The Real Deal New York

NYC foundation helps brokers in need

March 11, 2013 12:30PM

New York City’s tight inventory and high number of brokers makes residential real estate a dog-eat-dog world, which means some brokers pull in big bucks and others barely scrape by. For those struggling to make a living, there’s help from the Realty Foundation of New York, according to the Wall Street Journal. Real estate titans Harry Helmsley, Jack Weiler and William Zeckenforf Sr. established the foundation in 1954.

The foundation receives annual donations of $5,000 each from 75 of New York’s prominent real estate companies and individuals. Since its creation, the foundation has distributed $3.15 million to 840 “indigent” brokers and provided 1,545 college scholarships — valued at $3.9 million–  to children of employees of member firms.

“The perception of a real estate broker is very skewed, especially in New York,” Patricia Frank, the foundation’s executive director, said. “People assume you’re living the high life, but not everyone out there is making million-dollar deals.”

Because most brokers live off commissions, income can be unpredictable. One broker, who declined to be named, told that Journal that he saw four deals fall apart in just over a month, forcing him to seek assistance.

“Our livelihood is feast or famine,” said the broker, who received $10,000 from the foundation. “Pre-2006, I’d see five deals and close three. Today, I have to see 12 to 15 to close three.” [WSJ]Christopher Cameron