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Meet Malcolm Louis Adams, from Brooklyn, New York, an Associate Broker with Compass. He knows his turf and the neighborhood well and enjoys sharing his insights and experiences with clients to help them find suitable homes. Initially having dabbled in real estate as an investor, Malcolm became a full time agent after working in Design and Art Direction for decades. He has excelled as a savvy real estate buyer, seller, investor, consultant, and broker in the New York City area, focusing on the Brooklyn market.

Real estate career path from Art director to Agent

As a former marketing and advertising professional for over 24 years, Malcolm's keen eye for design, creative thinking, problem solving, and strong business acumen has helped him make a mark on the real estate industry. Here are some tips from Malcolm Louis Adam's real estate career path for you to succeed in the industry:

For the people who don’t know you, tell us a bit of yourself and how you got into real estate.

I am a native of Brooklyn, NY, “Malcolm from Breuckelen, born and raised in Bushwick, currently living in Bedford-Stuyvesant with my wife and two sons. I know my turf and the neighborhoods very well and enjoy sharing my insights with clients to help them find suitable homes and investments.

I graduated from Pratt Institute in Clinton Hill, and I received a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts (Communications Design). I also served in the U.S. Marine Corp. as a Wire Communication Sergeant and am a decorated veteran of the Gulf War.

Presently I am an associate broker at Compass, Brooklyn, New York. I am a creative person and also very ambitious.

What drives you in this profession?

Previously, I was an art director and graphic designer, and I also did marketing for power brands. I also had a design business on the other side. From these, I rolled my money for my real estate investments. My wife and I gradually started to have a couple of buildings and centers, and slowly I fell in love with this business. I then had my personal, Professional, Spiritual, Creative, and Financial Freedom. I feel it’s an incredible merger of being creative and making money. There is always room for creativity and taking up creative marketing by staging and properties, and I love this aspect of the business.

If you were to go back to the beginning of your real estate career, what would you do differently knowing what you do today?

I would have started it earlier. One needs to be very patient and good with money because you get a lot of deals in one month and for the other there is none. I would have committed to the business full time, ALL-IN from the beginning. I keep my full-time staff employment’s  "umbilical cord" for way too long. I would have taken a leap of faith earlier, maybe almost ten years ago, and I would have been so much further by now.

What do you think are the top 3 skills an agent needs to have?

Discipline, Focus, and Passion for the Business. You have to be passionate about the work since there is so much work every day and as if there is a rebirth each day. So if you don't love the business, it won’t last. You need to work hard since it is so competitive and needs to address the market. You need to work well with others since you have to work with many networks like lawyers banks, so one needs to have a tremendous collaborative mindset to get things done and put them on.

How much does marketing matter in building a real estate practice? What are your go-to marketing tools?

Marketing is the whole game in real estate. Once you have the listing, one needs to put them in the market, and get the targeted audiences for that, and thus the effective marketing tool is the targeting of the buyers, according to their requirements. Every agent has the internet; all real estate tools are available. The only thing that separates you from the crowd is your ability to earn the potential client's attention. Afterward, it's your skill, intelligence, and customer service that keeps them.
How do you stay on top of mind with your existing and former client base? Any engagement tactics you can share?

I use all the standard tools to stay in touch with my clients, email, text, and phone calls, but what is effective for me is connecting with them via social media—like, replying to people’s DMs, liking, and commenting on their photos, and posts. Since I am presently at Compass, a tech-aided company, we make videos and blogs. I use all platforms, like LinkedIn, Instagram and I prefer sticking to Facebook. I am active in all the media, and I check all of my followers and make sure whoever’s birthday is, I wish them personally.

That way, I can relate to people unrelated to real estate; I try to create a genuine personal bond via social media. At the same time, I love to use the old tools of calling people and love to hear their voices and reflections when communicating. Especially when many clients are from my sphere and know me well, thus connecting with them over a call is excellent. Don't just call people for selling, but interact with them and ask how they are doing. And this is the most important thing for anybody, no matter what technological aids one uses. I visit many homes, try to be valuable and helpful to the communities, and attend a lot of events. Gradually, they understand and connect to you and trust you by providing with business. And these are all the different touch points I use for communicating with my clients.


Who’s your favorite kind of client? Do you instinctively know who is worth spending your time on?

It’s a communication business, where somebody need not be the best client, and maybe you get your favorite clients tomorrow. So I don't usually dismiss any clients, and I work with everybody, no matter their budget and requirements. I prefer to work with sellers, mainly in Brooklyn and Queens, New York; I do as long I have the license to help them. But ideally, I look to work with sellers who own a home and help them sell them. I want to have the listings, and generally, I like to be the seller’s agent. I  don’t work with people who are pre-qualified to buy.  

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in this business? How did you overcome it?

