The cut-throat world of real estate can be particularly unforgiving to new entrepreneurs. However, the payoff can be huge. Whether you want to become a top broker or develop an empire of investment properties of your own, it helps to take lessons from those who have already done it.
I’ve rounded some of the top real estate professionals who have made their mark on the industry through various channels including TV appearances, authorship, property sales and speaking engagements. If you are interested in real estate, these are the top ten influencers you need to be following.
Fredrik Eklund is a New York City real estate broker, Bravo TV reality star and author who has secured over five billion dollars in closed residential sales since arriving in New York in 2003. Originally from Stockholm, Sweden, Eklund is the star of the Bravo TV hit show Million Dollar Listing New York. He has been featured in GQ and on Fox’s PageSix TV. Eklund’s 2015 book, The Sell: The Secrets of Selling Anything to Anyone, was a New York Times Bestseller.
Stefan Aarnio is an award-winning real estate investor, entrepreneur and author. Best known for having started his real estate portfolio with just $1,200, he has since built a multi-million dollar portfolio of single family and multifamily properties in Canada. He is the author of Money, People, Deal: The Fastest Way to Real Estate Wealth, which led him to his next calling: mentoring other aspiring investors. He teaches mastery courses on raising capital, negotiation and real estate sales. In 2014, Aarnio won the Rich Dad Hall of Fame Award.
A Navy veteran turned real estate expert, Cody Sperber, AKA the Clever Investor, is the man behind the most-followed real estate investing account on Instagram ( he has more than 413,000 followers). Having flipped more than 1,000 properties as a real estate investor, Sperber has been called an “absolute market genius” by Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank. He has also personally mentored hundreds of students who have achieved financial freedom through real estate investing, and he’s still an extremely active real estate investor himself, buying, selling and renting properties.
With more than 20 years of real estate experience, Desiree Patno is the CEO of Desiree Patno Enterprises and the founder of the National Association of Women in Real Estate Businesses (NAWRB). Through NAWRB, she advocates for women-owned businesses and helps female entrepreneurs start successful business ventures. In 2012, Patno was nominated as one of Housing Wire’s 30 Most Influential Women.
Tom Ferry is the CEO of Tom Ferry International, a real estate coaching and training company. In his 30 years of business, Ferry has influenced thousands of real estate professionals and helped increase their wealth. Ferry has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, HuffPo, Mashable.com, Inc., Realtor Magazine, amongst others.
Million Dollar Listing Miami star Chad Carroll is Vice President of Douglas Elliman, operating in Miami and New York City. A frequent contributor for The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Daily News, Carroll has earned a reputation as an expert in the areas of real estate, finance and contract negotiation. Carroll has closed nearly $1 billion in sales since 2011 and was named the Douglas Elliman top broker in Florida each of the past five years.
Grant Cardone is an international sales expert, New York Times best-selling author and radio show host of The Cardone Zone. Cardone creates customized sales training programs for Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, success-minded individuals and entrepreneurs. Cardone is also the author of seven books and hosts four radio shows focused on helping others find jobs, make money, and improving their business in addition to contributing to Entrepreneur.
One of the “sharks” on ABC’s hit TV show, Shark Tank, Barbara Corcoran has invested in 22 businesses. She is is a columnist for More Magazine, The Daily Review and Redbook. Her newest book, Shark Tales, takes readers behind the scenes of her life and business. Corcoran’s hard-working, blunt attitude has earned her the reputation as a top real estate influencer and investor. Corcoran is also a real estate contributor to NBC’s Today Show and hosts The Millionaire Broker with Barbara Corcoran on CNBC.
With more than 162,000 followers on Twitter, Ryan Serhant is the number one real estate broker in New York and number six in the nation according to the Wall Street Journal’s “Real Trends 2015.” A star of Million Dollar Listing New York, Serhant is a regular contributor on 20/20, The Today Show and more. Serhant writes a weekly real estate column titled “Ask Ryan Serhant” for Inman News and has a weekly real estate video blog for Streeteasy titled, “Ryan’s New York Minute.”
Amy Bohutinsky is the COO of Zillow, a Seattle-based real estate company that boasts a portfolio of the world’s largest real estate and home-related brands, including consumer brands Trulia, HotPads, StreetEasy and Naked Apartments. Bohutinsky also sits on the board of Hotel Tonight Inc. and Avvo Inc