On the call with Josh Sarnell: How to build a team in NYC

The Sarnell team is a leading team at Citi Habitats

(NEW YORK, NY) Being able to build your own team is every broker’s dream. But there’s a lot that goes into it. Before you can jump into hiring agents, you have to figure out your team’s vision, brand, and purpose.

I caught up with Citi Habitats’ Josh Sarnell, founder of The Sarnell Team, to discuss his route to success, and how he runs one of the fastest growing teams on the Upper West Side.

Can you share a bit about your experience in the industry?

I began my real estate journey 16 years ago. I started out at Marcus and Millichap where I specialized in the sales of buildings throughout New York. I then moved to California and Arizona in order to buy commercial buildings and mobile home parks.  Upon arriving back to New York City, I spent time working for Brown Harris Stevens, TOWN, and now Citi Habitats. Throughout my career I have sold, rented, and marketed properties locally and internationally.

When did you start your own team, and why?

I started my own team when I arrived Citi about two years ago. I did this for a number reasons: To scale business and serve my clients better. My team knows the industry well. In collaboration we are able to get more things done and not miss any possible real estate ventures.

Josh Sarnell

Can you talk briefly about your team and their areas of expertise?

We do about 150 rentals per year and around 25 sales per year. My team is comprised of agents with expertise in all areas of the city. Each listing

is handled by a team member who is knowledgeable of the area and has seen success there before. The members each have their strengths and bring years of experience to the table.

How does having a team provide better service to clients?

Never missing an appointment means never missing an opportunity. One person can’t make all calls, do all of the showings, and run open houses. Open houses are very important to have once or twice a week. When looking for a new home, buyers like to shop around and open houses draw clients in. Having a team means you can host open houses multiple times a week. If you don’t have help, you are missing out on potential deals.

What do you do to keep yourself and your team motivated when a property isn’t selling or the market is slow?

During this time we focus on our strengths and go after new business. We focus on new innovative ways to push listings: Facebooks ads, Instagram ads, postcards, Yelp ads, and direct calls. The team is a great asset because each member can dip into their own personal data base allowing us to connect with a much bigger group of people.

What are some good ways to keep a team connected with one another?

We have meetings every Monday and Thursday. These meetings are educational and instructional. We go over new developments, new properties on the markets, changes in the industry, etc. We also preview new buildings in the area as a team.

The main thing with a team is if one person is doing well, then everyone benefits. We go out for team dinners and drinks throughout the month. We are working 24/7 so having downtime and the chance to stay connected in each others lives is crucial. We are business partners, but we are also friends.

Can you discuss the  importance of having a team website, and social media pages?

Websites and social media are important because people do most of their searching on the internet. Having a website and a page on instagram verifies your legitimacy as a team.

It’s also a good way to stay connected with your contacts, and remind them that you are in the business. If people see you every day, they will be more likely to use you.

How do you stay organized?

I wake up at 5:30 every morning. I answer my emails from 6-7, then I go to the gym. I spend the rest of the day answering emails and working on various projects. Everything floats through me: negotiations, marketings, paperwork, etc. My assistant is a crucial element to my day-to-day success. She manages my schedules and helps a lot with paperwork and marketing material.

What would be your advice to brokers who are thinking about creating a team?

You need to find people you work well with and who work hard. It’s a tough industry so you want to pick people who work as hard as you. They have to be able to see the big picture. It’s not about making money right away, it’s about finding success in the long run.

What are your team’s goals for 2019?

We plan to complete around 200 rentals deals, 40 sales, and represent 20 new rental buildings. We also plan to bring on 5 new team members. We plan on becoming the top team on the Upper West Side.

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