When you’ve worked at a top talent agency and have done editing in Hollywood, it’s hard not to be creative. Just ask Jason Winokur.
Before breaking into commercial real estate, Winokur, vice president of J.H. Winokur, Inc., a boutique real estate firm in White Plains, worked in the literary department at Creative Artists Agency, where he sold the film and television rights to novels, screenplays, and life stories. Not only did that experience give him the ideal opportunity to flex his creative muscles, it also helped him grow more comfortable in effectively dealing with other creative types. “Working with creative people and celebrities gave me the background to be even-keeled when navigating difficult situations,” says Winokur, who sold more than 450,000 square feet last year.
Of course, difficult situations can percolate in commercial real estate, as well. “In the entertainment industry, with so many ‘unique’ personalities, the unexpected often occurs, so I’m well prepared to quickly adapt and come up with creative solutions to challenges like an unraveling deal,” he says.
In cases like that, Winokur has the ability to become almost myopic. “It’s essential to keep buyers and sellers focused on their end-game goals and not on how they personally might feel about one or more of the parties involved,” says Winokur. The industry, he maintains, is rife with challenges, but keeping things together and everyone satisfied is in his broad wheelhouse.
And that “everyone” includes clients with whom he’s already completed a transaction. For example, a property he sold turned out to have a roof issue. Instead of walking away, figuring his role in the deal was done, Winokur made sure the new owner got $3,000 of his money back, six months after the closing. “Not all brokers would have still been involved in that. It’s a matter of having the patience and sense of responsibility to follow through after a deal’s done and maintaining a relationship in a relationship-based business.”