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In this episode, Chelsea talks to NYC realtor (and star of Million Dollar Listing) Ryan Serhant about New York real estate secrets, working on Bravo, and what kind of money you actually make in reality TV.

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Hello, everyone.

And welcome back to what is, in my opinion, the most exciting thing that has or will happen in 2021, which is TFC returning, The Financial Confessions is back for season two. As those of you who are watching on video can tell, I am in a slightly adjusted TFC set, because COVID is still raging.

We don't have our vaccines. Life is still very difficult. And so I am recording through what can only be described as a very hodgepodge setup of Zoom, and microphones, and cameras.

But we're going to make it work. And hopefully, later this year, we will be back in person, having that witty banter, armchair to armchair. In the meantime, I want to get to our very first guest of the season, someone that I was very excited to appear on his podcast, someone that I've seen on, as you guys know, my beloved, beloved, complicated relationship with Bravo.

He is a real estate broker. He is an author, now. And we're going to talk a lot about his book.

He is a father, a husband, an influencer, a motivational speaker, a social media celebrity. His name is Ryan Serhant. And he's here in the room via computer with me.

Hi, Ryan. Hello, wow, what an intro. Thank you so much.

I am sure I missed a few of your superlatives. No, it's no more superlatives. It's great.

So for those in my audience who may not be as sadly addicted to reality television as I am, can you explain a little bit about yourself, and who you are, and why people know you? We should talk about a support group for you, it sounds like you might seriously have a problem. Yeah, but more so with the Real Housewives, only because as a feminist, I always feel a little complicated about that show.

But I still love it. I star in a show called Million Listing Dollar New York. It's probably where most people know me from.

I've been on it since the beginning. The show came out in the beginning of 2012. And here we are, eight years later, oh no, oh man, nine years later.

We're in the middle of filming season 9. We keep getting shut down for COVID issues. But that season will come out I, think, sometime this spring.

So I do want to talk a lot about money, and real estate, and all those things. But first, I must ask you to tell us a little bit about filming a reality television show during COVID. Yeah, it's interesting.

Bravo likes doing things the way they like to do them. And it is-- so for them, I think they had a moment where they said, OK, well now, what we do? Do we really shut down production across the board on all our shows for months, and months, and months?

Because if you ever come to one of our filmings, or if you ever saw the Housewives filming anywhere in New York, they have-- it looks like a film set. They've got film cameras, they're huge. They've got lighting, sound guys.

It's not-- I've seen the making of some HGTV shows, which look like, which are the exact opposite. They're kind of run it and gun it. So anyway, so we got shut down in March, like everybody.

And so we immediately went to cell phones. And Bravo came to us and said, listen, we're capturing this stuff regardless. Especially for your show, which is based in New York, and revolves around the real estate market, which is all over the news all day long.

So just tilt your phone sideways, and just start taking videos left and right. Upload them to a shared drive and film your life. And let's see how it goes.

And that was supposed to be for two weeks. Five months later, we've got-- so all this, my phone is broken with all this horizontal footage. And so I think they're combing through all of it right now.

So it'll definitely be interesting to watch. But I don't know how they're going to pull stuff from it. Yeah, so that's how we kind of film the show and kept going throughout quarantine.

And even when I was able to come back to work to real estate, to be able to show apartments, when phase 2 opened on June 22, we weren't allowed to do film production until, it was like the end of August. But the show captures everything and is very, very true to form. They film everything we do, which is why it takes us forever to film that show.

And this season will end up taking almost two years. Which you wouldn't otherwise be able to tell, when you actually watch it, with the exception of the fact that we all have babies now. And so episode one, I'm going to have an infant.

And by the end of the show, I'm going to have a teenager. Because it's taken so long. It's like a Scorsese film.

Experience, that's for sure. Wow, that is-- I had no idea that they were making you guys film on phones. I feel like Andy Cohen is going to have to go out here and secure a pallet of vaccines off the back of a truck to get you guys back on normal set again soon.

Yeah. But so I'm curious. So nine years, on reality television, I always like to say, TFD has been around for six years, which, in internet years is 1,000, I feel like nine years on reality television and similarly somewhere in the ballpark of 1,000.

What does it feel like, year nine, to be doing a television show versus year one? I'd be lying to if I didn't tell you it it's very much a job. I also don't really know the real estate business without Million Dollar Listing, unlike everybody else on the shows who were in the business for years, and years, and years, and then kind of either lucked their way into the show, or into any of these shows, whether it's Bravo or HGTV, I had been renting apartments for one year, in and around Koreatown, the financial district, outer Boroughs, when there was a casting notice that was posted.

