Learn how this New York City agent and vintage car enthusiast moved to the U.S. on her own at 17 and, through hard work and determination, built a life and a real estate career to be proud of.

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In this column, real estate agents across the nation share stories of the lessons they’ve learned during their time in the industry.

Offering a true global perspective, New York City luxury real estate agent Olga Reindlova Neulist offers insight and understanding from international clients, as well as the business leaders, public figures and entertainment industry icons who number among her clientele. A native of the Czech Republic, and an agent with Sotheby’s International Realty since 1982, Neulist prides herself on her “honesty, integrity, tenacity and patience.”

Find out how Neulist built her business from the ground up and find out why, as a real estate agent, she knows she’s an important part of her clients’ lives.

Name: Olga Reindlova Neulist

Title: Senior global real estate advisor, associate broker

Experience: 42+ years

Location: New York City

Brokerage name: Sotheby’s International Realty

How did you get your start in real estate?

At the time, my husband was in real estate. I realized I had an interest in the field and the rest is history.

I love what I do for a living, from meeting new and interesting people to working with loyal clients who become close friends. These friends then refer you to their family and colleagues, and that is how you build your business.

Also, who wouldn’t like to see beautiful homes all day? It is a pleasure to work with people and find them a home that they’re equally excited about. Ultimately, you’re a very important part of their lives.

What do you wish more people knew about working in real estate?

The business is not as easy as it may seem. Sometimes it takes years to get the deal done. You must have patience and knowledge and know that everything you see on TV isn’t the case.

While there are people with infinite budgets, there is a lot of work that goes into the sale. You do not simply turn the key and sell the home. You have to wear many hats in this business and be prepared to educate your buyers and arm them with the knowledge to know everything about the home they’re viewing and potentially buying.

The more you know, the better off you are. Also, the deal is not finished when the contract is signed. That’s when the hard part starts.

What’s something you know now that you wish you knew when you started?

It is very important to socialize and put yourself out there as much as possible. I wish I had done more socializing when I first started in the business. You truly never know who you will meet or what a serendipitous meeting could lead to.

Tell us about a high point in your career

Every single time I find a home for a client, and they’re happy, I’m happy. The search, the challenges and the reward of finding a home is a process that never gets old.

Tell us about an epic fail you’ve experienced in real estate

When sellers don’t listen to your professional opinion on how to price a home, it never works out. You enlist a professional for a reason; listen to their expert opinion, and have a plan of action to implement it.

What’s your top tip for freshly licensed agents?

Do more listening than talking.

Name someone you admire

I give myself credit for taking a leap of faith and moving to this country from Czechoslovakia at the age of 17 on my own. I worked very hard my whole life and I’m proud of my career and life accomplishments.

What makes a good leader?

A good leader must lead by example. Be a good listener and communicator. Inspire and motivate others to take the time to teach others, and be a mentor when you can.

What’s one thing you wish every agent knew?

Be respectful to your fellow brokers; you never know when you will need them.

Also, have balance. I always raced vintage cars on the weekends when I wasn’t selling real estate. It was my other passion, and it was a fabulous outlet for me to drive beautiful cars and meet interesting people along the way. Create time and space for all of the things you love.

Do you want to be featured in an upcoming “Lesson Learned” column? Reach out to us here.

Christy Murdock is a freelance writer, coach and consultant and the owner of Writing Real Estate. Connect with Writing Real Estate on Instagram and subscribe to the weekly roundup, The Ketchup.

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