Broker Spotlight: James McGrath And Leon Goldfeld, Yoreevo
McGrath: In 2013, I purchased my first co-op apartment and experienced first-hand just how antiquated and overcompensated real estate agents are. At the time I worked in finance and also saw how new business models were gaining traction and challenging established industries. Leon and I knew there was a more efficient way that this process could be facilitated and for less money, so we took a risk and founded Yoreevo in 2017.
Goldfeld: Similar to James, after going through the home buying process in NYC myself, I knew there was an easier and more affordable way to purchase an apartment in the city. We came across a few other companies similar to Yoreevo but who weren’t quite hitting the mark and knew that we could do it better and put more money back into the hands of buyers and sellers. This fueled our interest in founding Yoreevo.
What’s something you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
McGrath: There are tons of underutilized resources available to agents, especially from your local records office or MLS, and you can use these to dramatically differentiate yourself from the competition. These aren’t super-advanced topics, either.
For example, in our market in NYC, an agent can easily pull up property tax bills, the width of a townhouse, new development offering plans, and a million other things in just a few seconds, but I’d bet 90 percent of agents don’t know how. While there are better and worse ways to do something, there’s rarely one way.
I’ve had an agent tell me, “I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I’ve never seen it done that way.” Then on the next deal, another agent tells me, “I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I’ve always seen it done that way.” If an approach or method works for you, stick with it and don’t worry about what others think.
Goldfeld: Staging has a larger effect on pricing than I would have thought. I can see people’s reactions when they walk into a beautifully staged home and even catch myself having a bias toward nicely staged homes. If an apartment is vacant and empty, then staging at a reasonable price is a no-brainer.
What are 5 things you’d like readers to know about you and your brokerage?
- As the co-founders of Yoreevo, we work with hundreds of buyers and sellers annually.
- In having access to Yoreevo’s proprietary technology as well as being on-site in various New York City neighborhoods on a daily basis, we witness first-hand the needs and wants of most buyers and sellers in the market. Because of this, we have a competitive advantage and unique perspective on the industry and how it’s evolving.
- As a company, we’ve completed over $500 million in transaction value within the NYC residential market alone.
- Before co-founding Yoreevo, we had careers in finance. James was first in investment banking at Citi in their M&A group and then at two hedge funds: Cadian Capital and Citadel. Leon was a valuation consultant, investment banking analyst and research analyst before developing a proprietary trading system. Our financial backgrounds give us an edge in understanding the current market and forecasting future ones.
- Having gone through the homebuying process ourselves within NYC, we understand how challenging and frustrating the system can be when working with a traditional broker.
Tell us about a high point in your brokerage career. How did you get there?
McGrath: As a company, we’re reaching a new high point every day. I can’t point to one deal or one client because like every agent and every brokerage, we’re building a business and by doing a good job with our clients, we’re growing awareness about our company, our model, and our services and setting a foundation for future growth.
Goldfeld: It was great getting our website to a point where it can produce leads and serve them to us on a silver platter. Having our site fully integrated with our CRM makes our agents’ lives easier and also makes it easier for managers to ensure agents are on top of things. It took us a bit of time to get these assets working but, now that they’re in full gear, we’re shifting our efforts to feeding the machine instead of building it.
What’s your top tip for freshly licensed brokers?
McGrath: Work with someone who knows what they’re doing. You want to develop good habits early. Not only will that save you a lot of time, but the investments you make now will pay huge dividends down the road. So, just like saving for retirement, it’s best to start investing ASAP.
Goldfeld: Learn the process and the market. Essentially, get on as many deals as you can and just observe what is going on. You learn based on the number of deals you do, not the time you spend being a broker.
If you don’t know what’s going on, make sure to ask questions. If you don’t ask questions, you will learn slower and probably not learn enough in the end. I would recommend having a real estate attorney and a real estate broker as mentors.