And I just showed up pretty randomly, and without ever, ever, ever thinking that they would pick me. But when they asked me, during the audition, why should we pick you, I just-- I told them, I was the greatest broker in the history of the known universe. And they bought it.

And then they cast me on the show. So I had to learn how to sell real estate as the show was filming. And so those first couple of seasons for me were definitely a learning process.

I mean, imagine an entire film crew following you around on your first job ever for a couple of years. Every mistake you make, every stupid thing you say, everything you suck at, that's what makes the show. They don't care about you having a nice, good old day at work.

That's not good TV. So it was definitely stressful. But it was a slingshot into not just becoming a professional, but also becoming an adult.

I mean, I feel like so many of us have a hard time doing kind of self audits, really understanding how do we come off to people, what type of person am I? How do my coworkers think about me? Who am I?

These general questions that a lot of us, even into our late 30s and 40s have a hard time coming to terms with. I was 24, and in my early to mid-20s, the whole world was very vocal about how they felt about me. And I could watch it.

I could sit there and watch and say, wow, is that how I talked to that client? Man, I need to rehearse that a little better. I got to think about this a little bit more.

And so when you know that your everyday moves are going to be put on TV to millions and millions of people in over 150 countries, you really jumpstart how you present yourself, and how you move about the world. So now, I'm very self-aware, I think. And it is a job.

But I understand how to use it better than I did early on. Early on, I knew I wanted to use the show. Now, I know exactly how to use it to our benefit.

And it's become an amazing exposure for us. I would not be where I am today if it were not for Million Dollar Listing. No doubt.

It's interesting. I think part of the reason that I-- because as I mentioned, I am-- I don't want to say big, well, I guess big fan of The Real Housewives. And part of the reason that I find the show so compelling is because I think that, in many ways, the relationship that those personalities, those women, have to being perceived tracks so closely with social media as a concept, in the sense that the show started in like '06, just as Myspace and stuff was getting off the ground.

And we, as a culture, were starting to get into a way of living that in human history had never been experienced before, which is the idea of being perceived by people that you don't know, perceived by people that you don't interact with. And so their relationship to being perceived and being in the public eye really tracks, almost beat for beat, with how we, as a culture, are now in the public eye. And you see, obviously, it's a microcosm.

So on the show, you'll see that they become, as you put it, more and more aware of the fact that there are cameras, more and more aware that they're a brand, that they're a personality. But in a lot of ways, most people are doing that to the same extent. Most people are becoming more and more aware of how they're perceived and branded.

I'm curious. As someone who is branded, and perceived, and in the public view at one of the higher levels that people can aspire to, what do you see that people do wrong, even just at the individual, professional level, in terms of how they brand themselves, in terms of how they're perceived, how they market themselves, et cetera? Oh, man, we can talk for four hours about that one question.

Where do I even want to start? I started my own real estate firm a couple months ago. Actually, we built out during quarantine, in the middle of a pandemic, and then kind of announced at the beginning of the fall in 2020.

And a lot of people were very confused about it. But one of our mission statements, really, is that we're an agent-owned and agent first real estate company. And I'm here for the agents, which are really the lifeblood of the real estate market in any single market.

And one of the first things I do with every agent who comes in here, and they sit with our team, and all the departments is we go through their individual brand. And we do, basically, what we call a brand boot camp, to look at who they think they are. And it's amazing to me, because no matter who it is, any professional out there, they think they know themselves.

They think they understand their brand. But they have absolutely no idea. And it's, in part, because they've never turned the lens back on themselves and asked themselves difficult questions or asked peers difficult questions.

And so the first thing I always ask people is OK, you think this is your brand, just focus on real estate, because it's just an easier conversation for me to have. But I have agents who come in. And they think they're branding themselves as super luxury.

They sold one apartment that was $15 million two years ago, they're a luxury broker. They're hanging out with those people. That's what they do.

That's what they do. That's what they do. But they haven't done a whole lot of business that way.

And what they're really known for, and what people are calling them for is selling $800,000 to $2 million apartments in Murray Hill, Gramercy, and the far Upper East Side. And they don't want to be known for that. They want to be known for the super luxury market.

But what they are known for is stuff that actually sells and actually trades. And so then it's a conversation with them to say, OK, your brand is you're the one who. So you want to be the one who does what?

You want to be the one who sells $10 million apartments that are very, very tough to sell and hardly ever trade? And that is a far more detailed relationship business than what you can probably handle? Or do you want to be the one who sells more real estate on the east side of Manhattan than anyone else?

And let's scream your success from the mountaintop, rather than just this idea of success based on what you think everybody else wants you to be to be successful. And those agents, when they take my advice, will always become more successful, because then their brand ends up being kind of who they are and authentic to the work they put in. Some of the brand math that I do with people who also have a hard time understanding what their personal brand is is to go backwards.

