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In this column, real estate agents across the nation share stories of the lessons they’ve learned during their time in the industry.
After starting out in the fashion industry, Aimee Fink combined her understanding of the luxury market with her knowledge of New York City’s neighborhoods to launch a career in high-end real estate. Her eye for all things luxury combined with her expertise in closing deals affords her clients a decisive leg-up whether they’re looking to buy or sell.
Passionate about giving back to the community, Fink donates part of her commission from each real estate deal to a charity of her clients’ choice and volunteers at NYU Hospital, where she puts her aesthetic sensibility to work making jewelry with children. Find out how she got into real estate and why she’s so focused on making a difference.
Title: Licensed associate real estate broker
Experience: Thirty years of combined experience in both the luxury real estate market and as one of the fashion industry’s leading salespersons. Fink has represented high-end designers, including Prada, Fendi and Gucci, and worked with major national and international retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, both in the role of buyer and seller of luxury goods.
Location: New York, New York
Brokerage name: Elegran Real Estate | Forbes Global Properties
Rankings: At her previous firm, she ranked No. 3 in agent transactions in 2020, Top 5 percent of agents company-wide in 2021, No. 5 in total transactions in 2018, Top 8 percent company-wide in 2018, Top 8 percent company-wide in 2019.
Sales volume: $80 million-plus
Q&A with Aimee Fink
1. How did you get your start in real estate?
I have had a long career in making deals, starting in the fashion industry where I was a leading salesperson for luxury designers for 30 years. Seeking a new challenge, I became a business owner, running a successful home healthcare business for two years before selling it for a profit. I then opened a non-profit that accepted donated hospital equipment and distributed it to those in need, most notably on a trip to Haiti after the earthquake to build a hospital.
Despite my success in these endeavors, my husband, a sales manager in the real estate business, encouraged me to join him in the field, explaining that selling luxury homes was no different from selling luxury goods in the garment center. I took his advice and started in real estate, securing a new sales exclusive within five days and being featured in a full-page article in the New York Post. From there, my real estate career took off.
2. How did you choose your brokerage?
For my first eight years in the industry, I worked for a prominent brokerage in the city and grew my business year-over-year, but I wanted to find a brokerage that would provide me with the necessary resources and support to take my business to the next level.
I realized my clients valued my service over the brokerage’s brand. That’s when I found Elegran, which had a great reputation and supportive management. I felt it was the best-kept secret in the business. When Elegran merged with Forbes Global Properties, it was a game changer for my business. I’ve been with Elegran for three months now and am thrilled with the support and brand recognition they offer.
3. What do you wish more people knew about working in real estate?
This business is not for the faint of heart and demands immense hard work, long hours, and occasional frustration. However, it is also incredibly rewarding. Success lies in the ability to acquire listings and earn the loyalty of buyers, a skill that requires building genuine relationships through honesty and attentive listening. This is not a part-time job, nor can it ever be. It is a 24-7 commitment, with your phone always on because every call is important, even during dinner.
4. What’s something you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
There weren’t many surprises for me since my husband has been in the real estate business for more than 20 years. However, the fast-paced nature of the industry was an adjustment. As they say, “he who hesitates is lost,” and in real estate, that rings especially true. The market is a constantly evolving entity, and it’s crucial to stay abreast of mortgage rates, current market conditions and rental trends.
Having spent 30 years in the garment industry, I thought I had seen it all. But the bidding wars and intense competition over new development projects in real estate are a whole new ballgame. Honesty, hard work, and cultivating and nurturing relationships are key to success in this dynamic field.
5. What’s your top tip for freshly licensed brokers?
My top tip is to approach every client with the mindset of underpromising and over-delivering. It’s important to set realistic expectations for your clients and then exceed them by going above and beyond to provide exceptional service. Additionally, it’s crucial to treat every client with respect and fairness, regardless of their budget or buying power. By focusing on your client’s needs and being responsive to their requests, you can establish yourself as a reliable and trustworthy agent in the industry.
I also recommend that new agents prioritize their clients’ interests over their own commission. By focusing on what’s best for the client, you can build lasting relationships that lead to repeat business and referrals. Achieving success in real estate requires hard work and dedication, but if you remain diligent in your efforts to build relationships and maintain a positive attitude in the face of challenges, you will be able to consistently deliver results.
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