Whether in Westchester County or New York City, Paul Sarlo aims to achieve one thing above all else – to make the real estate process a pleasant one. Paul has been in sales all his life and began his real estate career in 2005 to help people start their next chapter of life with the perfect home. Whether you are buying, selling, or renting, moving up, or sizing down, Paul can help you with the transition.
Born and raised in New York City, Paul moved to Westchester County in 1986 and circled back to NYC in 2013. He specializes in Scarsdale, White Plains, and Westchester County neighborhoods as well as luxury condos in NYC. We recently sat down with Paul to learn about his real estate journey thus far, his predictions for the Westchester market, and what career advice he would share with new agents. Read all about Paul in our Q&A below.
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you become a real estate agent?
In 2005, I decided to leave my sales role at the family business that I had been working in for the past 17 years. I knew I needed a change of pace and I had always liked real estate. I had also previously bought and sold a number of homes and thought to myself “I can do that”! In the real estate business, the sky is the limit – you don’t have a set salary or fixed hours, and for me, that is a really liberating feeling. It means you can make of it what you’re willing to put in.
What is it about real estate that interests you?
I find the “art” of selling real estate to be uniquely interesting; choosing the right words to describe a home, setting a tone, adapting to different personalities, exploring all types of properties and meeting all types of people are things that bring me joy and that I find fascinating. When I became a real estate agent, I realized how vital this role is to one of life’s most personal and important transactions. This realization not only made me feel important, but it helped me understand what an asset I can be to my clients.
You specialize in the Westchester market, specifically luxury condominiums. Tell us about Westchester real estate and where you think the market is headed.
Despite rising interest rates across the U.S., the Westchester market is still going strong with bidding wars given the lack of available inventory. My audience specialty is empty nesters who are sizing down, selling the big house and moving into a luxury condo. I know first-hand the process and the emotions involved, and that this type of life move requires patience. In 2020, buyers only wanted single-family homes for more space—communal living wasn’t high on anyone’s list. Since COVID, the single-family housing market has gone above and beyond a seller’s expectation, and many homes have closed at over 15-20% over the asking price, leaving buyers frustrated. As a result, buyers started choosing condos again, and bidding wars commended on those too, with many closing over the asking price. The old supply and demand rule is at play here: we simply don’t have enough inventory and we have plenty of buyers waiting on the sidelines.
You do a lot of business at The Ritz Carlton Residences in White Plains. Can you tell us more about this property? How did you become the agent of choice for clients looking to sell or buy here?
I love the Ritz Carlton Residences in White Plains. It’s a rare, luxury property that’s like nothing else you can find in the suburbs. Residents enjoy urban living in downtown White Plains and can find everything they need—boutique shopping, groceries, pharmacies, and restaurants—all within a few small blocks. In 2006, The Residences sold out the first tower so quickly that the developer decided to build a second one. I then became the preferred “re-sale” broker for the first tower, thus allowing me to build relationships in both towers. Living there is a boutique and luxury experience. The staff are so nice and make me feel like I live there, too! After all, it’s what you’d expect from Ritz-Carlton Management. They’re the gold standard in the industry and I pride myself on helping clients buy and sell homes within these towers.
What’s been your favorite sale in the past year? Why?
My favorite sale was a 5,000-square-foot penthouse at The Ritz Carlton Residences. The buyer was starting a new chapter in their life and it was an emotional journey that took time and patience. In the end, it was a major success, and all parties emerged quite happy. What I love about my job is that it’s often more than a paycheck. When you feel you’ve done a good thing and made someone’s life better, that’s the real reward.
What skills and habits make you most successful as a real estate agent?
I’ve been in sales my whole life, from my family business to the brokerage business, and I’ve learned that investing in relationships is key. I’m also a certified negotiator and pride myself on appeasing all parties and getting the deal done.
Your website, luxuryhomeswestchester.com, is dedicated to helping your clients find their dream homes. Tell us what’s special about your website and how it has helped generate leads for you.
My website has always been a work in progress, I’m constantly keeping it up to date because I want my clients to get true value from it. Since I specialize in Westchester, I share pertinent information across a number of Westchester communities. What I learned early on in my real estate career was the importance of building a personal brand. I felt the easiest way to do that was to create my own website that gives clients a glimpse into who I am. Today, I complement my website with my social media accounts (@luxuryhomeswestchester) and drive visitors to my site that way.
You have a completely free weekend in Westchester – what are you doing with your time?
Rest! Haha. And, ideally, I take a little “me time” and will cook a great meal for me and my partner or perhaps host a dinner party for friends and family. While it may sound like work to some people, to me it’s rewarding to the soul. Then too, so is a good mani/pedi and massage!
What do you do to make your own home special and comfortable?
Keep it clean! The home is a sacred space and for me that means treating it with respect and keeping it tidy, neat and clean. I make my bed every day, keep all the rooms organized with minimal clutter, and enjoy a clean desk. Lulu, my Frenchie, helps keep things mentally in order, too. 🙂
What advice would you give to someone starting in real estate who wants to have a career similar to yours?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot actually because I recently started mentoring a new agent. My best advice is that you need a good cushion of savings because it’s going to take time to build your business. Success doesn’t happen overnight and this is especially the case with real estate! Having that financial cushion means you can keep stress at bay while you build your brand and relationships and focus on strategies that will set you up for success in the long term. My other piece of advice is for all new agents to start on a team. Learning from your teammates and having the camaraderie of a group is something I think is incredibly important and I’d highly advise anyone starting their career to seek this out.