A couple of years back, we began presenting the best real estate marketers in the country, city by city. Our method for selecting the best of the best has evolved, much like an individual's search process might change somewhere in the learning curve. We began using the industry's most popular ranking sites and eventually found no quantifiable and objective program or service that delivers the consumer to the best agent's door.
Indicators like social media, traditional media marketing, PR, sales volume, and client reviews differentiate one agency or agent from the competition. We finally realized that all comparisons boil down to what I call a 1 + 1 quotient. Marketing prowess indicates how agencies work for leads and sales; reviews/sales are the final qualifiers. Property buyers and sellers must do their due diligence. You cannot use one-stop shopping to select the best agent/agency. You can, however, use some of the methods we use to narrow the field (choices) significantly.
Today, we land on the most challenging real estate market, New York City. The place where you'll find most of former President Donald Trump's real estate portfolio, iconic penthouses, and unforgettable cityscapes has some of the world's most competitive and gifted real estate celebrities. Here are four legends out-of-towners probably have yet to hear of. That said, the New York real estate landscape is atypical. One has to resort to new strategies to find the best agents for buying or selling a property.
A recent Hollywood Reporter piece put Corcoran Group's legendary agent Cathy Franklin in the top ten ultra-successful agents. Franklin has already had almost half a billion in closings this year and has sold over $5 billion in luxury co-op, condo, and townhouse properties over her illustrious career. Interestingly, you won't find her on Facebook. Why bother when Corcoran Group has over two hundred thousand followers? When an agency gets this big, the associates and the company pages do all the marketing work. Franklin's media indicators are in the news headlines covering her company's efforts.
Franklin has over 5,000 followers on Instagram. She maintains a very nice and personable feed that has been followed by Jade Mills, America's top luxury real estate agent, for years. On LinkedIn, she has over 4,000 followers. You won't find any client reviews on Zillow for either Franklin or her agency. Franklin's brand is spread far and wide via traditional media. For instance, the WSJ and Real Trends continuously rank her in the top half of 1% of agents in America. Interestingly, she'd be invisible if you looked at New York City on Google or Zillow. As I said, New York City is much tougher where discovery is concerned, so look deeper.
Like Cathy Franklin, buyers and sellers won't find Compass' Nick Gavin on the typical review sites or via Google reviews. Gavin had $272 million in sales in 2022, so word of mouth and branding for being associated with celebrity home sales is enough. Let's face it: actor Jonah Hill and Formula One legend Lewis Hamilton don't scan the internet review sites to locate an agent.
Gavin also favors Instagram and has over six thousand followers of his high-style feed. Though less personable than Franklin's, his aesthetics are as good or better. Whoever is running the feed does an excellent job. As for Facebook, like the other superstars in New York City, Gavin relies on the massive following of the company he partners with (Compass 98,000). Traditional media is once again the main branding conduit for this top-selling agent. Gavin is covered on Variety, Hollywood Reporter, in the New York Post, and anytime a celeb buys or sells via his skills. In this realm, success is broadcast via word of mouth or assignment.
Douglas Elliman's Erica Grossman had $251 million in sales this past year. Primarily focused on the Hamptons, Grossman is in the top ten in many categories and No. 1 in GCI in the Hamptons market for Douglas Elliman. On Instagram, she's got a following of over five thousand, and her classy, personable feed is one of the best among all New York City agents.
The Real Deal, Hollywood Reporter, 27East, and many other news outlets cover Grossman well in traditional media. Like most of the other luxury real estate professionals on this list, Grossman relies on the tens of thousands of followers of the company she works with. Elliman has about seventy thousand for the New York profile alone.
For those searching via Zillow or Google, Teresa Stephenson of Platinum Properties has over one thousand five-star reviews from clients. She's also closed almost one hundred sales so far this past year. Her social media effort is more conventional than other top-selling agents in NYC. Her company has nearly four thousand followers on Facebook, and the company's Instagram outshines all the other agents in this list. As you'd expect, LinkedIn is a viable leads generator with over two thousand followers.
As for traditional media, Stephenson is profiled regularly via The Real Deal and other news outlets. She may not get the press Donald Trump does lately, but her brand is strong and growing. Another thing that differentiates this broker is that her clientele comes from every economic and geographic demographic. Harlem to Manhattan, Stephenson services many more buyers than the other agents mentioned. This plays a role in her more prevalent digital media marketing footprint.