Cliff’s notes

New book from veteran broker aims to "elevate" the profession and the genre

Mar.March 01, 2013 07:00 AM

Corcoran Group broker Patricia Cliff once found a dead body inside a home she was hoping to sell.

“Each time you pass the threshold of a home, it is a complete adventure,” the 40-year industry veteran told The Real Deal.  “I’ve come across snakes, a pet monkey, ferrets, exotic birds flying loose, parrots screaming obscenities, rabbits, pet piglets, owners in all stages of attire and undress, and sometimes various stages of decrepitude.”

These types of adventures are what prompted Cliff — who is also a lawyer and has had articles published in magazines over the years — to write her first book, “The Art of Selling Real Estate,” which was released in January by Washington State–based publisher Booktrope.

Cliff, who has shared tips with novice brokers throughout her career, said she hopes the book will give readers a no-nonsense, realistic guide to the business, especially in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

“A lot of the books out there are so bullshity,” Cliff said. “They were written in 2006 and often by inspirational speakers who have never sold a New York City apartment. They make all this noise, and readers come away with virtually nothing.”

Her book explores ways to get started in the business and how to build financial security. For example, she recommends having a year’s living expenses in reserve when starting out as an agent. She also suggests that agents of all experience levels set aside at least 20 percent of their earnings for slow periods.

While “The Art of Selling Real Estate” is primarily aimed at New York–based brokers, the advice can help people across the country, she said.

Pamela Liebman, president and CEO of the Corcoran Group, wrote the book’s foreword, in which she agrees with Cliff that many real estate books “fall short on a comprehensive overview of the nuts and bolts of building a serious and consistently successful career.” Cliff, Liebman writes, has an “in-depth knowledge of all aspects of our industry” plus, “legal analytical skills and unwavering ethical standards.”

Cliff originally planned to sprinkle her how-to book with anecdotes from personal experiences, but her editor saw potential for two separate books. The more personal one is in the works, and will likely be published in 2014.

She is hoping the book can also help change the perception of real estate brokers by illustrating that both skill and creativity are required to succeed — hence the title.

“It’s about finessing and elevating the industry into an art,” she said.”

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