Study the fundamentals: zoning, building code, construction, design, and read everything. Not every encounter is about winning business. Become a resource for people in the industry who are not yet your client. Trust your gut more than comps. Seek out smart and informed people in various fields of the industry who are not brokers and befriend them. Have a thick skin and roll with the punches. 

Liza Pulitzer & Whitney McGurk

Palm Beach, FL

Being born and raised in Palm Beach, we’re lucky to know the island better than most and have built lifelong relationships with many of

the residents here. We simultaneously work incredibly hard to stay connected with all of our fellow realtors. Together, we are a source of information when it comes to properties that have not yet hit the market. We’ve worked hard to gain their respect and they know they can trust us with this information.

Ari Harkov & Warner Lewis 

New York, NY

Always put the customer or client's needs ahead of your own. In the short term this may negatively impact your income but in the long term it will provide a consistent stream of loyal clients and referrals. There is no other way to build a consistent business with meaningful volume year over year.

Rob Johnson

Greenwich, CT

Ensuring your clients know you’re treating them as you’d like to be treated is the golden rule. Additionally, understanding current inventory and real-time trends in your specific market may seem like obvious industry rules for any agent, but you’d be surprised how much you'll differentiate yourself if you demonstrate this clearly. Be prepared to also spend some money (wisely) on your business. Why should being an agent be different from other businesses? We need to constantly invest. Some things work. Some don’t. Experiment. Lastly, don't buy leads. It’s fool's gold and a shortcut to success that doesn’t work!

Wendy Sarasohn New York, NY

When I listen to what someone wants and remain positive, somehow the universe delivers. For me, it’s all about being of service rather than making the sale. When I do my best and let go of the results, the magic happens.

Below is a full list of the Brown Harris Stevens agents and teams included in the 2020 America’s Best Real Estate Professionals list by REAL Trends:

New York

Individual Agents by Volume

Mike Lubin | 23

Peter Turino | 33

Wendy Sarasohn | 37

Daniella Schlisser | 52

Richard Ziegelasch | 80

Amanda Brainerd | 114

Curtis Jackson | 122

Jennifer Cooke | 134

Lisa Schuller | 150

Timothy O'Connor | 165

Roberta Moser | 197

Joanna Benigno | 207

Rory Clark | 212

Pat Publik | 233

Michael Reed | 246

Emma Kerins | 265

Peter Grazioli | 281

Cordelia Robb | 287

Joan Goldberg | 291

Kimberly Hastie | 303

William "JR" Kuneth | 304

Jay K. Overbye | 324

Michael Petrosino | 336

Katharine Tuckerman | 344

Lauren Cangiano | 348

Michelle Kim | 362

Jonna Stark | 375

Small Teams by Volume

Lisa Lippman Team | 3

Drew Glick & Juliana Frei Team | 15

Louise Phillips Forbes | 17

Jeremy Bolger & Neal Young | 42

Andrew & Amelia | 54

The Balan-Pinkowitz Team | 62

The Greene Rizk Team | 71

The Saghir Lewis Team | 76

Ariffin Kromer Team | 77

Leslie Coleman & Mary Rutherfurd | 117

Garson Team | 119

Nadine Adamson & Kelsey Hall | 121

Medium Teams by Volume

Harkov Lewis Team | 10

Krantz & Krantz | 23

The Harris Residential Team | 84

Sanjya Tidke Team | 92

The Clayman-Bray Team | 98

Medium Teams by Transaction Sides

Harkov Lewis Team | 46

Krantz & Krantz | 51

Large Teams by Volume

Aguayo Team | 2

Large Teams by Transaction Sides

Aguayo Team | 3


Individual Agents by Volume

Rob Johnson | 1

Christopher Finlay | 5

Eileen Hanford | 13

Casey Lange | 29

Small Teams by Volume

Nancy Dauk Team | 5

New Jersey

Small Teams by Volume

Hudson Realty Group | 54


Individual Agents by Volume

Jeff Miller | 6

Toni Schrager | 64

Small Teams by Volume

Pulitzer McGurk Team | 9

The Kirkpatrick Team | 53

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