5 habits of highly successful real estate agents that anyone can copy

  • Many well-known real estate agents, from Mauricio Umansky to Mary Fitzgerald, share similar habits.
  • From caffeine to streamlining their time, top agents told Insider their tips for success.
  • We’ve put together five habits that are easiest for everyday people to incorporate into their lives.

What does a typical day look like as a real estate agent? Most of the country’s all-star brokers will say there is no such thing, but what is clear is that many of the professionals at the top of their game share a handful of similar daily habits.

Insider dug through the archives to gather what some of the best, from Ryan Serhant and Kirsten Jordan in New York to Mauricio Umansky and Mary Fitzgerald in Los Angeles, do every day to get ahead.

Whether you’re an up-and-coming agent or just an aspiring pro, read on to live like the pros.

They caffeinate

Nest Seekers agent Erin Sykes, whose listings and sales totaled $150 million in 2021, starts her day in Florida with two cold pints of nitro on an empty stomach for that extra jolt of energy.

Austin, Texas-based agent Kumara Wilcoxon with Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty drinks a morning of Earl Gray tea with almond milk, though that comes after two large glasses of lemon water and a celery juice. The morning ritual has helped her sell over $1 billion in her career.

And Mary Fitzgerald, the Los Angeles agent who stars in “Selling Sunset” and sells multimillion-dollar mansions with the Oppenheim Group, can’t get going without at least two cups of coffee — she’s a self-confessed no-morning person.

They remain in peak physical condition

Franes Katzen, a Douglas Elliman agent who specializes in selling luxury apartments in New York and sold $340 million last year, is a former ballerina and stays in shape by taking dance classes at Upper West Side studio Steps on Broadway three times a week.

Fellow New York-based Douglas Elliman agent Lisa Simonsen also had a former fitness career. Therefore, the agent who sold more than 100 million dollars in 2022 makes sure to work out in the gym of her building, usually on a bicycle, every morning.

McKenzie Ryan

McKenzie Ryan hangs out at the gym.

McKenzie Ryan



Former youth Olympian and real estate wunderkind McKenzie Ryan used to compete at the national level in rhythmic gymnastics. Now with Elliman in New York, he said he uses a similar discipline.

“With my background, I have to be physically prepared. The training is half mental, half physical,” she told Insider in 2021, when she sold more than $34 million. “And I do a ton of my business strategy when I work out.” He also does 1,000 criticals a night.

They check the markets and the news, first thing

Ryan Serhant wakes up at 4:30 every day not because he likes it, but “because my career depends on it,” he said. The very early start time allows him to scan the news and catch up on anything he needs to know before the markets open. It’s a proven strategy: He’s sold over $5 billion in real estate in his career.

In Los Angeles, Mauricio Umansky of The Agency, which sold $298 million in 2021 and stars in Netflix’s “Buying Beverly Hills,” tunes in to Bloomberg, Fox and CNN to catch up on what’s going on.

“I love hearing all the points of view. I love seeing how they tell the same story from a completely different angle. It’s pretty fun,” he said.

When she starts her day at home, Sykes always has the TV on in the background to stay updated on any events that could affect her purchases. “When there’s breaking news, you have to be available immediately to do the commentary for the different channels,” said Sykes, who is also an economist. “I’ve done commentary from everywhere: from hotel rooms, from my car, from clients’ houses, from my house and from the studios.”

They go the extra mile for their customers

Tal Alexander, who left Douglas Elliman to start a company called Official with his brother Oren, hosts clients at his luxury apartment building: 432 Park Avenue near Manhattan’s Central Park. He stocks specialty meats from butchers, as well as a wine collection, so he always has something special on hand. Together the Alexanders have sold over $1 billion in real estate.

tal oren alexander

Tal Alexander, left, and Oren Alexander.

Tal Alexander/Facebook



Leave your own party? Of course, if you’re Simonsen. A double-booked schedule is not uncommon in Simonsen’s line of work, where agents must accommodate buyers’ limited windows to view homes for sale. As Charlie McDonald, her group’s head of operations, explained, “Lisa’s customers’ time is very valuable. They’ll give us the shortest amount of time to see something and we have to deliver.”

Serhant gets a new SUV every year “just to update it,” though he said he makes sure his car and clothes are never nicer than his customers. “The customer comes first. And I always want them to feel special,” he said.

They maximize their time with technology and stay disciplined

To make the most of her day, Miami agent Dina Goldendayer makes sure to make the most efficient way to get around the Magic City. That might mean hopping on the golf cart to cruise to book a date in the Venetian Islands, having her driver take her around town, or even getting to a meeting by helicopter. Agent Douglas Elliman knows what it takes to succeed: She was the top-selling agent in Miami in 2021 with $750 million in transactions.

Woman overlooks the Miami skyline as well as the water below a balcony.

Dina Goldentayer overlooking the Miami skyline.

Dina Goldendayer



Aaron Kirman, who sells palatial properties with Christie’s in Los Angeles and stars on CNBC’s “Listing Impossible,” has developed a new tool called Estate Dynamics that uses artificial intelligence to find people who might be interested in buying one of houses he sells. The tool then tracks their online behaviors – such as their search history and social media posts – to target them with real estate ads that match their preferences. The goal is to help agents like himself close deals more quickly and efficiently. Not that he needs the help: Kirman sold over $725 million in 2020.

Have a nice meal? Not Kirsten Jordan. “Million Dollar Listing New York” star and Douglas Elliman agent with more than $500 million in career sales always makes time for a meal, eschewing quick fixes like protein bars, but it’s good not to linger.

She is very eager to get back to work.

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