Houlihan Lawrence’s 1 percenters

Houlihan Lawrence (HL) remains the market leader in the sale of single-family homes in Westchester, capturing nearly 38 percent of the market while in Fairfield, a market that HL entered a little over a year ago, the brokerage firm “catapulted to the number two spot, an amazing accomplishment in such a short time,” says Gay Prizio, director of project marketing.

The 900 sales associates in both counties accounted for HL’s record performance. But as in all walks of life, there were only a handful that had the distinction of being the firm’s top producers, the 1 percent of agents worthy of the title “power brokers.” Featured here are six of them – three each from Westchester and Fairfield – whose performances exceeded the norm and along the way earned them lucrative, commission-based incomes.

Looking back over their distinguished careers, none imagined that one day they would be ranked a power broker or ever gave it a thought along the way.

“When I started in the business, I was 24 years old and everyone told me I wouldn’t make it,” Nancy Kennedy recalls. “I worked diligently to learn everything and I continue to look for ways to improve myself on a daily basis.”

“I was so in awe of the dynamic top agents 28 years ago that I never imagined myself as one of them,” Barbara Wells remembers. “Helping clients find or sell their dream home gives me great satisfaction.”

“I hadn’t considered myself a power broker before,” Pollena Forsman says, adding that her success stems from a strong business background. She previously served as one of the youngest account management partners at J. Walter Thompson Advertising. It’s where she developed strong marketing, sales, negotiating and people skills.

“There was no imagining,” Brian Milton says.

quality as well as a degree in business marketing.” Both would suit him well when he perceived a need to assist buyers and sellers of luxury properties in Westchester and Fairfield.

Ellen Mosher believes that her success “was a result of actually loving what I do.”

BK Bates thinks luck played a big factor. “I have been very lucky in the friends I have made throughout my career in real estate and having very good clients and wonderful properties throughout Greenwich to represent.”

But there is a quality all six have in common that has driven them to become power brokers – passion. Each says it differently but it adds up to the same fire in the belly that shows no signs of abating.

Forsman:  “I have always tried to approach everything I do at 110 percent. I also have a competitive drive that dates back to my swimming days.”

Bates:  “Buying a home is such a big and personal event in a person’s life that I try to be as honest, friendly and as professionally thorough as possible

Milton: “Uncompromising professionalism, working relentlessly, dogged drive for success and my gift of actively listening to clients.”

Kennedy: “I am driven and have a very strong moral compass. Nothing makes me happier than achieving my clients’ goals.”

Mosher:   “I have always worked hard for my client, been honest and gone the extra mile.”

Wells: “My first mentor taught me that we need to service our clients whether we made money or not. Hard work and many years committed to helping clients find their dream home has helped me to achieve great success along with gray hair.”

Their biographies also share this common theme: They are long-term residents and pillars in their communities, members of local professional and civic organizations who know the ins and outs of their hometowns and stand out along with their families. Mosher summed it up best when she noted, “For buyers, there is a lot of inventory to sort through, but if you have a Realtor who knows the community like the back of your hand, the process is a lot easier.”

Take a good look at the faces of these power brokers and the luxury listings they either sold or no doubt will sell soon. They are truly walking encyclopedias of Westchester and Fairfield where they have assisted thousands of homebuyers and sellers over the years:

Pollena Forsman (Rye, Harrison, Purchase, New Rochelle, Mamaroneck and Larchmont) – Since 2010, she has been the number one agent in Larchmont/Mamaroneck and her recent sales volume has been $60 million-plus per year. She has sold more than 340 properties in 18 years.

Nancy Kennedy (Yorktown, Garrison, Peekskill, Ossining, Cortlandt, Croton-on-Hudson, Briarcliff Manor) – For seven consecutive years since 2006, she has been HL’s number one associate for the most number of transactions company-wide. In a career spanning 28 years, she has sold more than 1,100 properties.

Brian Milton (Katonah, Armonk, Chappaqua, Bedford, Mount Kisco, Pleasantville and Greenwich, including Old Greenwich and Riverside)– Milton enjoys the distinction of being the only agent to focus on the luxury market in both counties successfully and was HL’s number four agent in 2013. This year, he is projected to close on $90 million in transactions, including an $8.7 million property in Armonk (shown with this article) and a $15.85 million property in Greenwich. He entered the profession 10 years ago.

BK Bates (Greenwich,  including Cos Cob, Old Greenwich and Riverside) – She has consistently been ranked as one of the top producing real estate agents in Greenwich and has been among the nation’s top 250 agents ranked by The Wall Street Journal and Real Trends, the real estate consulting and communications company, for the past two years. She has sold hundreds of properties, primarily in Connecticut, over the past 38 years.

Barbara Wells (Greenwich, including Old Greenwich, Riverside and Cos Cob) – During her 28-year career, she has sold more than a billion dollars in real estate and was ranked number one within the state of Connecticut and number 10 out of 68,000 nationwide at her previous company.

Ellen Mosher (Greenwich, including Old Greenwich, Cos Cob and Riverside) – Consistently ranked among the top five producing agents in Greenwich, Mosher has also been recognized by The Wall Street Journal and Real Trends four years in a row as one of the top 250 real estate agents in the nation. She has sold more than 200 properties to date.

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