Photo courtesy of Nancy Kennedy
You’ve probably seen her signs out front of local homes: Nancy Kennedy is the name and face of Houlihan Lawrence’s most prolific sales team.
Number 28 on The Wall Street Journal’s list of the 1,000 top realtors in America (2015) and the top multiple listings associate for Houlihan in Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, and Orange Counties every year since 2011, Nancy Kennedy is no stranger to accolades — she was literally the top associate in the entire company for a 13-year period from 2005 through 2017 and is the exclusive listing agent for The Ritz-Carlton Residences and other high-end apartments across the county.
Kennedy entered the Westchester real estate scene in 1985 and has seen the market’s fluctuations and trends over that time. Having just passed the boggling milestone of $1 billion (yes, “billion” with a “b”) in career sales, Westchester Magazine felt it was the ideal time to sit down with the prolific agent to get her insight into building a top-ranked team that can provide for its customers even as the years go on and technology changes the realty industry.
WM: First and foremost, congratulations. A billion dollars is usually a hard number just to wrap your head around. What does it feel like to have reached such an enormous milestone in career sales?
Nancy Kennedy: It is a big milestone! I am very proud to have helped so many people buy or sell a home and become part of a community. It is very satisfying.
WM: When you’ve achieved so much at such a high level in your industry, what drives you to press harder? You’ve got plenty of laurels you could be resting on.
NK: I am a big goal setter. When I partner with a seller to sell their home or work with a buyer to purchase one, I let them know that I am here to help them achieve their goal. We are partners from the beginning to the closing and beyond.
WM: Can you tell us a little about how you’ve seen the market in Westchester change in your tenure here?
NK: It is a completely different business. We did not have any technology tools — we didn’t have a Xerox machine let alone a computer. The new housing listings came daily in the mail; sometimes it came and sometimes it didn’t. You would find a house for a buyer on the weekend, Monday you would take them to the local bank and have them meet the branch manager who would ask them a few questions, shake hands, and agree to give them a mortgage.
The one thing that has not changed is the need to establish trust, be a good listener, and provide excellent service.
WM: The Nancy Kennedy Team is vertically integrated — every member has a role in every transaction. How did you go about building your core group?
NK: In the early 2000s I realized I needed a great assistant. I found her: Colleen Coxen. I didn’t know what I was going to pay her or exactly what she would do but we both agreed to take it one day at a time.
When she got overwhelmed, she said we needed to hire another team member. She hired her sister, Megan Coxen. Several years ago, their other sister, Erin Coxen, became our go-to real estate attorney. She is in our office several times a week. Two years ago, I hired Sindy Geiger as our full-time leads coordinator. Everyone has a role on the team, everyone can step in and pick up the ball on every transaction.
WM: What’s one thing you’d advise any first-time home buyers in Westchester?
NK: Work with a broker who understands your needs. Stick with that broker. You need a great guide to get you to the closing table.