A day in the life of a power real estate broker who sells penthouses worth millions

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Leonard Steinberg Compass Sarah Jacobs/Business Insider Leonard Steinberg inside a staged apartment at 100 East 53rd Street in Manhattan.

  • Leonard Steinberg is a New York City-based real estate broker and a president at Compass.
  • Working mostly with units inside luxury buildings, Steinberg has been responsible for over $3 billion in transactions throughout his career.
  • We followed Steinberg for a day to find out just what his work entails.

Compass President Leonard Steinberg has been responsible for more than $3 billion in transactions in his career as a real estate broker.

Luxury buildings are his specialty. His largest sale to date was on a Tribeca penthouse that sold for $43 million, and in 2009, he worked on the $32 million deal for Dolce & Gabbana designer Domenico Dolce's 11th Avenue penthouse.

Steinberg's move over to Compass - a real estate company that launched in 2013 and prioritizes data and technology - came as a surprise to many in the the industry. When he left Douglas Elliman, where he was the top agent for Downtown Manhattan, he told The Real Deal, "I like to feel like a bit of a maverick."

Earlier this month, we followed him around to see what a typical day in his life is like. Between countless meetings, apartment showings, phone calls, and marketing consultations, Steinberg keeps plenty busy.

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When I arrived at Steinberg's West Village apartment at 8:30 a.m., it was already an exciting morning. Compass had just announced that it had received the largest real estate tech investment in US history with a $450 million infusion from SoftBank. The investment valued Compass at $2.2 billion. Steinberg rushed over to the TV, where the company's cofounder and CEO, Robert Reffkin, was being interviewed on CNBC.

When I arrived at Steinberg's West Village apartment at 8:30 a.m., it was already an exciting morning. Compass had just announced that it had received the largest real estate tech investment in US history with a $450 million infusion from SoftBank. The investment valued Compass at $2.2 billion. Steinberg rushed over to the TV, where the company's cofounder and CEO, Robert Reffkin, was being interviewed on CNBC.

Source: Business Insider

Before heading into the office, Steinberg sent out his daily company-wide email, one that he's been writing since his first day with Compass. He uses it to deliver company news as well as unique insight into whatever's on his mind. Today's topic? Aging.

Before heading into the office, Steinberg sent out his daily company-wide email, one that he's been writing since his first day with Compass. He uses it to deliver company news as well as unique insight into whatever's on his mind. Today's topic? Aging.

Steinberg is originally from South Africa but has lived in Dallas and New York City during his 33 years in the US. Before his days in real estate, Steinberg worked in the fashion industry, and he still designs his own suits. On this day, he wore his very own all-white suite in honor of Compass' office holiday party, which was to be held later in the evening.

Steinberg is originally from South Africa but has lived in Dallas and New York City during his 33 years in the US. Before his days in real estate, Steinberg worked in the fashion industry, and he still designs his own suits. On this day, he wore his very own all-white suite in honor of Compass' office holiday party, which was to be held later in the evening.

Steinberg, a self-proclaimed "crazy cat person," has a rescue cat named Joan, who is his pride and joy.

Steinberg, a self-proclaimed "crazy cat person," has a rescue cat named Joan, who is his pride and joy.

The apartment building Steinberg lives in has also been home to celebrities such as Jon Bon Jovi and Ben Stiller.

The apartment building Steinberg lives in has also been home to celebrities such as Jon Bon Jovi and Ben Stiller.

Source: Curbed

It isn't Steinberg's only property. He's currently working on building a house upstate. Here, he shows me the model. "We want it to be simple," he said.

It isn't Steinberg's only property. He's currently working on building a house upstate. Here, he shows me the model. "We want it to be simple," he said.

We hopped in a Lyft and headed to the Compass offices. Located near Union Square, the office was buzzing with real estate agents from across the US, all there to network and have some fun at the holiday party later that night.

We hopped in a Lyft and headed to the Compass offices. Located near Union Square, the office was buzzing with real estate agents from across the US, all there to network and have some fun at the holiday party later that night.

Steinberg meets daily at 9:30 a.m. with various members of his team — including agents Hervé Senequier and Amy Mendizabal — to discuss updates on their listings. This morning, Mendizabal reported that a potential buyer of a $13.5 million penthouse would like to sit inside the property during rush hour to hear the noise levels. Steinberg, who knows the building well, was convinced it wouldn't be a problem.