Initially, it was tough for me to manage with my art directing job and managing real estate simultaneously. Overall it was a long journey for me to transcend to real estate as a full-time job, all in,  and to be fully committed. It took me a long time, and to be honest, the pandemic pushed me towards it. And achieving myself in this business has been the best decision till now. These last two years have been the most successful years of my past career, and I can see a great future ahead.   I'm working hard to solicit more $2.25M and higher sellers. I have just to keep grinding. To sustain myself, I have always kept confidence in myself.

What are your thoughts on virtual showings, virtual staging, and other incumbent technologies in real estate?
I love virtual staging, and I use it every chance that I can. Most buyers can not visualize a space without virtual staging; it is necessary for my business now. I also use it to plan my furniture purchasing and real-life stage. Although I am a tech-head, and I have been using computers and codings designing since I was a kid, it looked like magic to me when I first used virtual staging. Since we target audiences, this helps make the properties more appealing; at the same time, if I am using it at a different platform for marketing for an additional buyer, it can help me stage the same room for the other buyer.

I love the fact that it has an entirely different emotional projection. Using the templates provided on your website, I can design exactly how I like and help me stage an apartment multiple times. The 36o-degree tours through the home are beneficial for scaling. I use virtual staging to sell properties, but for my personal space, so that I know which furniture to buy! Thus it is an intrinsic part of my business.

I love the service that Styldod is providing, it's magical and amazing. You people can furnish a room according to my specifications and give life to my creativity. It’s stunning how your services can create one room into different looks for different platforms and clients. I love how we work at random, so you have these great templates and it’s so easy to customize. I love how the timings are different, at night you people work, and when I wake up here, it’s already done and presented, such fast responses, sometimes even within a day or two. Definitely very easy to work with.

How has COVID-19 impacted real estate and the way you do your business?

COVID-19 has been horrible for everyone, especially for the unfortunate ones who have gotten sick and died from this terrible virus. However, with that said, the pandemic has necessitated a lot of consumer movement in the market, and this activity has increased my business 2X over the past two years. Since my wife and I both decided to leave our jobs, there was instability due to unemployment, but It was my ability to pivot the situation by being in this entire time, and probably I was the busiest during those times. In those times, there were people, who moved from their cities, so there were a lot of clients and listings to handle also there were owners who have left their city and wanted their properties to get managed. So although; a lot of business cracked down, my business was going incredibly well. So for me, it was personally a blessing in disguise.

Real estate isn’t a 9-5 job. So how do you balance your personal and professional life?

I have no work/life balance. I work all the time; it is what I love to do. I am pretty obsessed with being successful in this business. However, to be as successful as I hope to be one day, I must outwork my competition. My family understands me, and when I'm with them, I make the best of our time together. I work when I need to work; simultaneously, I engage with my family entirely.

What advice would you give aspiring/ upcoming agents?

NAR reports that 87% of all new agents fail after five years in the industry, so If you genuinely want to succeed in this business, you must embrace the grind!

When you watch real estate shows on TV, you might think that the real estate business is accessible. That all of the agents are just having fun, popping champagne, and making money while closing a million-dollar condo sale by the end of the 60-minute episode. The fact of the matter is that this business is a real grind. A listing did not sell for every successful closing, and you lost money.

There is the stress of problem-solving while calming the client and nudging the lawyers and title company towards the closing. It’s hard entrepreneurial work–you must be the ultimate self-starter. You must passionately maximize your successes and manage your disappointments. That’s why I love it.

Anything else that you would like to add?

I believe that real estate is an excellent investment because you can enjoy an incredible rate of return, you can exploit the fantastic tax advantages, and you can leverage real estate equity to build wealth. In addition, real estate provides better returns than the stock market and without the crazy volatility. It is a tangible value asset, which gives me comfort because I love to touch and feel my investments.

An ambitious professional, Malcolm Louis Adams is highly dedicated to his client’s needs and offers personalized services in a competitive market. We hope his tips from his real estate career path and insights help your journey in the industry.

Wish to read more such insightful interviews? Click here to read Southern Californean real estate super star Bryan Casella's interview. Want to try out Styldod? Click here for a free trial.

Styldod is a design-tech company that aims to simplify real estate marketing and help agents present homes in their most favorable light online by reimagining and automating the listing photography process. Having begun as a virtual staging company, today, Styldod has affordable and best-in-class products and services for every facet of real estate marketing and photography. Styldod’s suite of services includes virtual staging, image enhancements, floor plans, virtual renovation, 3D renders, 360-degree virtual tours, and Matterport virtual staging, to name a few. We're trusted by over 10,000 realtors from all over the US and from companies like ReMax, Coldwell Banker, Keller Williams. Learn more about us at https://www.styldod.com.

Sanchita Saha

Sanchita is a writer with a curious mind. A Sociology graduate, she uses her constructive ideas combined with her experiences to write content that is credible and worth reading.

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