Brian Morgan and The Morgan Manhattan Team believe that educating clients is the key to success
As one of Citi Habitats’ top-producing teams, The Morgan Manhattan Team is a diverse group of real estate professionals offering a full suite of services for those looking to buy, sell or rent property across New York City. Led by veteran agent Brian Morgan, they are firm believers in the value of educating clients to enable them to make smart, informed decisions.
“I believe in giving my clients the truth, no matter what,” Morgan explained. “I look out for them, and do the right thing, even if it costs me a deal. I know this business is about building longterm relationships. If a client knows that I truly have their best interests at heart, they will continue to bring my team business year after year. It’s my job to be their advocate and advisor.”
Morgan joined Citi Habitats as a rookie agent in 2005. His first passion was film production, but after working in that industry for several years, he grew tired of the bureaucracy and lack of influence he had over his career trajectory. “I loved the movie business, but I wanted a more entrepreneurial environment. Instead of waiting for my next promotion, I wanted control over my own destiny,” Morgan said. “I like the fact that in real estate, the harder I work, the greater the reward.”
Initially, Morgan explored entering the commercial brokerage world, but after meeting Citi Habitats’ President Gary Malin, he decided to give residential real estate a shot.
“I liked Gary’s outlook on the business,” Morgan explained. “I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel. Citi Habitats offered superior training and resources to help me learn the ropes. I attended all the seminars and listened to all the speakers. I made sure I was the first person in the office in the morning and dedicated myself to the work. I attribute simply ‘following the program’ to helping me find my initial success in this business.” Instead of a job where he was constantly watching the clock, Morgan found that residential real estate kept him motivated and excited about the future. While his first clients were almost universally renters, he knew that these initial connections would be key to his long-term prosperity.
“IT’S ALL ABOUT BUILDING A STRONG FOUNDATION. RENTERS BECOME BUYERS, AND THEN BECOME SELLERS.”
“It’s all about building a strong foundation. Renters become buyers, and then become sellers,” he said. “If you provide superior service, they will come back to you time and time again as their housing needs change. They need to know you will always be there to help.”
Just a few years after embarking on his career, Morgan purchased an apartment at a newly constructed condominium building in Gramercy. He was determined to become an expert on the building and the go-to-resource for buyers and sellers. Who knows the building better than a resident? This specialization has paid off. Today he is the leading broker for The Gramercy Starck at 340 East 23rd Street.
In addition to hard work and knowing his inventory, Morgan also attributed his strong sense of ethics to his success.
“When I work with people, I put myself in their shoes — and treat the transaction as if it were my own,” Morgan noted. “I put their needs before my own. Not only is it the right thing to do, clients appreciate someone who has their back in the competitive, and often intimidating, Manhattan sales market.”
In 2009, he began to build a team of agents to support his business. Starting with one team member, the group has expanded to six over the last decade. Andrew Sacks, the Morgan Manhattan Team’s most tenured agent, has begun to focus primarily on sales after several years working in rentals. Patrick Craig heads the team’s rental division. He manages their extensive portfolio of leasing exclusives, in addition to helping apartment-seekers find their perfect new home in the Big Apple. Cindy Li is the team’s rental specialist. She works to close leads provided by team members and has cultivated her own robust referral-based clientele.
Messiah Morency is the newest member of the Morgan Manhattan Team. Referred by a mutual friend, he initially came to Morgan for advice on making the transition to a career in real estate. After speaking with Morgan, Morency was so impressed by the team that he asked if he could join as a junior agent. James Kim, the team’s “quarterback,” manages all members and makes sure all the wheels are consistently turning, while always maintaining the team’s high standard.
Together, the team prides themselves on their ability to determine the “right price” for a property. The first step is to perform a comparable market analysis to help ensure that a listing is priced to sell, or alternatively, that a buyer isn’t overpaying for their potential new home.
“When determining the value of a home, our team isn’t just throwing darts at a board. We never rely on emotion to figure out what a property is worth. Instead, we perform extensive research-based upon stats compiled by some of the most respected appraisers in New York,” Morgan said. “Using this data, we can determine what extra value features like a private balcony or a Central Park view add. This allows us to choose a price that takes into account its specific features. While many apartments are similar, no two are exactly alike. Each needs the time and attention to be priced based upon its unique characteristics.
“For sellers, after I run the analysis I give them three prices: the high (or aggressive) price; the fair-market price; and the ‘bidding war’ (or just under market) price,” Morgan added. “I let my clients determine which one they want to go for based upon their personal circumstances. I would rather be able to sell the property successfully based upon market and comparable research than just telling the sellers what they want to hear.”
If it means losing the listing, he continued, so be it.
“Many agents will take a listing no matter what, even if the price the sellers’ are aiming for is unrealistic,” he observed. “That’s not going to benefit anyone.”
Brian Morgan has learned a lot over his nearly 15 years in real estate. From knowing the importance of staying on top of industry trends and building clients for life to seeing how creating a team can better serve his diverse clientele, he never stops evolving as his business grows.
The Morgan Manhattan Team is always looking towards the future; however, what will never change is their commitment to market knowledge, integrity and dedication on behalf of clients, Morgan said. These components will always be the backbone of the team’s shared success.