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Ryan Serhant on how Australian agents changed his game

By Orana Durney-Benson
27 May 2024 | 12 minute read
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Speaking at the 26th edition of the Australasian Real Estate Conference (AREC), the New York real estate broker and reality television star told the crowd how he took a page from Australia’s playbook.

Speaking to a record-breaking crowd of 5,000 people at the AREC Conference on Sunday, 26 May, Ryan Serhant revealed that auctions are an unusual selling strategy in his home state of New York.

“In the US, auctions are bad,” Serhant said. Instead, agents in New York prefer to set a high selling price, and spend months – or even years – trying to negotiate the price down.


“In the United States in 2017, the average time on market was 458 days,” Serhant said.

But when a vendor approached him with a luxury townhouse on the Upper West Side, Serhant decided to try an Australian strategy to get the time on market down.

Originally marketed at $12 million, and with a target price of over $10 million, Serhant decided to put it on the auction path with a reserve price below $10 million to attract a wider purview of interest.

“I remember they were looking at me like I was totally insane,” Serhant recalled of the vendor’s reaction to his strategy. “I convinced them that we’re going to go through with this, but we’re going to do it for a short period of time.”

After just one week on the market, Serhant and his team held an open for inspection in the lead-up to the auction.

On the day of the open, Serhant got a concerning call from his co-agent. “There’s a big problem – the fire department’s here,” they said. “73 people showed up to see the house and they’re stuck in the elevator.”

For Serhant, who rarely saw crowds as large as these in his New York real estate career, his gut reaction was: “That’s great!”

His instinct was correct by the end of the day, 22 offers had been received, and the property sold for $12 million, in a fraction of the time it would have usually taken to secure a sale.

For the real estate broker, the takeaway message of this experience was simple: learn from those with different experiences to your own.

“The benefits of this conference is not going to be me,” he said. “It’s going to be the people in this room you don’t know yet.”

“The deals you’re going to be able to do together, the amount of business that’s about to happen in this room today, is massive.”

To make the most of the networking opportunities, Serhant urged the audience to “meet a minimum of 25 people, where you get their phones and your emails that you didn’t have before, by the end of this event”.

“If you don’t, then that’s on you,” he concluded.

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