Cia is responsible for the management of all seven BHS offices. (Photo: www.facebook.com)
For my second of four articles with full time managers of real estate offices in the Hamptons and North Fork, I interviewed Aspasia G. Comnas, Brown Harris Stevens (BHS) Executive Managing Director and Associate Broker. "Cia," the name by which she likes to be called, is also a New York State licensed attorney.
What is your geographical area of responsibility?
Cia: I am responsible for the management of all seven BHS offices, six on the South Fork and one on the North Fork. My colleague, Ed Reale, is responsible for Southampton, Westhampton, and Sag Harbor. Ed is Managing Director and a New York State licensed attorney and Associate Broker. Gina Galante, Associate Broker, manages our Greenport office on the North Fork. I manage directly East Hampton, Bridgehampton, and Amagansett.
How long have you been a manager?
Cia: Five years with BHS and before that I was with Sotheby's for eleven years. I also practiced law out here and have been an attorney for over thirty years.
Why did BHS make the decision to invest in full-time managers?
Cia: I think they realized that their agents weren't getting the support they needed. Real estate agents are independent contractors which means that while they're colleagues with everyone in their office, they are also competitors with everyone in their office. So to some degree, they can discuss issues with each other that they are trying to resolve with respect to various transactions, but they can't really be totally candid like they can to a non-selling manager. Ed and I are not selling managers which means we do not compete with our agents for listings and sales.
What are your responsibilities as a manager?
Cia: I would say that it includes everything from being a good negotiator and helping your agents strategize to getting involved in the marketing of our brand and our agents, and our listings. That involves print media, social media, for example. Ed Reale and I work with our media people to prepare an advertising budget that includes internet and all other kinds of marketing. We are also involved in running the offices, training our agents, and going on listing appointments with our agents. That has great appeal to our clients because it shows management's attention to their interests.
How many agents are you responsible for and how many staff employees?
Cia: We have about 140 agents who are independent contractors and 25 staff who are employees.
Who trains the staff?
Cia: Mostly, they are trained by other staff who are experienced in those areas of responsibility. They deal with the public so they are really the face of our company. When someone walks in the front door or calls on the telephone, that's the first point of contact with BHS. They are trained to immediately put themselves in the hands of an agent and not get involved in performing services that require a real estate license.
What are some of the documents required by the Department of State that you're responsible for?
Cia: The three main ones are the agency disclosure form, lead disclosure, and property condition disclosure, and to make sure that they are used properly and understand why they are required by the DOS. That's part of the mandatory training for all of our agents.
Agency disclosure is a topic in all of my real estate classes. The New York State Association of Realtors is recommending that it be required in all license renewal courses. Please discuss this issue.
Cia: Absolutely! I can't overstress the importance of compliance with agency disclosure. I emphasize to all of our agents that it's not just a matter of getting a form signed. They have to be able to explain it to sellers and buyers and get their INFORMED consent. I stress the word informed. When I have gone on listing appointments or met with an agent's buyer, I have never had trouble getting an agency disclosure signed, because I explain it to them and they understand the reason for it. The way we represent sellers and buyers has made the process a little easier to explain and understand. Ed Reale and I go to great lengths to help our agents understand the importance of the law.
I assume you recruit both agents who are new to the business and those who are already experienced.
Cia: Yes, we try to maintain a mix of both, but most of our agents come with experience. Basically we look for motivation, drive, good connections, work ethic, and we try to cultivate an environment where everybody can succeed, not just a few. We emphasize to our new agents that they are going to be running a business under the auspices of BHS, and that they have to have a business plan which includes self-promotion, like any other start-up business.
What are the issues you are most often confronted with as a manager?
Cia: I guess it would be dealing with owners and buyers, recruitment, technology, whatever it takes to promote the company, including making sure the bulbs are working.
In the absence of membership in a real estate board, which provides a means for mediation and arbitration in an attempt to resolve disputes among competing firms, how do you address these situations?
Cia: Fortunately we have a very congenial group of managers who try to do the right thing and rarely have to resort to civil suits to resolve our problems.
What in your professional experience do you consider to be the most important in your duties as a manager?
Cia: I would say my work as a real estate attorney. Being part of the process in representing buyers and sellers prepared me to understand the issues that can make or break the deal, and the issues a broker must be knowledgeable about. That's one of the greatest services I can provide to my agents and the consumer. I think my colleague Ed Reale would say the same thing.
John is a St. John's University graduate, licensed Real Estate broker, DOS Certified Instructor, lecturer, teaches real estate license classes at Cook Maran Real Estate School, and is a well-respected consultant to the real estate industry. He previously taught at LIU and NYU. www.johnaviteritti.com
We pay less,and so do you.With over 1,000 stores in our buying group, we can get the lowest prices
from the best flooring manufacturers — and pass the savings on to you.Visit our other locations: Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home, 675 North Sea Road,Southampton, NY 11968
Paul Guillo And Chris Hall
Two Of The Most Respected Names In The Community
Together, they are partners in CP Complete. They bring their years of experience
and integrity to creating and renovating luxury backyards.
Hamptons luxury real estate specialist for 34 years, Andrea Ackerman offers outstanding expertise in the field. Trusted, experienced and successful, Andrea has solidified herself as the go-to broker of the Hamptons and a wholehearted advocate for her clients. A pioneer in the real estate industry on the East End of Long Island, she is driven by her passion for the business. Andrea is based in the Bridgehampton office of Brown Harris Stevens as a licensed real estate associate broker and consultant.
Formerly, a principal partner and Senior Director at Brown Harris Stevens, Andrea now assists in developing their corporate strategy for the Hamptons region, advising other brokers and sales associates, as well as being one of the top producers and listors.
Southrifty Drug is a small, neighborhood pharmacy with limited shelf space, and we have to be very selective about which over-the-counter items we carry. As a result you'll find a no nonsense concentration of very effective, high quality and useful products on our shelves. In this new section, we feature a number of these products that we feel are especially worthy of your consideration.
Burner Law Group, P.C. are full service elder law attorneys concentrating in the areas of Estate Planning, Trust and Estate Administration and Litigation, Special Needs Planning, Guardianship and Elder Law. Offices in East Setauket‚ NY, Westhampton Beach, NY, and New York, NY.
Our menu focuses on seafood and Greek dishes such as salt baked fish, seafood pasta and Mediterranean mezze. Our wine list has been awarded The Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator and boasts the largest selection of rosé in the Hamptons. The name Calissa is derived from the brightest constellation in the summer sky.Our sister restaurants in New York are Amali and Bar Marseille, opening 2020 in the Rockaways. Calissa offers private dining spaces for groups from 10 to 300 people. To plan your next wedding, corporate event or gathering, please email email@example.com. 1020 MONTAUK HIGHWAY, WATER MILL
Suburban Propane has been serving the energy needs for home owners and business in the Hampton’s for decades. We offer friendly service by local professionals you know and trust, plus the peace of mind that comes from knowing we are among the leaders in the industry for safety.
We build client revenues and reputations.
Our reputation is built on delivering a strong media presence and, as a result, demand for our clients' offerings, resulting in a positive impact on sales. Successful campaigns start with understanding the goals of our clients and developing a customized strategy that will achieve those objectives.