Day in the life of: Deborah Rieders

The Corcoran broker on closing $180M in sales last year, working with celebs and living the Brooklyn lifestyle

Apr.April 01, 2018 01:00 PM

Deborah Reiders (Credit: Emily Assiran)

Though a Boston native, Corcoran Group broker Deborah Lee Rieders considers Brooklyn her real home. As she put it, “the waterfront in Brooklyn was my stomping ground before any of these luxury condos were built.” Rieders first moved to the borough in 1989 to attend Barnard College in the city. She briefly left to get a master’s degree in design and photography from Rochester Institute of Technology and returned for good in 1992. She’s lived in more than a half dozen neighborhoods in Kings County, including Boerum Hill, Williamsburg and Dumbo. Before getting into real estate, she was a photographer and worked in publishing, with stints as art director for Brooklyn Bridge Magazine in the late 1990s and at the Book of the Month Club at Time Warner. She got her start in real estate in 2002 at Corcoran’s Brooklyn Heights office and has been the firm’s top-producing agent in the borough since. She’s sold more than $1 billion during her career and closed $180 million in sales last year, according to the firm. She has the most expensive listing on the market in Brooklyn right now: a $17.9 million, 8,500-square-foot condo at 360 Furman Street. Additionally, Rieders has every listing at Toll Brothers City Living and Starwood Capital Group’s Pierhouse at Brooklyn Bridge Park, where the most recent 25 units sold went for between $1.4 million and $6 million. If anyone can attest to the property, it’s her. Last year, she put her money where her mouth is and picked up an apartment at the building herself. She lives there with her dog, Boris, a long-haired dachshund. 


6:15 a.m. I get up and let Boris out in the garden, then make a cup of coffee and check emails. He usually wakes me up.

7:15 a.m. I head over to the gym at Pierhouse, right across from my apartment. I usually do a little bit of strength training and I try to do something aerobic for 25 or 30 minutes. I’m on my feet for 12 hours a day, so my workout is my job to some degree, but this gets my heart rate up and keeps me strong.

8:30 a.m. A lot of my “scheduled” meetings are first thing in the morning. They can take 10 minutes or three hours. It could be a photoshoot or an appraisal, a new listings pitch or a new development meeting.

10:00 a.m. We have a weekly meeting at one of the model units at Pierhouse to discuss future marketing plans and deals that are under negotiations or in contract. When sales first launched two years ago, we did weekly tours with co-brokers. Our goal was to get as many people through the door so they would see the amazing views, proximity to the park and waterfront area.

12:00 p.m. I have a team of three — Joanna Brown, Sarah Shuken, and Raquel Lomonico — but they’re all running around, too. By the middle of the day, we sit down at the office and figure out our game plans.

476 Union Avenue

12:15 p.m. Sometimes I’ll be out at a photoshoot. I had one recently for a model apartment at 476 Union Avenue in Williamsburg. My background in design and photography has definitely helped. We also try to do all our staging ourselves — we know who our buyers are. Stagers can do beautiful work, but it may not be for the right buyer.

12:45 p.m. Lunch meetings take too many valuable daylight hours, and there’s so much I have to do before the sun goes down. If I’m out going to appointments, I’ll usually eat in the car between them. I drive a lot and sometimes I’ll grab an Uber. I’m going all over Brooklyn and I don’t have time to wait for the train.

1:00 p.m. Everything is very fluid. I’m usually touching base with my staff to go over marketing initiatives for whatever active listings we have. Right now, I’d say my business is half resale, half new development. But it can get up to 65 percent resale. I like the variety of buyers with resales, and it helps inform new development business — I see what’s selling, what’s not and what people are looking for.

Lena Dunham

2:00 p.m. During all this, I’m also taking buyers out. [Although Rieders declined to name names, she has worked with a number of celebrity clients, including actress Lena Dunham and musician Norah Jones]. My experience is that celebrities who have discovered Brooklyn have done so because of the quirky, one-of-a-kind architecture. They don’t want just another generic box apartment in a Manhattan tower. They tend to live in their places as opposed to having a pied-à-terre. Very few do that. I know because I know them all.

4:00 p.m. I’ve had regular meetings for a new project I’m launching at 78 Amity Street in Cobble Hill, typically at the architect’s office, the Meshberg Group in Dumbo. We just wrapped up the interior design and layouts, so now we’re focusing on finishing up renderings and marketing materials.

5:00 p.m. In between appointments I run home, feed my dog, take him for a walk and run back out to appointments. Depending on where my day ends up, I get to take advantage of some local Brooklyn stores. If I end up in Cobble Hill I’ll get some food to cook later from Fish Tales, or if I’m in Williamsburg I’ll go to the Meat Hook.

7:00 p.m. I go to a ton of listing previews and new building openings, mostly in Brooklyn. I like to see all the new product coming out. I recently went to the opening for Extell Development’s Brooklyn Point tower.

8:15 p.m. I get drinks regularly with Frank Percesepe, Corcoran’s executive vice president of Brooklyn and the East End. If I’m not having a drink or dinner with friends, I’ll try to cook. I’m really good with food but really bad with dessert. My mom cooked every night even though she was working full time with my dad selling sailboats. They exposed me to a lot of different cultures and foods as a kid, mostly through traveling for work, so I cook a bit of everything.

9:30 p.m. I don’t have a whole lot of leisure time, but since I live on Brooklyn Bridge Park I try to go out for one last walk with Boris. I don’t watch television a lot, so I usually read. I just finished “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi. It blew my mind.

10:30 p.m. I try to be in bed with a book. I usually wake up with my Kindle under my face because I’ve fallen asleep.

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