New York’s real estate market was among the many industries hit hard in 2020. But, for one team of Brooklyn-based realtors, the need for innovation presented their business with a unique opportunity to do what they’d already hoped to do best.
“We wanted to bring a better buying and selling experience to historically underserved markets,” said Louis Belisario, a Marine Park native with ties to other southern Brooklyn nabes.
Two years ago, Belisario joined forces with fellow New York City power brokers Joe Cruz and Jeff Reyngach to create the Belisario Cruz Reyn Team at Compass, a “new, younger, forward-thinking” real estate brokerage that utilizes both online and in-person relationships to make its listings shine.
“I’m from Marine Park, Jeff is from Manhattan Beach, Joe is from Bushwick — we’re all born and raised Brooklynites. Our team is comprised of every walk of life from every neighborhood, so we pride ourselves on being able to serve all of Brooklyn, not just one area of Brooklyn,” Balisario said.
They’re also fluent in six languages (English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Hebrew and Persian).
“Brooklyn’s running through our veins, basically.”
That team, which boasts more than 100 years of combined experience and more than 40,000 combined social media followers, shies away from traditional means of buying and selling, Belisario explained, choosing to work with other brokers as opposed to limiting opportunities for clients, while taking advantage of the “digital age” to make buying and selling as easy and comfortable as possible — even in a global pandemic.
“We saw an opportunity in southern Brooklyn and western Brooklyn, from Bay Ridge to East New York and everywhere in between, that the old way of doing real estate needed to change,” Belisario told Brooklyn Paper. “It’s no longer putting a sign in front of your house and calling it a day.”
Marketing-wise, Belisario’s team at Compass spends thousands of dollars on photos and floorplans – “like anyone else,” he said — but they also focus heavily on high-quality video, and making sure even the humblest of units are given the proper spotlight.
“We wanted to make sure that the same level of service that’s given to a high-end brownstone or condo in Brooklyn Heights is given to a two-bedroom co-op in Sheepshead Bay, or a mansion in Mill Basin,” the Brooklyn broker said. “We think everyone deserves the same level of service, marketing and exposure — that’s where our success has come from.”
The team has closed more than $100 million in transactions in the last year, with 400 transactions year-to-date, which isn’t an easy feat with many buyers and sellers still locked down, and living changed day-to-days in the continued coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ve used video for a long time but I think the pandemic put videos on steroids,” Belisario said, stressing that so many homebuyers and sellers are still looking to virtual tours instead of in-person. “We make sure our video — your video — looks better than everyone else’s.”
“We also work fairly with the entire brokerage community — whether you’re in Manhattan or Mill Basin, we’ll work with you,” Belisario added. “We’re not gonna block any brokers out from selling your house.”
That co-broking spirit, he said, is something not many other firms possess.
“That’s a tremendous asset for a seller, especially when most brokers in South Brooklyn don’t do that,” he said. “We encourage it. The more eyes on your property, the better.”
While the last two years have certainly served Compass some challenges, Belisario said, it’s because of the Belisario Cruz Reyn Team’s camaraderie and dedication that they made it through.
“The pandemic wasn’t easy at all but, at the same time, once we sort of started to get out of it, the market was on fire — and it continues to be on fire,” he said, “and I think how well we’ve done is a testament to our team, to working hard, and to not being afraid to get back to work.”
The pandemic and its devastation also served as motivation for the team, Belisario said, to treat every day like a new opportunity.
“We’re more motivated than ever before — as are a lot of people — because when you go through something like that, you realize that life is short,” he said. “You only have one life to live, so live it to the fullest and work as hard as you possibly can.”