Park Avenue Office
Executive Director of Sales, Park Avenue Office
By Candace Taylor
Halstead Property swept the Real Estate Board of New York's annual Residential Deal of the Year Awards yesterday, taking home five of the six prizes.
Industry veteran Dan Danielli, a senior vice president at Halstead, was awarded Residential Deal of the Year for the two-and-a-half-year-long negotiation of an East Side townhouse sale. Halstead's Norman Horowitz and Gary Friedland took second place, followed by Judy Oston, Don Correia and Ruth Yeskel in third, also of Halstead.
Halstead's director of sales for the East Side, John Wollberg, won the Henry Forster Award for outstanding achievement in residential real estate, a prize Halstead president Diane Ramirez took home last year.
Meanwhile, 26-year old Halstead associate broker Ari Harkov was named Most Promising Rookie Salesperson of the Year, and Citi Habitats senior associate broker Caroline Bass won Residential Deal of the Year in the residential rental category, with co-broker Lynda Wiggins of Brown Harris Stevens. At 25, Bass is one of the younger agents ever to win a Deal of the Year award.
Halstead, which has frequently taken top honors in the contest in previous years, strongly encourages agents to apply for the awards and helps select the best candidates, Ramirez said.
"We talk about it at every sales meeting," she said. "It's become part of our culture."
With 14 years of real estate experience under his belt, townhouse specialist Danielli has closed nearly a half-billion dollars worth of residential sales. Still, the deal that would eventually earn him REBNY's top honor was trying even for him.
"Could I have imagined a deal more convoluted or difficult than mine?" he said. "Not really."
The townhouse in question had "three owners who didn't like each other very much," Danielli said. "I was dealing -- for every showing and every price reduction -- with three owners, four tenants, four lawyers and a super who had the only set of keys."
To make matters worse, several of the owners had moved out of state after 33 years of owning the building, making negotiations between them even more difficult, Danielli said.
A similar effort earned Bass of Citi Habitats her award. She was on the brink of renting a 4,500-square-foot, $30,000-a-month four-bedroom on Central Park West -- in one of the city's strictest co-ops, where only one other apartment had ever been rented -- when she learned that the seller had backed out at the last minute. At 8 p.m. on the Friday before Christmas, she had to deliver the bad news to her clients, returning their checks and extensive board packet. "They were devastated," she said.
Bass said she worked so late on putting together a counteroffer to save the deal that she nearly missed Christmas with her family, prompting her mother to drive into the city from Connecticut to get her. "She said, 'If I don't come pick you up you're never going to come home,'" Bass recalled. But it paid off a month later, when the seller reconsidered.
Wollberg founded Atco Residential Group in 1996 and was hired as Halstead's Director of Sales for the flagship Eastside office in June of this year.
Harkov received his real estate license in the fall of 2006. He quickly turned heads at Halstead by getting an exclusive from a for-sale-by-owner client in his first week at the company, selling the apartment for $650,000 -- $25,000 more than the seller had been asking -- with several backup offers the day after his first open house.
Representatives from the Prudential Douglas Elliman and the Corcoran Group, the city's largest brokerages, could not be reached for comment, and REBNY did not comment on the number of applications received for each category.
Thursday, October 30, 2008