Fredrik Eklund, real estate broker at Douglas Elliman and star of Bravo TV’s Million Dollar Listing, takes on his first project in Westchester with the new Greystone-on-Hudson development. Here’s what he has to say about his life, his work, and making a move to our area.
Q: Why Greystone-on-Hudson and why Westchester now?
A: I’m very hands-on and creative in the sense that [I] share the vision of something beautiful being built and then I market it and sell it to the future buyer before it’s even built. So when I heard of this particular project, it was the size of the mansions, the gated community, lots of green landscape, [the fact] that you won’t see your neighbors but still have a sense of community, the history—look at the castles around and the big names of the wealthy old families that used to live there—and it just felt like something really new and fresh.
The first time we drove through the gate and I got to see it with my own eyes, I was just blown away. I’m even considering buying here. It’s amazing.
Q: Who is the perfect buyer for a house in Greystone-on-Hudson?
A: Anything over 10,000 square feet in Manhattan is considered a bigger mansion, but these houses can be up to 20,000 square feet, so it’s a whole different world, and then you also have acres of land outside. And because it’s so close [to the city], only 25 minutes away, it’s a really good alternative for anyone looking to live large, so I definitely think people in NYC. There will also be people from the West Coast and some international [clients], but people from NYC who want space, privacy, something super-high-end and rich-looking, and [who] don’t mind the drive, the train, or helicopter ride, like myself, will really enjoy it.
Q: You are known for throwing over-the-top parties to market your properties. What plans do you have for Greystone-on-Hudson?
A: We did a big party in November in a very historic environment in NYC. I don’t ever want to be gimmicky. I want to be truthful with the identity or history of any project, and it was easy in this case, because it has so much authentic history to play off of at a big, lavish party. [Having it in NYC], I can get the attention of all 2,000 real estate agents in Manhattan, along with wealthy buyers locally, nationally, and internationally.
Q: What is your top tip for buyers in today’s market?
A: Maybe the brokers don’t like me saying this, but I think it’s important to take your time. It’s hard sometimes, especially in a market like this, where you’re being pushed left and right to make a decision within an hour or in five minutes, or it’s going to go. This is a big decision, and my No. 1 tip is to always go back at a different time of day and ask the broker to leave for like half an hour or at least go into another room. Then close the doors, sit down on the sofa, and just be quiet and take in the energy, because ultimately that’s how you’re going to live there. If [the house] goes, then the space wasn’t for you anyway.
A rendering of the next mansion being built at Greystone-on-Hudson.
Q: What is your best piece of advice for sellers?
A: Declutter! That’s a very basic tip, but no one ever really does it, which is why stagers are very important. Selling a [home] is obviously not about you anymore, it’s about the buyers, and because we don’t know whom the buyer is yet, we need to make it beautiful for everyone. I tell my sellers to move out of their places. Start packing, put all the boxes on the floor, pretend you’re moving out, and halfway through the packing process is kind of how I want it.
Take a look at your kitchen counter or bathroom vanity. I looked at mine this morning, and there’s a lot of stuff there.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being on Million Dollar Listing?
A: I like the format, because I’m allowed to be me. When the cameras aren’t there, I’m personal. With thirtysomething thousand real estate agents, it’s all about being remembered and being authentic and building a trust with people. I’ve been humiliated. I’ve cried. I’ve done all sorts of things to let my guard down [on the show], but when I’m one with me, that’s when the viewer really loves me and that’s when I get more business. It’s a reality show, yes, but it’s not only that.
Q: You’ve worked with a lot of celebrities, but do you have a dream client?
A: I work with a lot of them now, but for this project, I think the Obamas should really buy one of these [houses]. They need privacy, they need security, they need a lot of square feet, and they have guests coming and going. I’ve already picked out a 40-acre lot with beautiful views of the Hudson River and all the castles around the property. And Michelle is a big fan of mine! I’ve heard from people who are close to the family that she loves the show, and she does high kicks in the White House and goes “Whee!”
Q: What’s next for you?
A: This project is very exciting, and I’m taking over a big portfolio in the Hamptons, which is $25 million and up. I have a lot coming in Manhattan, which is roaring right now. I feel very blessed to be a part of all of these amazing projects.