We sat down with Debbie Baum, LIC. Associate Real Estate Broker and a member of The Corcoran Group’s elite President’s Council, to learn her tips and tricks for selling real estate, connecting with her clients, and giving her business her all. Business aside, we also snagged some fashion do’s and snack picks to keep energy up and productivity at its best.
Q: What is your key to success?
A: Truly caring about my clients and working 24/7 (well, almost, a girl’s gotta eat, right?). There is a gentle side to me, and I am not high pressured, but the minute my client says, “I want this”, I am a like a lion that will not let go. I’m always honest with clients, 100 percent. That’s most important.
Q: What compelled you to go into real estate?
A: Three things: I was traveling frequently—Europe at least 6 times a year and then around the US doing fashion shows and events. I didn’t want to be away from my young daughter that much. I also had attained my goals in the fashion world. I was president of the US arm of a European fashion house and built the business into a multi-million dollar brand with distribution in the finest department and specialty stores. It was through my experience in growing that brand and my love of cultivating startups that allowed me to realize that I could build a successful business within the real estate industry. Lastly, I was seeking interesting work that I could stay in as I aged—as long as I have all my marbles and can totter around, I’ll keep going!
Q: What does an average day look like for you?
A: I wake up at 7, hit the blackberry at 7:01, commit
to 30 minutes of morning exercise, eat a healthy breakfast (my Daughter the Health Coach makes
sure Mom eats well!), run back and forth between showings and the office, take in a concert at Carnegie
Hall or a movie or show, head back home and work on the computer until about 1am, and then enjoy a few hours of shut-eye. Somewhere in the middle of all this, I find the time to serve on the Advisory Board of ACC (Animal Care Centers of NYC.) It is an organization very near and dear to me.
Q: What are your go-to snacks for getting through the day?
A: Unless I have snacks on-hand, I may get a migraine. That’s why I am always stocked with healthy snacks and try to eat every couple of hours. There are times when I am out with international buyers or out-of-towners for three consecutive days, showing up to 15 apartments a day, so I’ll stock the car with protein bars, nuts, waters, bananas, and other healthy snacks.
Q: What is an obstacle that you have had to deal with at a showing?
A: I will never forget this story—it was like straight out of a comedy! I went on a walk through before a closing, and the apartment was loaded with at least eight dead mice. My knees were literally knocking! I offered to help my buyer postpone her closing or get out of her contract, of course. Luckily she was a country girl and was planning a renovation. No biggie for her, major biggie for me!
Q: What is an area in NYC that is up and coming?
A: Spoiler Alert—The Upper East Side east of Third, but you better hop on it, as they’re selling fast! With the addition of the Second Avenue subway line, real estate east of Third Avenue will grow exponentially.
Q: If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 things would you keep?
A: One—the fabulous brochure from 56 Leonard. I’m looking forward to a few upcoming closings there! Two—my favorite photo of my daughter, and three—a positive attitude.
Q: Your slogan is “Real Estate Will Always Be In Fashion.” Why? Can you provide some key staples in your wardrobe?
A: Just as people are keenly interested in the newest fashion trends, they are equally interested in what is happening in the real estate market. New neighborhoods, architectural styles, fixtures, tastes—these all adapt to the times, much like fashion. Understanding and applying this logic to real estate allows me to appreciate the industry and provide my clients with invaluable insight to market trends. With my personal style I often mix and match classic and timeless items from twenty years ago, like Perry Ellis silk printed blouses and Donna Karan cashmeres with new Alice and Olivia suede leggings, Dolce Jackets, The Row leather leggings and Gucci furry clogs. I love jackets and always pick up a new Chanel, Oscar de La Renta, or Armani every season. I also enjoy more casual looks too, like J brand jeans, BCBG blouses and a comfortable, Aqua cashmere sweater. Because I am on my feet so much, heels are out! Slip on, laceless flats are ideal for easy removal when walking on gorgeous carpeted or hardwood floors.
Q: What is your favorite aspect of a home?
A: The people make the home.
Q: What was it like making your first big sale?
A: Exhilarating. My first mega sale happened around nine years ago when international buyers found me on the Corcoran website. This was during a time when buyers would search through individual sites. They stumbled upon my profile, liked what they saw, and decided to reach out. Luckily, my last name starts with a “B” and not a “Z!” By the end of the first weekend, I had my best sale at the time and it was in my favorite condo. Even now we are still close friends!