A-List Brokers

A-List Brokers – Valerie A. Lettan
Douglas Elliman Real Estate Broker

Wednesday, July 1, 2015
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Did you have another career prior to real estate? If so, how has it contributed to your success in real estate?

Prior to entering real estate, I worked in the film industry, which ingrained perfectionism, a strong work ethic and the “art of making the deal” into my very being. I learned from the best. My first boss out of graduate school, Dawn Steel, was the very first woman to run a major Hollywood studio. She was already a living legend before her untimely death at age 51. Back then, the film industry was an aggressive boys’ club, and women leaders were extremely rare. Having successfully lived in a “swimming with sharks” environment for several years prepared me enormously when I chose to transition into Manhattan real estate. I seldom take no for an answer, always persist, strive to be five steps ahead of any situation, prepare for all possible outcomes and understand the needs and desires of my clients. Most important, I get things done no matter how complicated the deal. I’m often told I usually make the impossible possible: hearing clients say that makes me smile. My greatest satisfaction, when a deal is done, is knowing I’ve made a positive impact in the lives of others and helped guide clients through the complicated maze of Manhattan real estate to a successful outcome of their most important investment.

What word or phrase best describes you professionally?

Clients, attorneys, mortgage brokers and executive management I’ve worked with over the years have described me a number of ways: an excellent negotiator, market savvy, trustworthy, a deal maker, a perfectionist, hard worker, persistent and dedicated. I believe all those attributes can be summed up in one phrase: “I get things done, and done well.”

What do you like most about your job?

I greatly enjoy interfacing with people from all over and helping them successfully achieve their real estate goals. Working with people from foreign countries is also a joy. I speak French fluently and have a strong understanding of several other languages. Since I’ve sold throughout the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Midtown, Chelsea, etc., I am a solid resource for all of Manhattan to buyers and sellers alike. With good due diligence and strong communication skills, and as a REBNY Certified Negotiation Expert, I love negotiating a deal!

Why do you think you attract so many A-List clients?

An excellent experience always leads clients to refer me to others. The expression “Your referral is the greatest compliment” is one I truly appreciate. Buyers and sellers always want to feel well provided for, having access to the best information available and first-rate service. Plus, once they find a remarkable broker they can trust, who is honest and fair, there’s no need to use anyone else.

What advice would you give someone looking to buy real estate?

The process of buying in Manhattan cannot be compared to that anywhere else in the world. A NYC real estate purchase can be highly involved (whether in a co-op or high-profile condo building) and most buyers are surprised that the sale process requires board application packages, which can be very work-intensive and feel highly intrusive. Depending on the building, a condo or co-op purchase can take months, even if it’s a cash deal, and one must be prepared to divulge all financials. Buyers should realize this is the standard process and it’s strictly confidential. Everyone who owns in Manhattan has gone through this. It is truly an accomplishment to own property in Manhattan, and one that buyers should be very proud of. An investment in NYC, no matter what the state of the market, always grows in value over the years. Many people have done much better investing in NYC real estate than in the stock market.

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