By Sarah Trefethen
For New York City native Gregory Williamson, senior vice president at Prudential Douglas Elliman, knowing the lay of the land gives him and edge over the competition.
Williamson, 33, grew up in Brooklyn Heights, attended high school on the Upper West Side and currently lives in the West Village.
“I’ve seen the neighborhoods change,” he said. “I’ve had a lifetime of experience to learn the product.”
With personal experience in two boroughs, he said, he is particularly prepared to help people considering leaving Manhattan.
“There are a lot of people in Manhattan who are looking in Brooklyn — Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Garden, Park Slope, Dumbo,” he said.
“They’ve heard wonderful things about Brooklyn and they have friends who live there, but they’re nervous about making the jump over the bridge. I tell then it’s a different vibe, it’s its own community, and a great alternative to moving to the suburbs or staying in the city.”
Williamson also grew up watching his mother, Madeline Williamson, selling Brooklyn Heights homes. She was PDE’s top broker in Brooklyn in 2005, 2006 and 2007, her son said.
“I grew up in the business and I’ve seen all the ways a deal can work and go wrong,” he said.
An avid tennis player who as a teenager worked in the Hamptons teaching the sport, Williamson traces his interest in real estate to that early experience.
“In the last couple of years, I started teaching [tennis] at people’s homes,” he said. “I was fascinated by the different residences and environments.”
But it would be several years before he followed up on that initial interest.
Williamson studied English at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and after graduation worked for two years as a talent agent. He knew he had a knack for selling, but another aspect of his time as a tennis instructor captured his attention.
“I decided because loved teaching tennis so much I wanted to be a teacher, but I didn’t want to teach PE,” he said.
Williamson earned his masters degree in education from St. John’s University, and went to teach first and second grades at PS 8 in Brooklyn Heights.
“A lot of my clients today are parents of my former students, and they are also people I taught tennis in the Hamptons,” he said.
Williamson taught for four years. “I loved it and it was a wonderful experience, but I couldn’t have done it forever,” he said.
It was at this point that Williamson decided to take up real estate — just in time for the trial by fire that was the economic turmoil of late 2008.
“2009 and 2010 were the most difficult years in real estate and, both years, I placed in the top 10 for units sold” at PDE, he said. “That’s something I’m proud of.”
For the past year and a half Williamson has lived in Greenwich Village with his wife, Katy, who also recently got her real estate license. The couple married last month.
The West Village is a convenient place for Williamson to indulge his love of jazz and classic rock, and he still plays tennis twice a week.
“It’s a big source of business for me as well as one of my tremendous pleasures in life,” he said.
They may relocate to Brooklyn when they start a family, Williamson said, though he is also attracted to the Upper West Side.
“It’s nice to be in an area where I have a little anonymity,” he said.