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Broker Spotlight: Stewart Seeligson and Kristen Muller
Name: Stewart Seeligson and Kristen Muller
Title: Managing partners of The Agency Telluride
Experience: Seeligson: Sixteen years as a broker and five years of previous experience in real estate development. Muller: Twelve years of direct real estate marketing experience in a leadership position at prestigious luxury real estate brokerages
Location: Telluride, Colorado
Brokerage name: The Agency Telluride
Rankings: Seeligson has been recognized as a top producer in the State of Colorado for five consecutive years, most recently ranking No. 47 by RealTrends for individual broker by volume.
Team size: 3
Transaction sides: 15 (Average price: $4.67 million)
Sales volume: $70 million
Awards: Seeligson earned Realtor of the Year (2013) by the Telluride Association of Realtors and was top producer of the No. 1 Sotheby’s franchise in the world for 16 consecutive quarters.
Along with her marketing team, Kristen Muller earned distinguished awards such as Best Video Branding Strategy, Best Print Marketing and Best Digital Marketing Strategy from the Luxury Real Estate Network, in addition to Best Video Website Strategy from RealTrends.
How did you get your start in real estate?
Muller: I got my first taste of the real estate industry right after college when I worked part-time as an assistant to a broker who was growing his business. The day-to-day was fun, fast-paced and exciting.
Years later, after grad school, I began working for one of the top brokers in the country who taught me a lot about the business and how to best support buyers and sellers, as well as the importance of marketing a property the right way.
I parlayed that position into a corporate leadership role where I had the opportunity to oversee the marketing and communications strategy for a large luxury real estate brokerage, marketing ultra-luxury estate properties, legacy ranches, resorts and developments.
What do you wish more people knew about working in real estate?
Seeligson: I wish more people working in real estate appreciated that if they focused more on a broker’s role to help people with their real estate challenges — whether that is finding the right property for a buyer or selling a property for a seller — rather than focus on commissions and earning money, then they would enjoy their careers more and be more successful.
What’s something you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
Seeligson: I wish I understood when I first started that building a career as a residential real estate broker is like building any other business.
You can break down the components of the market that you are working in such as determining the market share of different brokerages and the trends of market share growth and decline; identifying the changing demographics of the buyers; and then developing strategies to pursue specific market segments based on changes in market share of the existing brokers and changes in buyer demographics.
What’s your top tip for freshly licensed brokers?
Seeligson: My top tip for a freshly licensed broker is to adopt a proven business model and follow it to the smallest detail and not give up on it. Trust the model and do not deviate from it over the course of three to five years.
Too many new brokers are eager to work hard and be successful but they are constantly reinventing themselves and trying new strategies many of which are unproven. Success will come far quicker by following a proven business model.
What makes a good leader?
Muller: Good leaders surround themselves with other good leaders, thought partners and those who are hungry to learn and evolve. They are visionaries who inspire those around them and who also are inspired by those that they work with.
It is important to foster open communication and encourage everyone to step outside of their comfort zone. I also think a good leader is someone who is not afraid to be wrong.
Seeligson: Leadership is far more about mentoring and supporting your colleagues than the old adage of “leading by example.”
What’s one thing you wish every agent knew?
Seeligson: I wish every agent understood that if they took the emotion out of their “negotiations” with the other broker on a particular transaction, that buyer and seller would more quickly get to a compromise and with far less risk of resentment developing with one of the parties.