Name: Allison Chiaramonte
Brokerage: Warburg Realty
Location: NYC
Niche: Manhattan, but especially the Upper East Side
Years of experience: 4.5 years
2019 GCI: Over $1.25 million – my GCI in prior years was always attributed to other brokers that I was working with. I have only been fully solo for 1.5 years – so this is my first year of true GCI.

1. Why did you get into real estate? What were you doing before and what were your first impressions of the industry?

“Before Real Estate, I was working as a Senior Buyer for Women’s RTW at Barneys New York. It was supposed to be a dream job (buying brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Alaia, and Givenchy) but I found myself sick of the travel, long hours in the office, and repetitive nature of the business, etc.
After having my first son, I knew I wanted to go back to work—but that I needed to find a different job that felt more meaningful and provided me with more flexibility. I happened to be in the process of buying an apartment and selling my current apartment—so I was spending A LOT of time with my real estate brokers. They knew I was trying to figure out my next career move and suggested that I would be a good agent for a host of reasons (I had worked in commercial real estate right out of college for CB Richard Ellis and my parents were both involved in real estate so I wasn’t totally unfamiliar with NYC real estate, etc.). Their encouragement and generous offer to let me intern for their team and eventually join their team were what really made my transition into the industry possible.

My first impression of the industry, once I was part of the day to day, is that, like fashion, it’s far less glamorous than it seems from afar or on TV. It became abundantly clear that being a salesperson is truly a full-time job if you wanted to succeed. It was clear that this job is not as easy as people think, but that it touched on so many things I liked in my prior roles both in commercial real estate and in fashion—dealing with people, problem-solving, marketing, negotiation, styling, learning about NYC and helping people—that it made me excited to get up in the morning.”

2. What advice would you give to a family friend just starting out in real estate?

Where to start! There are so many things I would tell someone.

The first one is to dispel the myth that this is a part-time job. It is flexible, but it is totally full time. I think the notion of being a successful part-time broker is an antiquated idea that doesn’t work in today’s market.
The second is that while I am completely obsessed with real estate now (there is no better feeling than helping someone find a home they love or selling their biggest asset successfully!), it is MUCH harder and takes MUCH longer than people realize to start to get started. I think people assume you can make the switch and hit the ground running quickly—I feel like I have been incredibly lucky and moved quickly, but it definitely takes a good two to three years before people take you seriously as an agent.
Lastly, unlike my more corporate fashion careers, being an agent is an intense personal and professional roller coaster—both emotionally and financially. There can be big wins, but there are also big losses and rejections, I have never faced in prior roles. Learning to deal with the peaks and valleys has been one of the hardest things for me.”

3. Which deal are you most proud of and why?

“This is hard as every deal still feels like a hard-won victory—partially because the high hasn’t worn off for me and also because in this market, there are no easy sales. Also, I generally become friendly with my clients so the deals all feel personal.
While there are deals where I know my styling/staging/marketing has made the difference in time on the market, or price, I am most proud of a recent deal where I helped a buyer purchase a gorgeous prewar condo just off Fifth Avenue. I started working with them when I was still brand-new to the business—while most of my business is referral based, I met this buyer at a showing and we just clicked. We had a long path to success, it took us almost three years (with some lost/wrong opportunities along the way) to find them the right apartment.
Their loyalty and working with them taught me so much about patience, perseverance, and seeing the big picture (which is key in this business) that when they finally closed on their new home over 36 months after we started their search—it was a huge milestone for me personally and professionally.”

4. What’s your favorite real estate software?

“Many of my favorites that I use daily are not ‘real estate software’ per se, but software/technology such as Outlook, Excel, or Instagram. Also, I love Google Earth and the measure app.
In terms of true software, I am a big fan of Perchwell, which is the listing database and software Warburg uses. I do think Perchwell has become my favorite in that beyond just searching for listings effectively and by so many metrics, it gives me data analytics such as Days on Market and pricing relative to other similar properties automatically, which makes it easier for me to quickly understand where a property stands within the market.”

5. What’s your favorite charity and how can our readers donate?

“God’s Love We Deliver, which is a charity that cooks and home-delivers nutritious, medically-tailored meals for people too sick to shop or cook for themselves as well as their children/caregivers. What’s amazing is all their services are provided free to clients and it is truly run by a group of people full of love. I am on the GEN LOVE which is their more junior leadership community and I am so impressed by this group.
Readers can donate at the link below or go volunteer to help in the kitchen or drive a delivery truck to deliver meals and see the effect of the charity in person.”

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