New firm tries the slow-and-steady approach
December 29, 2011
By Adam Fusfeld
When Yale Klat and two partners launched the real estate brokerage Manhattan Residential Group last May, they decided to take it slow. For four months, the fledgling sales and rental firm didn’t recruit a single agent. Instead, the partners set up systems to support later growth.
Now, those systems are beginning to bear fruit. The firm is finally celebrating its grand opening with a cocktail party on Jan. 27. The bash will be held at the company’s new 1,300-square-foot office at 125 Maiden Lane, where its 19 agents and staff recently moved from a smaller space in the building.
Klat is a real estate lawyer by trade, but “it’s every lawyer’s dream to practice law less and be entrepreneurial,” he said.
When Klat met Justin Naoe and Gilad Schiowitz, then agents at the downtown rental brokerage Blackstone Properties, the three tossed around the idea of starting a brokerage.
The idea quickly became an obsession for Klat. “I became like a mad scientist” with financial projections, he recalled.
Now that the firm is up and running, Naoe and Schiowitz are in charge of training new recruits. Klat said they expect the firm to have around 40 agents by 2013.
Thus far, Manhattan Residential Group has done mostly rentals, according to Klat, who said it’s a good way for the firm to get started until more sales listings come their way. The company has a standard commission split, eschewing trendy 100 percent commission models, which Klat called “total garbage.”
“This industry is known for overselling, for talking the talk but not walking it,” he said. “We’re not going to oversell or overshoot. We are making sound decisions to ensure stable growth.”