Chilean-born Jacky Teplitzky knows Spanish, Hebrew, French and English, and she also knows real estate. The Wall Street Journal ranked her team with Prudential Douglas Elliman among the top 50 teams the U.S. in 2010. She’s sold a billion dollars worth of real estate in New York City and starting this year, she’s trying to replicate that herself in Miami. She travels back and forth between the two cities, because it’s all about her clients’ individual needs.
One of Teplitzky’s trademarks is that she’s an expert dealing with South American buyers. She says because of her international background, working for many years in tourism and living in Chile and then in Israel for 20 years, she always wanted to have the niche in the South American market.
“I wanted to go there — not only to meet with prospects, but I also sold real estate down there,” says the successful broker. “I educated myself.”
She says she would think, “If a Brazilian wants to buy in Rio, how do they buy there?” Same thing in Chile and Argentina. She wanted to understand how they do business and what their state of mind is when they come to the U.S.
For example, in Chile, she says the commission is paid by the buyer and the seller, while in the U.S. it’s paid by the seller; before they come here, a lot of people calculate that they have to pay another figure on top of the purchase price, because that’s how it is in their country. Also, in most of South American countries, when you purchase real estate, you go to a notary, not an attorney like in the states.
“As the broker, if you understand those things, you explain to them ahead of time,” says Teplitzky about her clients. “A lot of people will take advantage of them.”
She says for her it’s not just about signing the contract; the client’s concerns comes first.
“I put them in contact with experts, even before they take the plane here,” says Teplitzky. “The laws are very different in NY and Miami. In their own countries, usually regulations are the same, but here, states have different regulations.”
Because her business is one which grows mainly by referrals, she says taking the time to research the best homes for each specific client pays off.
“I build my business so it’s all about how it will suit the client for the long-term, and then they refer me to others,” she says. “One of the problems of the industry is a lot of realtors don’t look at the interest of the client but more at their own pockets.”
Teplitzky still resides in NY, but she just started doing business in Miami 10 months ago, which she calls “the capital of South America.”
“Most of my clients are from South America, and I’ve been getting many inquiries,” says Teplitzky as to what urged her to become licensed in Florida, which she says is much more difficult. “After the credit crisis with [the] real estate market, they really tried to weed out people who should not be in the trade.”
She also says what helped her tremendously to move up in real estate is forecasting herself.
“You have to ask yourself where do you want to be in the next 5 to 10 years,” she says in order to plan a successful business strategy. “What I try to do is get my name out there — so I hired a publicist. Everyone thought I was insane — I hadn’t even sold anything, but I said, ‘If you don’t invest in your business, how are you going to get ahead?’”
The driven mom of two teenagers also says to make sure you have a group of experts around you – because you can’t know everything. She says she just hired someone to work for her in Miami, because in the upcoming five weeks, she has to go there four times.
“But I’m enjoying every minute,” says Teplitzky, who is now in the process of hiring more people for her team, and making sure they understand her mantra. “It’s not about speaking the language but understanding the different cultures.”
She says her ultimate goal is to be the Suze Orman of real estate.
“You have to nurture the next generation following you,” says the member of various mentoring organization. “I don’t want to people to say at my eulogy that Jacky was a successful broker, I want them to say I helped groom women to go into business.”