What brokerage holiday parties reveal about their hosts – The Real Deal

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Ryan Serhant and BHHS’ Brad Loe and Steven James (Serhant; VHT Studios)
If the mask reveals the man, as Oscar Wilde once said, then the holiday party reveals the brokerage.
While some brokerages weren’t in a hurry to light up the holiday party scene, perhaps a fitting trend given the state of the market, those that did — namely Serhant and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New York — chose venues and aesthetics that reveal their realities and the ambitions of their executives.
Corcoran and Brown Harris Stevens all pushed their festivities to January — the tradition for Corcoran, while BHS decided it will celebrate the new year and its 150th anniversary rather than host an event in December. Compass threw a party for brokers in Brooklyn and Manhattan but did not open them to reporters. Douglas Elliman left party planning up to individual offices.
That’s more or less keeping in line with other industries: roughly 57 percent of companies are throwing holiday parties this year, reports Channel 8 News. While that’s down from 75 percent in 2019, it’s way up from 26 percent last year.
On to Serhant, which threw a party at its flagship office on West Broadway. Its founder, Ryan Serhant, has mastered the art of inclusive self-promotion — that is, self-promotion that makes others feel like they’re welcome along for the ride. The party was exactly what you’d expect from a reality TV star: glitzy and glamorous, with a guestlist of young brokers that felt right at home in that environment. Serhant, who launched his eponymous brokerage in 2020, had his eyes fixed on the future.
“We’ll begin to expand next year,” he said.
The party couldn’t have stood in starker contrast to Berkshire Hathaway’s. Where Serhant’s was thrown by a young upstart, Berkshire Hathaway has seasoned industry veterans Brad Loe, Steven James and Diane Ramirez at the helm. The location — a former Vanderbilt mansion with stately wood-paneled walls — paid homage to tradition. The guests were similarly established and indicative of Loe and James’ old-fashioned, shoe-leather recruitment style, which promises one-on-one mentorship but none of the glam that Serhant has made central to his pitch.
The brokerages’ identities couldn’t be more opposed and the coming year may reveal which strategy is a more effective way to build a brokerage, though, ironically, it’s Serhant who has the head start. What will bear out in the long run: Serhant’s appeal to younger generations, thanks to his knack for branding and online content, or Loe and James’ embrace of tradition?


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