Citi Habitats’ Greg Young hopes to make agents flush with money in new biz

TRD New York /
Jun.June 10, 2010 11:30 AM
Greg Young is launching a new business, Broker Heaven NY

As director of sales at Citi Habitats, Greg Young received a nickname from the rookie agents he trained: “GMoney,” or “G$” for short.

“I help people and companies make money,” said Young, who joined the real estate brokerage in 2000. “That’s why they call me G$.”

Now, he’s taking the nickname — and his coaching skills — to a broader audience. In March, Young left Citi Habitats to form his own venture: a real estate training and consulting company, Broker Heaven NY.

Housed in a 3,200-square-foot loft at 333 Park Avenue South, the business officially launches July 5, but Young has already started giving complimentary seminars to local real estate professionals to spread the word about the new company.

Young’s plan is to conduct seminars for agents several afternoons a week, with titles like “Confident Selling Skills” and “Everything is a Negotiation.” Brokers can buy tickets to seminars for $95. He will also host group training sessions, or “coaching clinics,” which he describes as a sort of “gym membership for real estate agents” hoping to sharpen their skills.

The clinic will be open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon. For a monthly fee of $145, agents can stop by any time they like during those hours to receive coaching from Young and get tips from fellow attendees.

Young said companies can also hire him to conduct training programs for their agents.

Unlike other training companies, like Esther Muller’s Academy for Continuing Education, Broker Heaven will not offer real estate licensing courses or recertification, Young explained. His goal is to help agents go beyond the required training.
“What I offer is unique and supplemental,” he said.

Young got his real estate license in 1982, at age 21. He worked at J.I. Sopher & Co. and the Marketing Directors before being hired as director of sales at Citi Habitats in 2000.

At the time, Citi Habitats did almost exclusively rentals, Young said, and he helped build the business to the point where it does some $1 billion in sales per year. Young said he, Citi Habitats President Gary Malin, and Senior Managing Director Gordon Golub were known within the company as “the three G’s.”

Along the way, Young discovered that he had a knack for training new agents.

“The best way for me to get more sales was to create [better] rental agents,” he said. “The better they were in rentals, the more sales they did, and quicker.”

He created a weeklong rental training program, and met with each agent at the company a few times a year, he said. Using the stories he heard from agents, he wrote humorous scripts as teaching tools.

He started to realize that coaching was his passion.

“This is what I do best,” he said. “Everyone should have a unique talent in life. I think I am the best trainer and coach of real estate agents in Manhattan.”

He’d been planning to start his own business for some time, he said, but with his 50th birthday approaching, he decided “it was time.”

Muller, who is a real estate consultant and coach, said she was happy to hear about Young’s venture.
“I think it’s wonderful,” she said. “I congratulate him on his decision.”

There is a need for more coaches and trainers familiar with the complicated New York City real estate marketplace, she said. Agents are required to fulfill 75 hours of training before getting their licenses, but that’s not enough to help them execute multi-million dollar transactions, she said.

“Seventy-five hours in the classroom does not prepare you to be a real estate broker and advisor,” she said. She added that while some real estate firms “place a great emphasis on education and training and coaching, there are some companies that just don’t.”

Young said that’s something he’s always wanted to rectify.

Most agents who get their real estate license in New York don’t renew it when it expires after two years, he said, because they throw in the towel. “That’s always bothered me. I believe just about anybody can succeed with the right training.”

Young said he left Citi Habitats on good terms, and that the company has already taken part in his complimentary seminars.

He added that his departure had nothing to do with the recent renaming of the company’s sales division to “Citi Sales.” Malin “would have initiated that anyway,” Young said. “The timing was right for that.”

When asked about Young’s departure, Malin said in a statement to The Real Deal: “I have tremendous amounts of respect for Greg. He’s a brilliant guy and I wish him all the best in his current venture.”

Some in the industry speculated that Young would go into business with Citi Habitats founder Andrew Heiberger, who is in the process of starting a new brokerage venture. Young stayed mostly mum on that score: “If and when Andrew opens a [brokerage] company, the resources of Broker Heaven will be available to him just like anybody else.”


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