Here are the biggest broker jumps of 2014: PHOTOS

Talent twists and turns as NYC residential firms poach top producers from each other

New York /
Dec.December 05, 2014 10:42 AM

Brokers aren’t the kind of people who sit still. Whether they’re showing properties, meeting with developers or “networking” at a boozy industry event, brokers are constantly on the go. And that often means switching companies.

While it’s true that the employment pool is a naturally fluid one — as independent contractors, brokers aren’t tied to their jobs the way W2-employees are — there are times when it seems like one could make a tidy sum printing up new business cards.

Under certain conditions, one firm can be the hot place to work, drawing in top talent from competitors across the city. Other circumstances can make a brokerage seem more like a sinking ship.

The startup, tech-centric Urban Compass, for example, made the push into the sales side of the business late last year, and since poached talent like Douglas Elliman star-broker Leonard Steinberg and Brown Harris Stevens’ Kyle Blackmon.

Other attention-grabbing moves included longtime Elliman pro Avi Voda, who left the company after 18 years to co-found his own firm, Voda Bauer Real Estate.

Voda, like other leaders of newly started firms in the city, has been knee-deep in recruiting efforts, bringing his firm to nearly 40 strong since launching in April.

He said he’s hiring brokers who are looking for a place where they can grow. “It’s my job to help them and show them how to get to the next level,” he said.

Elliman itself has been recruiting heavily, particularly from rival Town Residential which started bleeding brokers amid a power struggle earlier this year between co-founders Andrew Heiberger and Joseph Sitt.

“They’re trying to get the rainmakers,” Voda said of Elliman’s recruiting efforts. “They’re trying to get the top talent.”

Heiberger said the “Town in turmoil” narrative was a convenient tool used by his competitors, but discredited the idea it was the reason brokers decided to leave.

“While it is no secret that there was a six-week dispute between the principals of Town, the handful of agents that chose to leave did not cite that as a reason,” he claimed in an email. Heiberger and Sitt eventually buried the hatchet, and Town is back in expansion mode.

And then there’s the case of Corcoran which, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, has lost a number of high-profile brokers over the past several months.


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