REBNY hands out 2023 Residential Deal of the Year awards

Four agents won top prizes for deals that navigated moldy co-ops, vegan landlords

REBNY’s 2023 Residential Deal of the Year Awards

From left: CORE Group Marketing LLC’s Taruna Sharma; Compass Real Estate’s Greg Holzmann; Jennifer H. Roberts (Getty, CORE Group Marketing LLC, Compass Real Estate)

Mold, bloodstains and five years of unopened mail — agents had to clear all of it out of two Upper West Side apartments before putting them on the market 18 months later.

But the obstacles didn’t stop with the clutter. The homes were part of an estate with a minor as the beneficiary and an out-of-state administrator. Each step of the cleanout, renovation and mold remediation process had to go through the courts before completion. 

Once the apartments hit the market, listing brokers Compass’ Jennifer Roberts had to show the court multiple offers before obtaining approval for the sale, which was subject to a 30-day window for appeal. 

Roberts and buyers’ agents Taruna Sharma of Core Group and Greg Holzmann of Compass waited out the period with bated breath, fearful that the deceased owners’ daughter would contest the sale. But she never showed — she’d fled the country after a warrant was issued for her arrest. 

But for their efforts, the trio took home the top prize at the Real Estate Board of New York’s annual residential awards on Thursday. The brokers won first place for the Deal of the Year award in front of 400 of the trade group’s members at the Edison Ballroom in Midtown. 

“Brokers do more than open doors,” Roberts said and added that brokers are often expected to take on several roles during a transaction. For the top deal, “I had to put on my contractor hat, my hazmat hat.”

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Also honored at the ceremony was Douglas Elliman’s Andrea Kelly, whose work securing a tenant for a Fort Greene apartment won her the Rental Deal of the Year award.  

Kelly’s search made headlines over a unique requirement — renters won’t be allowed to cook meat or fish in the unit. The landlord is a vegan and wouldn’t be able stand the smell of cooking meat drifting into her home upstairs. 

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From left: Compass' Collin Bond, Compass' Sofia Falleroni, Compass' Sangmi Park, Compass' Boris Fabrikant (top), Corcoran's Rodolfo Lucchese (bottom), Corcoran's David Mayer (top), Compass' Andrew Gordon (Getty, Compass, Corcoran Group, LinkedIn, REBNY)
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It was a tall order for Kelly, until a vegan food brand got wind of her search. The company offered a free year of food and to pay a month’s rent to a tenant who agreed to the landlord’s terms. 

Brown Harris Stevens’ Ari Harkov won the Residential Agent of the Year award, and Arjun Nair of Nest Seekers was given the Residential Rookie of the Year award. 

The Eileen Spinola Award for Distinguished Service was given to Stephen Kliegerman of Brown Harris Stevens, and Douglas Wagner took home The Henry Forster Memorial Award, which honors brokers for outstanding achievement and conduct.