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In step with the market

At 19, Jacky Teplitzky was a sergeant in the Israeli Army. Her stint in the military provided good training — to be a Manhattan real estate broker.

Now Teplitzky — the fourth-ranked producer at massive Prudential Douglas Elliman, which has 3,300 agents in metro New York — is sharing her knowledge with civilians. She's teaching a course at New York University Real Estate Institute that aims to arm brokers with selling skills to survive the market slowdown.

"The market has changed," she said. "It's a big, big challenge."

Born in Santiago, Chile, Teplitzky moved with her family at age 10 to Israel, to the city of Ashkelon, six miles from the Gaza border.

In the army, she had to wake up at 1 a.m. and sprint into gear within 10 minutes. That experience helped prepare her for the seven-day-a-week responsibilities of a real estate broker.

"There is no mercy in the army," she said. In some ways, the army was easier, because "at least every three weeks, you'd get the weekend off. [As a broker] there is no weekend off."

Her eight-week course, "Effective Marketing Techniques in Real Estate Brokerage," starts Sept. 20, the first day of the Real Estate Institute's fall semester. It costs $495.

The Institute — co-founded by World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein — offers courses to help people get brokers' licenses and do state-required continuing education, plus nondegree courses like Teplitzky's that teach them how to deal with market downturns.

For further info, call the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies at (212) 998-7171, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you're outside New York City, call (888) 998-7204. Or, see www.scps.nyu.edu for course listings.

Her strategy

Brokers need new strategies to succeed in a slowing market. Here's a sampling from Jacky Teplitzky's arsenal:

* Treat other brokers like clients, not enemies.

You're likely to wind up sharing your deals since 80% of Manhattan residential sales are co-brokered. So, be proactive and encourage other brokers to work with you.

When Teplitzky gets a listing, she calls every broker with a similar apartment or townhouse for sale.

If prospects look at your property but take a pass, bring them to see mine, she suggests. If people come to my property but don't bite, I will reciprocate.

* Walk away from clients who insist on overpricing their apartments.

These days, multiple brokers compete for every listing. So it's tempting to take a job even if the seller insists on an asking price you're sure is too high.

Don't do it. Six months from now, the apartment will be unsold, shoppers will consider it a stale listing and the client will dump you.

Your willingness to turn down the job might convince the seller you're right about pricing the property lower, and you'll get hired to do it your way.

Or the seller will come back to you later, after another broker has tried — and failed — to sell the apartment at the unrealistic price. She has experienced that.

* Every property needs a full-out, specially tailored marketing campaign.

A year ago, one listing on your brokerage firm's Web site was all it took to sell an apartment or townhouse. Now cross-marketing is the name of the game.

That includes direct-mail pieces. She has a graphic designer on her staff to produce them.

* You gotta have a gimmick.

There are nearly 30,000 residential real estate agents in Manhattan — almost 50% more than when Teplitzky started 11 years ago. You can get lost in a crowd that big.

Teplitzky, who has hired her own publicist, is always seeking a marketing edge.

This coming Sunday, she's showing about seven open houses on the upper East Side (ranging from $799,000 to $1.895 million) and she and her team are preparing a barrage of e-mails and direct mailings as a part of an "Open House Extravaganza."

* Figure out and cultivate your market niche.

Are you a numbers person? An artsy person? Clients who share common interests with you are the most likely to feel comfortable about hiring you.

"Don't try to be all things to all people," Teplitzky said.



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