An Interview with Muller: President/Master Teacher

New York Real Estate Journal
January 20-30, 2004

Before Esther Muller created the Real Estate Academy, mandatory continuing education was considered by many real estate professionals as a necessary evil – “Something akin to the flu shot,” Muller said.
“You didn’t want to do it but you had to.”

That feeling of dread evaporated when the Real Estate Academy was launched in 1995 in New York City. The brainchild of Muller has made learning fun, and much more, for the thousands of real estate
professionals who have taken her classes.

How did this happen? Working within the strict mandates of the Department of State, Division of Licensing Services, Muller strove to make the Real Estate Academy fresh, informative and invigorating for the attendee. “I had two equally important goals when I started out,” Muller said. “I wanted the
Real Estate Academy to be seen by the real estate community as the gold standard for educational training. And I wanted to create a skills-building program that empowered our students and helped them to take their careers to the next level.”

She continued. “It took me two years to get the academy’s programming approved by state and the results were worth the time and energy that I put into it,” Muller said.

Muller used techniques that differentiated the Real Estate Academy.
Based on her twenty years of experience, she developed a state-approved curriculum based on an agent’s current needs, something that had never been done before. Muller conducted seminars outside of the traditional classroom setting, holding them in such locations as The Penthouse at Shelly’s NY, the Empire Hotel, and the Russian Tea Room, to get away from the stuffy classroom-feel of many industry continuing education programs.

However, the underlying key to the academy’s ongoing success is the caliber of its guest lecturers. Muller understood that learning from one’s peers is an incisive lesson in itself. Already well-known in the trade – Muller was a top producer at Sopher Realty and Douglas Elliman – she has the reputation
and name recognition that attracts many of the industry’s ‘megastars’ as presenters. Over the years, luminaries such as Leonard Bayer (president of Goodstein Realty), Neil Binder (founder of Bellmarc Realty), Faith Hope Consolo (vice chairman of Garrick Aug Worldwide), and many other industry leaders have lectured at the Real Estate Academy. “For these individuals to take time out their insanely busy schedules to lecture at the academy is an honor and a tribute to the institution,” Muller said. “They understand the importance of education. We are the only continuing education program where real estate brokers and sales persons can learn from this exceptional level of quality professionals and immediately benefit from this knowledge-share.”

For Muller, education and real estate are more than a means to an end – they are her twin passions. Born in Israel to parents who survived the Holocaust, Muller and her family immigrated to the United States in the 1950s with $500 in cash and knowing very little English.

What enabled her to go from a fifth-floor walkup on Utica Ave. in Brooklyn to a luxury apartment overlooking Manhattan’s Central Park, is due in part to her dedication to education and to her success in real estate as well as to her business acumen.

“I know it sounds corny but I want everyone to be as successful as possible in real estate,” Muller said. “The profession has been very good to me. It allowed me to control my own destiny, create a wonderful living for myself
and for my family, and live out the American Dream. Thru the Real Estate Academy, I feel that I am giving back and helping others as much as I possibly can. I take great personal pride in that.”

To further meet the ongoing needs of the market, Muller developed a distance learning educational module. “It’s an option for those who want to learn at their own pace and at their convenience,” Muller said. She is already busily planning for 2004, with projects to upgrade the academy’s web site,, and to develop the next series of continuing education seminars.

For Muller, her passion for education and real estate are reflected in her other professional activities, including her contract with New York City’s Department of Education housing program, where she helps educators from around the United States and the world who relocated to the Big Apple – to teach at local schools to find affordable housing.

But the Real Estate Academy remains her first love. “I adore what I do,”
Muller said. “And I am very fortunate that the Real Estate Academy is the tool that many real estate professionals use to help realize their own dreams.”

Esther Muller is the president and master teacher for the Real Estate Academy in New York.