Just call Corcoran agent Jeff Nolan the Swiss Army Knife of real estate brokers.
Nolan, who has been with Corcoran for seven years, founded and has since successfully ran a networking organization that has been the key to his success in residential real estate, connecting him with clients and colleagues, and helping him build a team of professionals from different industries to help his clients through every step of purchasing or selling a home.
Based out of Corcoran’s Union Square office, Nolan sells apartments all over the city, from uptown in Harlem to Bushwick in North Brooklyn.
A Detroit native, Nolan also spent part of his youth in London, England. He earned degrees from Central Michigan University and Michigan State University, studying material and logistics management and business.
After college, got his start at Ford Motor Company, where he eventually worked for more than a decade, in marketing and sales. But even then, long before he started in real estate, he was investing in real estate, purchasing multifamily homes.
“I knew I wasn’t going to stay with Ford, so I started investing in real estate,” Nolan told Broker’s Weekly.
During his 13 years at Ford, Nolan rose through the ranks and eventually found himself in the company’s New York offices, as a district manager. When the firm asked him to transfer back to Detroit, that’s when he decided to make a change.
“When Ford asked me that question, I knew I didn’t want to move, and I’d met the girl of my dreams at that time,” said Nolan. “I already had the big city in my blood. I went to an American school in London. Being in New York was amazing and I wanted to stay.”
With a background managing multi-family properties for years through his properties he owns in New Jersey and upstate New York, and a finance and marketing background, Nolan felt confident entering the real estate industry.
That’s when Nolan decided to jump full-time into residential real estate.
As a newbie to NYC with few friends, Nolan knew the importance of connections in real estate. His first year at Corcoran, he began taking successful brokers at the company out to lunch to get to know them.
“At one lunch, I asked a woman who was rookie of the year at the office how to generate business, and she told me about BNI,” said Nolan.
BNI stands for Business Network International, the largest referral organization in the world, which has more than 170,000 members and between 60 and 70 chapters worldwide. The primary focus of the group is to connect professionals with one another through referral networking.
“I was there for five minutes and drank the kool-aid immediately,” said Nolan of the first BNI meeting he attended. “I knew for sure, this was me.”
Nolan founded a chapter of the organization soon after, which he still presides over today, and has grown it from 12 to 30 members.
“Anyone’s who is starting a business needs a lot of irons in the fire – whether it’s cold calling or wine and cheese,” said Nolan. “It’s a great platform, it’s really helped me meet a lot of interesting and successful professionals.”
Nolan’s focus in his BNI chapter is keeping a diverse roster of members – that mean individual seats in the chapter that each represent a different profession.
“One time a mortgage banker left and that opened up a seat, and I literally interviewed 12 people for that seat and picked the best guy,” said Nolan.
“Everybody that needs to buy needs a mortgage banker, and I want the best people for that job and I wanted the best person. My clients are so happy because of the team I’ve provided.”
When Nolan was first starting out at Corcoran, he met a woman through networking that became one of his first clients, and he helped her purchase an apartment. Six years later, she called him up out of the blue, saying she was looking to get into real estate.
“I said, work for me,” said Nolan. With that, she became his assistant, and then later, moved up to become a salesperson with Corcoran, where she still works.
Nolan estimates that in the seven years he’s been in the residential real estate industry, he’s generated 40 to 80 percent of his business through his networking organization, and met more than 1,000 people.
“They say behind every successful person is 500 people,” said Nolan. “This platform helps me cast out a huge web and meet new people.”
Nolan lives in Williamsburg with his wife and 19-month-old daughter, Valentina, and enjoys traveling in his spare time, a passion that has taken him to more than 40 countries.