Meet the Real Estate Brokers Who Closed Deals in Every Borough
EGOTS of Real Estate
MANHATTAN — William Moye is a rare breed among New York City real estate brokers: He's closed deals in all five boroughs.
That's like the EGOT of real estate.
For those unfamiliar with EGOT, it's the acronym for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. The term was made popular by the sitcom "30 Rock," when Tracy Morgan's character wears a gold-plated diamond-encrusted "EGOT"necklace as he strives to join the small cadre of showbiz grand slam winners that includes Whoopi Goldberg, Mel Brooks and Audrey Hepburn.
Real estate brokers receive little recognition for crossing the city on subway, foot, bus and ferry to achieve their own "EGOT." Actually, in the highly-segmented world of New York real estate, where most brokers tend to specialize in certain neighborhoods — and sometimes won't even cross a bridge with their buyer to go to an open house — such a broad approach is often frowned upon, experts said.
But the brokers in the real estate EGOT club wear their accomplishment as a badge of honor, saying it shows off their ability to go to great lengths for their clients since they take on jobs that their Manhattan- and Brooklyn-centric colleagues tend to shun.
"I've had tough times in this business, and I guess that's why I go to the trouble of taking the extra step," said William Moye, a Manhattan-based broker for BOND New York who, after a decade in the industry, completed a sale in his fifth and final borough last month — a $425,000 gut-renovated four-bedroom home in Staten Island near Snug Harbor.
Brokers who do deals across the boroughs "are few and far between," said Jack Nyman, executive director of the Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute at Baruch College.
"Most of the time brokers prefer specializing in a market. That's their turf," he said. "That provides their clients with the comfort they need: that their broker has a detailed understanding of the marketplace they're interested in."
Instead of doing deals in neighborhoods they have little experience in, brokers often refer clients to other brokers they believe can better help, Nyman explained.
But if "EGOTing" brokers believe they can help a client even in a neighborhood they're not too familiar with, they'll do the research and legwork, the five-borough brokers said.
"Everybody is holier-than-thou and says, 'When you don't concentrate on a neighborhood, you won't make it,'" Douglas Elliman's Rodrigo "Ro" Guzman said. "But if you know how to make your schedule and can dedicate at least 3 hours a day to your market, then why not branch out?"
Guzman specializes in Williamsburg, the neighborhood he gravitated to when he moved here 12 years ago from Long Island, where the self-described metalhead went to shows nightly at Trash Bar or in waterfront warehouses. But he has done sales in four boroughs and a rental in Staten Island. He spent a lot of time in Queens since he had relatives who ran a driving school in Woodside and Astoria, which helped him get in with local agents to co-broker apartments there. He did the Staten Island rental for a friend of the family, Guzman said.
For his Bronx sale, a big part of it was being able to boast about the feat.
"I wanted proof that I was able to close anywhere and that I could show I was willing to do anything," Guzman said of a deal he closed for a $400,000 home in Wakefield for a buyer relocating from California who came through a referral service.
"I can take the train for an hour — and I did. I went up there five times, and I sold the house. Everyone at my firm knows I'm absolutely nuts. I'll do it. And I'll do it in four languages," said the broker who speaks, English, Spanish, Portuguese and French.
Though he did most of his far-flung deals when he was trying to "find himself" as a broker, he'll still ride his bike over the Pulaski Bridge to show clients homes in Long Island City 20 minutes from his Williamsburg office.
"If you can make a quick $1,200, you think I'm not going to do it? I love shoes, baby," he said.
Aramis Arjona, of Mirador Real Estate, has done rentals in all of the boroughs — although he only counts his Staten Island one partially because he didn’t rent the apartment out himself, but got a 10 percent commission for referring a client. Now, Arjona is trying to do another deal in Staten Island.
Because as he's had a taste of doing deals citywide, Arjona has set a goal for himself: He wants to do a rental, sale and commercial deal in each borough.
"Not a lot of Manhattan agents were willing to do Queens," recalled Arjona of when he started 7 years ago. "I got it by default. I was hungry, so I'm like sure, 'I'll do Queens.'
It's become more than that now.
"For me, it's like a game, a competition. And it's physically challenging, too," Arjona, who like the others, doesn't drive. "Think about all the running around, back-and-forth, to the Bronx, Staten Island and Queens. I want to do it for personal satisfaction and say, 'I was able to challenge myself and go the extra mile.'"
Moye is expected to get an award from BOND next month for his feat.
But that's not why he did it, he said.
For his deal in Queens this summer, for instance, he just wanted to help a couple find their dream home. Since the woman was using veteran's benefits, it was easier to apply that to a house than condo or co-op, and they ended up with a $999,000 two-family house in Astoria. For his Bronx deal two years ago, he worked with a man who attended an open house in Manhattan Moye held for a seller. The man, who lives in Norwood, was initially looking for a downtown pied-a-terre, but Moye guided him toward an investment property near his Norward house, where the $356,000 two-family home has been "producing really well," Moye said.
"I want the people I work with to be happy," Moye said. "In some ways, I'm concerned that maybe I'm 'too easy.' I don't make nearly as much money as the people that focus [on] the $1 million deal in Manhattan."
But he added: "You want your clients not only to like you, you want them to be raving fans. That's how you'll have repeat business."