Location: As of today, you have nearly 10 listings under $1 million, but none over $10 million.
Ms. Teplitzky: When we realized the market was going, we basically made a switch. The market started to be active in the under–$1 million range. … What we did is we made a conscious decision that we have to go where the market is. So we started to deal with buyers and sellers that were under $1 million, and basically increase volume.
Have you made as much money selling cheaper apartments?
Yes. But I’ll tell you one thing: We had to work literally 24/7. My team is exhausted. They’re all complaining. They’re overworked. And I completely agree with them, and I tell them there is no other way, unfortunately. Because in order to make the same amount of money that we were making the last two years, we basically had to double and triple the amount of apartments we were selling.
Did you set out to be a titan of the middle of the road? Are you happy dealing with real estate that’s less glamorous?
Thank God. We survived!
‘I see right now a much more stable market,’ you said in 2007. ‘A crazy market is much more dangerous.’ Why didn’t brokers foresee luxury real estate’s downfall?
Because I think in New York we are very spoiled. In New York we always say, ‘If something happens to the market, it’s not going to affect the luxury market, because those always people have money,’ that’s what we used to think. ‘Park Avenue people always have money, no matter what.’ Well, the world has changed. Also, what we didn’t take into consideration was: Who were the people in 2007 buying the lofts in Tribeca, or buying the new construction? They were not our parents’ age, they were basically our age! They were the new generation. Our parents were much more cautious. We spent more money; we traveled more; we spoiled our kids more; and we didn’t save. We were not as conservative as the previous generation. And that generation got caught with their pants down. It’s like, ‘O.K., what do we do now?’
Your biography on Elliman’s Web site begins with: ‘How do you spell LEGEND? Well, if you’re in real estate, it’s spelled J.A.C.K.Y.’ Why so much self-promotion?
When I started in real estate, nobody wanted to hire me. The company I presently work for didn’t even return my phone calls. The reason was, ‘Who do you know? Who are you? You are a nameless person; you didn’t go to college here; you don’t have any sphere of influence. Who are you going to sell apartments to?’ So it was very clear to me from the start that I had to work on two things—one was my skills, my professional skills, and one was to get my name out there. Because in New York, your name, your brand, works, you know? Trump works. Corcoran, Barbara Corcoran, works. That’s how we work in New York. New York is about labels. I buy Ralph Lauren. That’s what New Yorkers are about.
It was all about money. … I consciously wanted to create a brand, because I need to make money to provide for our family. My husband and I work both in real estate. We don’t have any additional income. So this is it. Also, we support my family in Chile. I have other responsibilities that most people do not have.
You were raised there before your family moved to Israel, where you were a drill sergeant. What did your parents do?
He basically was going to the outskirts of Santiago, buying cheese and sausages, but wholesale, and coming to Santiago and selling them to supermarkets and bodegas. My mother actually also worked, in a smaller scale, as a merchant. She was doing marmalade, but instead of big stores, she would go to people’s houses.
We’re eating her mora-berry marmalade right now. It’s excellent. Did you learn your salesmanship from your parents?
I think my father was a very good salesman but a very bad businessman. He was great in talking, and everybody continues loving him, but he made so many mistakes in his business life that it basically brought him down and down and down and down. … When we arrived in Israel, none of us spoke any Hebrew, and my father didn’t really have a profession.
In February 2008, Dolly Lenz, the massive mega-broker whom Dennis Kozlowski dubbed ‘Jaws,’ was named the top individual broker at Elliman, and you won the top group award. You were openly upset about not being named the top overall broker, even hinting you might quit. What happened?
They suddenly changed the rules. I’m all about ethics, and I’m all about being straightforward, honest, cards on the table. If you tell me the game is played one way, I play the game. If you change the rules in the middle of the game, then I really get very, very upset. Until that day, there were no ‘groups’ and ‘individual’ winners.