Village People: How Compass’ Hudson Advisory Team stays atop the market
Founders Clayton Orrigo and Stephen Ferrara
The founders of Compass’ Hudson Advisory Team say the road to the top of New York City real estate is marked with blurred lines.
Stephen Ferrara and Clayton Orrigo’s Instagram feeds show them in close encounters with lions in Nairobi, drinking in the sun on mega yachts in the Bahamas and decked out in Brunello Cucinelli at parties overlooking the French Riviera. It’s a world away from the team’s West Village office, but the two men behind Compass’ most successful — and secretive — New York City team say it’s all part of their approach.
“Friends are clients and clients are friends and that’s how we built this business,” said Orrigo, who added nearly all the team’s business comes from referrals.
The business landed the team second place in The Real Deal’s ranking of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens brokers for 2022 resales, with more than $262 million across 91 sale-side transactions.
Many of the team’s biggest sales are off-market, so they don’t show up on the datasheet TRD uses to compile its annual broker rankings. But one deal that came to light last year was the sale of a Tribeca townhouse with a private skybridge for $26 million. Ferrara last year used his market knowledge to win a bidding war for a $3.5 million condo for himself.
Instead of casting a wide net of listings across the city paired with relentless self-promotion, the duo emphasize their pared-down approach to publicity.
“We’re not street-facing,” said Ferrara, sitting on a couch in his team’s West Village office, the address of which is secret. “We want this to be a safe space, an anonymous space.”
Ferrara and Orrigo dress casually and strive for a laid-back, friendly culture. They don’t care when teammates show up to work or leave the office, and they view them as partners, not employees.
But their easygoing culture is outdone by their expectations. Ferrara and Orrigo also see themselves as always being on the clock, and they’ve spent years developing what they hope is unrivaled knowledge of the market in the neighborhoods they work in: Soho, Noho, Nolita, West Village, Greenwich Village and Tribeca.
The founders are among the 25 brokers on the team, including the recent additions of Hunie Kwon and Grace Steel from Douglas Elliman’s Eklund-Gomes Team. Orrigo said the team is no longer recruiting.
The team started through a friendship between Ferrara and Orrigo, who met over six years ago working opposite sides of a deal.
“I knew that to have longevity in the business you need a partner,” Orrigo said.
That partner, he said, has an encyclopedic knowledge of townhouses in the West Village that sets the standard for other team members.
“He’s like Rain Man: When you walk down the street he’ll tell you about the length, the garden, who lives there,” Orrigo said.
They’re happy to train people up, but they expect their teammates to develop similar expertise of a corner of the city or the Hamptons.
“We don’t have a lot of generalists on our team,” Orrigo said, adding he expects “the most junior person on our team can be just as educated as Stephen and myself.”