Houlihan Lawrence has announced that veteran real estate professional Brendon DeSimone is expanding his duties to include management of the firm’s Katonah office. He will continue to run Houlihan Lawrence’s Bedford/Pound Ridge office, overseeing 66 agents there along with the 43 agents in Katonah. We sat down with him to talk about his new role and the path that led him to northern Westchester.
How did you get involved in real estate?
I used to go to open houses with my mother when I was growing up. Once, I called up a real estate agent and pretended to be my mother, to get more information about a listing. An hour phone call later, I felt like I was destined for it.
I worked for a small startup in Silicon Valley in the late 1990s. It was incredibly entrepreneurial. After five years, I took a break from work (against my parents’ better wishes), and during my time off, I decided I wanted to go in a different professional direction. It was 2002, I was living in San Francisco, and real estate seemed like a smart move. I never looked back.
How do you account for your success in real estate?
I always played the long game with my clients and never saw it as transactional. Each buyer or seller was to be my client for life. I worked off referrals and knew when and how to push people. And, I always did the right thing. I’ve bought and sold countless homes myself, through the years. Having been a buyer and seller, I understand the experience of the consumer and how having the right broker can make a difference in the process.
What do you think of Northern Westchester and our real estate market?
I think that this is a little slice of heaven on Earth. We have an abundance of breathtaking open space, impressive architecture—both historic and contemporary, and countless opportunities for entertainment, enrichment, activities, and volunteerism.
I think our real estate market presents an incredible opportunity and value to new buyers, particularly those coming from down county. With low inventory, there are also opportunities for sellers. I’m optimistic about the 2018 market.
What do you love about Houlihan Lawrence?
We have the best agents—dedicated, loyal, and always community-orientated. Having local and deep connections in each of the areas we serve has made us successful.
On top of that, the company has some of the most effective reporting, statistics, and technology to empower our agents and assist our buyers and sellers to make informed decisions. So much information is available online today, but Houlihan Lawrence does a great job of pulling it all together for reporting and analysis that speaks volumes. I’ve seen my agents win listings based on the power of the data and the story it tells about conditions. It’s incredibly impressive to our clients.
What do you bring to Houlihan Lawrence?
I think I bring experience from two large competitive and complex markets. In San Francisco for example, there were no attorneys involved in real estate transactions. As agents, we wrote the contracts, helped sellers write disclosures, ordered and read title reports, and set up the closings. We were the center-point of every transaction. As such, I feel that I got deep into the weeds of every deal and learned something new each time. New York City was like the wild west.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love helping agents grow their businesses, sale by sale, client by client. Nothing excites me more than to have an agent come into my office with a question or a challenge and for them to leave ten minutes later with not only an answer or solution but also a new strategy or approach for their situation.
Rumor has it you’re a published author and appeared on Fox, GMA, 20/20, and CNBC.
I enjoy talking and writing about real estate! In 2014 I wrote, Next Generation Real Estate: New Rules for Smarter Home Buying and Faster Selling, which was an offshoot of the weekly blogging I did for Zillow. I came up with the idea to write a tips and advice book that would help both Baby Boomers and Millennials understand each other’s perspectives when approaching real estate. My TV appearances were a great opportunity to have an even wider platform to talk about my passion.
Northern Westchester is a haven for pet owners. Do you have one?
Yes, my fiancé, Rich, and I have a two-year-old Golden Retriever named Darby. She is the best!