America's richest self-made real estate woman on how persistence pays off and why it never hurts to ask. As CEO of New York City's largest residential brokerage, Dottie Herman has built her career on her talent for real estate. But it's equally true to say that Herman has built his career on making one bold move after another. In the 1980s, when his boss told him he was selling his real estate business to Merrill Lynch, Herman drove to the buyer's offices in California, walked in without an appointment, and told the CEO that she would be a great asset to Merrill Lynch as it entered the real estate market. He hired her. In 1990, seeking to purchase some of Prudential's real estate offices but without investors, Herman persuaded the company to finance the purchase itself, to the tune of $9 million. In 2003, she bought Manhattan's largest real estate company, again convincing Prudential to lend her the money. The price this time around? Almost $72 million. Today, all these risky moves have paid off. Herman's company, Douglas Elliman, is the third-largest residential real estate brokerage in the United States, with $26.1 billion in revenue in 2017 .
There are opportunities in life,” says Herman, whom Forbes named the richest self -made woman in American real estate . “Sometimes people don't recognize them. »The motivation to "do something on its own" To employee email database shed some light on the origins of Herman's remarkable ambition, it helps to look back at a life-changing event from childhood. As she describes in the book Real: A Path to Passion, Purpose and Profits in Real Estate , at the age of 10 Herman was in a car accident which claimed the life of his mother and seriously injured his father. “I understood from an early age that life is not eternal and that you have to make the most of your time,” she writes. "I decided that I would do something myself." And that's exactly what she did. While studying for her financial planning certification and Series 7 license, she started working in real estate, simply because she could work flexible hours and still attend classes.
She hadn't planned to stay in real estate, but her boss shared some exciting news: He would soon be selling his business to financial adviser Merrill Lynch, and with his background in real estate and financial planning, Herman would be the perfect fit. Breaking into Merrill Lynch After reading a book that advised that to get ahead in life, you have to work where the best work, Herman came up with a big plan. She researched where Merrill Lynch Realty employees worked, hopped on a plane to California, and “broke into their office.”She didn't have an appointment, but she told the CEO, “I heard you're getting into the real estate business and I'd be a great asset. And so Herman began working for Merrill Lynch, helping to grow its real estate brand.