Steinberg meets daily at 9:30 a.m. with various members of his team — including agents Hervé Senequier and Amy Mendizabal — to discuss updates on their listings. This morning, Mendizabal reported that a potential buyer of a $13.5 million penthouse would like to sit inside the property during rush hour to hear the noise levels. Steinberg, who knows the building well, was convinced it wouldn't be a problem.

Another topic of discussion was the new tax-reform bill, announced just days before. The team was already finding that potential buyers looking for properties within the $3 million to $10 million price range were a bit hesitant while the bill was still being negotiated.

Another topic of discussion was the new tax-reform bill, announced just days before. The team was already finding that potential buyers looking for properties within the $3 million to $10 million price range were a bit hesitant while the bill was still being negotiated.

After the meeting, Steinberg went to his desk. The Compass offices are arranged in an open layout, and Steinberg sits close to his team.

After the meeting, Steinberg went to his desk. The Compass offices are arranged in an open layout, and Steinberg sits close to his team.

Next up was a meeting with two Compass agents who are based in Naples, Florida. Getting face time with agents in other markets is a priority for Steinberg. During the meeting, he gave them advice for marketing their listings.

Next up was a meeting with two Compass agents who are based in Naples, Florida. Getting face time with agents in other markets is a priority for Steinberg. During the meeting, he gave them advice for marketing their listings.

Next, Steinberg rushed off to a showing. Even in the elevator, he checked his phone, never missing a beat.

Next, Steinberg rushed off to a showing. Even in the elevator, he checked his phone, never missing a beat.

Steinberg showed a potential buyer the penthouse at 12 East 13th Street, which has an asking price of $12.95 million.

Steinberg showed a potential buyer the penthouse at 12 East 13th Street, which has an asking price of $12.95 million.

While walking through the 5,704-square-foot apartment, Steinberg was sure to mention its few shortcomings. "You never want the client to leave a showing guessing what could potentially be wrong with a place," he said.

While walking through the 5,704-square-foot apartment, Steinberg was sure to mention its few shortcomings. "You never want the client to leave a showing guessing what could potentially be wrong with a place," he said.

He showed off the spacious bathroom first. The showing, in all, took a little under 20 minutes, which Steinberg noted is normal when working with a client who already knows what they want.

He showed off the spacious bathroom first. The showing, in all, took a little under 20 minutes, which Steinberg noted is normal when working with a client who already knows what they want.

For lunch, Steinberg made a quick stop inside one of his favorite spots, a veggie-oriented and gluten-free restaurant, Hu Kitchen.

For lunch, Steinberg made a quick stop inside one of his favorite spots, a veggie-oriented and gluten-free restaurant, Hu Kitchen.

After lunch, Steinberg rushed down to SoHo to meet with Noë & Associates, a branding agency that's helping with the promotion of One Beekman's penthouse, which is currently under construction. It's set to go on the market late in the spring of 2018.

After lunch, Steinberg rushed down to SoHo to meet with Noë & Associates, a branding agency that's helping with the promotion of One Beekman's penthouse, which is currently under construction. It's set to go on the market late in the spring of 2018.

During the one-hour meeting, the team analyzed the digital renderings of the building's exterior, making sure everything, from the color of the leaves on the trees to the blowing wind, looked realistic.

During the one-hour meeting, the team analyzed the digital renderings of the building's exterior, making sure everything, from the color of the leaves on the trees to the blowing wind, looked realistic.

From there, we hopped on the subway to head uptown to 100 East 53rd Street, a new development where Steinberg has a $65 million penthouse listing.

From there, we hopped on the subway to head uptown to 100 East 53rd Street, a new development where Steinberg has a $65 million penthouse listing.

That day, some Compass real estate agents, based in New York and elsewhere, were coming to view the 94-unit building in person for the first time. Here, Steinberg took a call inside a staged apartment.

That day, some Compass real estate agents, based in New York and elsewhere, were coming to view the 94-unit building in person for the first time. Here, Steinberg took a call inside a staged apartment.

When it comes to selling the $65 million penthouse inside, Steinberg is unfazed by the asking price. "There are certain people in our world who want the best in the world and can afford it, and we cater to them," he said.

When it comes to selling the $65 million penthouse inside, Steinberg is unfazed by the asking price. "There are certain people in our world who want the best in the world and can afford it, and we cater to them," he said.
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