by Esther Muller

Mann Report

When Jeff Man suggested that I write a column for this publication, I jumped at the opportunity. What a chance to share my ideas with old friends and with new friends in my community, people who have contributed so much to my family and me.

I know that many of us did not plan on a real estate career. I planned on being a schoolteacher. You may have dreamed of a career in social work or the theater or even in law, but somehow you stumbled on to this. And now, here you are. Deeply entrenched in the real estate business. You show apartments, you tour buildings, you know many superintendents by their first name and you are in constant touch with this city’s developers. Face it. This is your life!

And I like this life. I am proud to be in the real estate business. It has put
a roof over my head and it has paid for my son’s education. It is a good business. More importantly, it is an individual business – a one-on-one business where the broker has always been in touch with the buyer or the seller. But as this web-based world encroaches into our personal world, the questions I ponder are these: Is an electronic embrace replacing the human touch, and if so, is this a good thing?

I believe that even though we can and should take advantage of the benefits and timesaving characteristics of the Internet, we should never forget that it is the human contact that ultimately sells you and sells your property to others. We are people who judge each other’s character by signals we have learned to read over the years. We can read each other’s body language and determine if we are comfortable. If we trust and like each other, business is not a burden but a pleasure. I believe we should spend more time socializing, networking and meeting. We should share business information and we should share leads. An empty apartment serves no one. It is a gem hidden from sight. Sharing this gem fosters sales that benefits all the parties and brings us all closer together, which in turn will encourage future collaborations and insure a better and more inviting work place. And this, ultimately, serves our clients needs.

My own belief is that you cannot rely on the electronic embrace alone. You must develop, fine tune and further your personal relationships with others. Remember, we help people make an investment that, for many, is the most important or a house, as their most valuable possession. It is in their home they socialize, raise their children and celebrate important events. Their home is more than a roof over their heads. It is how they define themselves. We, as professionals in the real estate business, have an obligation to interact with them, to know them and understand their needs and wants. We must understand their requirements and react to their needs in a moment’s notice. And that means we have to be in touch with them. We have to be able to read them. We have to act and react as human beings, not as Internet technicians. And we have to be able to react quickly, faster than you can
boot up your computer.

Our ability to maintain this human touch becomes our key to our achievement. The human touch brings about trusts and that ensures success.

Today’s consumer demands a trustworthy, imaginative and service oriented agent. And we as members of this profession can give the consumer what
he or she demands by embracing each other professionally, by sharing information and by networking. In the New York State authorized courses offered by my school, The Academy for Continuing Education, I promote this belief by presenting many amazing and dynamic leaders in the Real Estate community who share with the attendees the valuable information they have amassed over ten years. They openly and generously give their knowledge and wisdom. They offer this human contact, which helps us all succeed.

So, in answer to the questions I posed earlier, I believe that we are embarking on an extra exciting era. While we must welcome all the benefits that the new technologies offer, we must never forget that true success comes only if we embrace each other respectfully and professionally.

Let us pledge to educating, sharing and networking with each other.
This will insure that our community maintains its most important quality,
the human touch.

Esther Muller is the president of the Academy for Continuing Education in New York City. She can be reached at