For the latest interview in our series, we had the pleasure of talking to a very interesting and dynamic real estate duo: Augusto Bittencourt and Jared Barnett from Town Residential. Both had previously worked in different industries and found common ground in the competitive Manhattan real estate market.
They shared with us how they spend a usual day at work – sometimes showing multi-million dollar properties, other times at their office where they are lucky to have a great support system.
We also wanted to hear what they had to say about the state of Manhattan’s real estate market at the beginning of this year, as well as their predictions for what the rest of the year has in store for buyers and sellers.
The two noted that there is an increased focus on sustainability as developers become more and more environmentally conscious. As for Manhattan’s real estate market, the start of the year brought with it sellers and buyers that are more reserved due to the recent tax reform changes and an anticipated increase in interest rates.
Read on for more insights and info on two of the listings they are currently representing.
Q: You both have interesting backgrounds. Tell us a little bit about them and why you chose a career in real estate.
Jared: I started my career as a stylist for Prada in both the Beverly Hills and New York flagship stores. While there, I worked with a large range of highly successful clientele, from celebrities to international corporate executives, which motivated me at a young age. I loved working in high-end fashion, but my true interest was real estate—particularly in New York City. One of my clients at Prada was a top NYC real estate agent at Douglas Elliman who brought me on as a team member. It ended up being a golden opportunity for me as I spent my first 3 years in the business mentoring under one of NYC’s most successful brokers.
Augusto: My career began as a child actor and model in Brazil working on soap operas and other TV shows. I then found a passion for musical theater and, among others, performed in shows such as Les Misérables and Chicago in both Brazil and New York City. I was very fortunate to work on many amazing projects alongside notable actors and directors. But being an actor is a rollercoaster ride and, after a 25-year career in the entertainment industry, I was ready to find something that offered stability. Many of my friends, particularly in Brazil, were buying properties in New York and they would ask me if I knew an agent I trusted. That’s when it clicked, and I decided to pair up with Jared at Town Residential who had both the experience and success to guide me through every step of the way.
Q: What do you love most about your job? Can you maybe briefly describe a typical day at work for you?
Besides our passion for architecture and design, we love to see how happy our clients are after we close on their new home. They all work very hard to be able to purchase a New York City residence, so when we help them achieve their goals and find their dream home it’s a very rewarding feeling.
As far as a typical day for us, a large portion of our time is spent showing our clients incredible properties. Being in NYC, we show multimillion dollar properties in buildings designed by world-renowned architects which adds a lot of excitement to our job. When not showing properties, we work in our office with Town Residential at Astor Place. While there is the glamorous side of NYC real estate, a lot of hard work is involved to become successful and we are fortunate to have a great support system with our company.
Q: What is your approach when working with clients?
We both have a similar approach with all our clients, which is one of the reasons we work so well together as a team. For us, it’s essential to build a relationship and rapport with our clients and gain their trust. This, coupled with our experience and knowledge, leads to successful results. It is for these reasons that the vast majority of our business is from repeat clients and referrals.
Q: Can you tell us a bit more about the Chelsea penthouse you’re currently representing?
Our penthouse listing at 456 West 19th St is one of the most amazing apartments in NYC. The home has an extraordinary living room with 20 ft high ceilings and two walls of floor-to-ceiling casement windows. It’s a large apartment with over 3,500 sf of combined indoor and outdoor space spanning three levels. The two terraces, in addition to the private roof deck, offer sweeping, unobstructed city views. This extravagant space is prime for luxury living and entertaining guests.
Q: Can you tell us a bit more about the Greenwich Village co-op you’re currently representing?
Apartment 17C at 11 Fifth Avenue boasts a new high-end renovation and just went on the market. The owner configured this 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment to create a modern, open layout with a large corner terrace perfectly integrated off the living area making indoor/outdoor living seamless. The home features three unique exposures: a northern view of the Empire State building, a western view of the Hudson River, and a southern view of Washington Square Park.
Q: What trends have you noticed in the Manhattan luxury market during the first months of 2018? Where do you see the market heading for the rest of the year?
One of the prominent trends we are seeing in 2018 is a focus on sustainability. Developers are becoming environmentally conscious creating highly efficient, healthy, and eco-friendly LEED certified buildings. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the most highly regarded and widely used green building rating system in the world.
Regarding where the market is heading in 2018, the first quarter experienced some hesitation from buyers trying to understand the new tax reforms and how it might impact their purchase. Paired with the anticipation of a possible increase in interest rates, some are being more reserved in their real estate decisions. Nevertheless, we expect underlying demand will remain strong as 2017 was the best year for wage growth and the highest bonus season since the recession.
Q: What goals do you have for 2018?
While there are uncertainties going into 2018, we are committed to staying focused on our clients and helping them smartly navigate today’s market to achieve their real estate goals. As our business continues to grow, we will be expanding our team and bring on additional agents who embody our core philosophy.
About Augusto Bittencourt
After a 20-year run in the entertainment industry, Augusto Bittencourt has turned his talents and skills to New York real estate. Augusto has quickly become a respected agent delivering in-depth market knowledge and top-notch, customer-centered service to every interaction.
About Jared Barnett
Jared is an accomplished real estate professional who believes it is important to develop a relationship with a client that goes beyond business. He has built his reputation in the industry based on honesty and integrity and works hard for his client’s needs as if they were his own. Whether he is working on a $500,000 studio or a $15 million penthouse, he provides a 100% full-service, above-and-beyond approach to every client.