“They’ve got all the kinks worked out:” Ex-Compass agent Keith Copley on his return to Douglas Elliman

The three brokers who focus on the Soho neighborhood are the latest addition to the Elliman super-team

Keith Copley (Credit: Compass)
Keith Copley (Credit: Compass)

Broker Keith Copley has left Compass to rejoin “real real estate company” Douglas Elliman.

Copley and his teammates Gavin Shiminski and Stephanie Trujillo are joining Fredrik Eklund and John Gomes’ fast-expanding team, working out of their office at 936 Broadway.

Copley, who specializes in the Soho market and West Village townhouses, said he was returning to Elliman for its marketing department, reputation and the chance to work with Eklund and Gomes’ top-ranked team. (They were the number one team in The Real Deal’s most recent ranking of closed sales in Manhattan in 2018, though the brokers formally declined to participate.)

“It was time to move on. [Compass] can’t service my clients like a firm that’s been around for years,” Copley said. “I deal with very high net worth clients in the finance world… [At] Douglas Elliman they’ve got all the kinks worked out.”

Lindsay Barton Barrett, who was one of Compass’ high-profile early hires, jumped to Elliman last December citing her desire to make headway in new development sales.

A spokesperson for Compass said in a statement that “we are extremely proud of the real estate experience we have created, and of the level of support we are able to offer our agents as the largest independent brokerage in the nation by sales volume per Real Trends, and one of the top three brokerages in market share in NYC per Real Deal [sic]. We wish Keith nothing but the best and future success.”

In The Real Deal’s most recent ranking of New York brokerages, Douglas Elliman was the top firm with $8.99 billion in closed sales last year; the Corcoran Group followed with $4.53 billion; and Compass was third with $2.03 billion.

Copley’s exit comes on the heels of Compass being slapped by a sweeping lawsuit by Realogy, the parent company of brokerages including Corcoran, Sotheby’s International Realty and Coldwell Banker, accusing the VC-backed giant of price-fixing and collusion, “predatory” poaching and unfair business practices. The same day Compass settled a separate suit from Zillow accusing the SoftBank-backed brokerage of poaching of its three technology executives.

Copley has worked as a broker for two decades, starting in commercial leasing at Cushman & Wakefield before jumping to Sotheby’s and then Elliman, where he was a Pinnacle Club Award winner from 2014 to 2016. He joined Compass in 2016, drawn by the promise of “this whole tech thing” and the SoftBank-backed brokerage’s recruiting push. Elliman sued Compass around that fall after more than 50 of its agents defected.

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“Compass was like this shiny new toy,” Copley said. “I wasn’t unhappy but I just needed to make a smart decision,” he said in reference to returning to Elliman.

He said the opportunity to join Eklund-Gomes team came about during a dinner conversation while he was selling a loft at 459 West Broadway with the Elliman brokers on the buy-side of the deal.

“We were all at dinner one night,” Copley recalled. “It’s more of a friend-thing.”

He described Eklund and Gomes as long-time friends and said compensation packages and splits were not part of his decision to rejoin Elliman.

The Eklund-Gomes Team’s rapid growth over the past 18 months has seen their team balloon to 64 agents — larger than even Nest Seekers International’s Ryan Serhant’s 60-person team — and open offices in Miami and Los Angeles. On Wednesday, Eklund announced his permanent relocation to Los Angeles, though he said he’ll be flying often to New York and Miami.

The growth comes after Elliman’s chairman Howard Lorber gave Eklund and Gomes his blessing to grow their team beyond the standard 10-agent limit the brokerage typically enforces.

“Fredrik can just take this to another level,” Copley said. “I’m joining the number one team. I want to go work for those guys.”

He also noted the celebrity broker’s large reach on social media, as well as Copley’s relationship with Howard Lorber as factors that swayed him.

“The last two years at Compass have been a learning experience and it just wasn’t for me,” he said. “I just wanted to go back to a real real estate company that has been established.”