Brand is your reputation. So what are you known for? Nike has a very clear understanding of what their brand is, based on their reputation as being great, comfortable shoes that are, for the most part, well priced.

So brand is reputation. And as a person, as a personal brand, reputation can only come from the perception that you put out of yourself. And that perception only exists if you actually believe it yourself, if you have conviction in yourself.

And so when I talk to people about creating a brand, it always then comes back to their own kind of self-awareness and their self-confidence. So what are you-- are you a confident person? How can you become more confident in who you are, authentically and organically?

And that confidence is that conviction in yourself. That conviction turns into perception. Perception is then reputation.

Reputation is brand. I'd say one of the things that I ask a lot of people to do, when trying to determine what their brand is, is not going to a best friend, who's going to be biased and doesn't want to hurt your feelings. But go to a coworker that you kind of know.

And just ask them, honestly, hey, could you do me a favor? What do you know me for? If someone was to say to you, hey, you work with-- you work with Chelsea.

Chelsea is the one who what? And you might be surprised at what that person might say. Because they might know you being really, really good at doing something you didn't think you were that great at, except you are, because it just becomes so second nature to you.

And you've been trying so hard to be great at something else that might just be annoying. I don't know. And to ask that person, too, hey, what do you think I could improve on?

And it's a uncomfortable exercise. But when you ask the right person, it can be really, really eye opening and then save you a lot of time. Yeah, we did-- I totally agree.

We did a little digital retreat yesterday. And we-- one of our guests, our experts, talked about the fact that, often, we assume that what is intuitive or natural for us is intuitive or natural for everyone. That if something is easy to us, it's easy to other people.

So we have a tendency to discount the things that come naturally to us, or that are our sort of wheelhouse, and then sort of overpunish ourselves for not being good at the things that other people are good at. But chances are that if there is, as you say, that one thing that you're known for, the one thing that you have a real facility with, it's not as easy for other people as you might imagine it is. And it's probably more of an asset than you think it is.

Yeah, for sure. And it comes down to talent. Sometimes, there's the talent versus hard work conversation.

And I've always felt that talent-- that hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard. And especially in the sales business, and kind of what I do, of selling real estate or selling anything, there are naturally personable salespeople that can create those relationships and just seem like they're really, really great. And then there are those who are a bit more introverted, I think, like myself, especially when I started.

But I learned that even relationship building comes down to work ethic. And you don't even have to be talented at having a strong personality if you can create one and work at it. And that hard work will beat talent when the talent doesn't work hard.

I want to talk a little bit about real estate. A lot of our audience, now, we're going to have to ratchet down your typical sort of the apartments that you work with, our audience is primarily comprised of younger adult women who, in many cases, are looking in the nearish future, to potentially own their first property, to buy their first home. And I think, particularly for women, the prospect of buying a home, especially if you're a single woman, or you're the primary earner, you're going to be leading the process, feels very daunting, because it feels like you are liable to get shaken down, that people might not talk to you with the same candor that they would talk to a man about the process, that you were never raised-- most women were never raised with sort of the education around how to acquire a property, what it means to be a homeowner.

So I guess, and again, keeping this not for the super luxury buyer, what are ways in which-- what are the early questions that people should start asking themselves if they're interested in owning their first property, that are maybe not the most intuitive ones? That are a little bit more ineffable, that are more qualitative? The first thing you have to think about when looking to purchase your first home is you have to remember that you don't live in the purchase price.

You live in the monthly payment. So people get so focused, in part, because that's how you search for real estate, and that's how you search for anything, right? We don't think about paying it off on our credit card later.

We think about, I'm going to buy that, and it's $1,000, or it's $2,000. For homes, it's the same thing. So if you're looking at something that's $500,000, and you've been pre-approved for $470,000, let's say, don't be afraid to look a little bit higher than $500,000, because you can always talk to your bank to your mortgage broker about things that might be a little bit more expensive, but have a much lower payment.

So if you're looking at a different town with much lower taxes, for example. Or if you're in Manhattan or any city, and you're looking at a building that has much lower monthly charges, common charges, or HOA fees, depending on where you're based. Keep that in mind.

I would also say, in terms of location, you want to think, too, about what your time is worth. So think about how much money you made last year. Or if you've just got a job, how much money you want to make this coming year, divide that number out into your average weekday and figure out what your hourly time is.

I talk to a lot of first time homebuyers, too, who get very nervous about spending money or get very nervous about buying in general, because they want to save, and save, and save, except they're commuting an hour or two every day to get to work. Now, depending on when this podcast comes out, a lot of people are working from home right now. So it's a different story.

But eventually, people will get back to work. What is that commute really, really worth to you? And how much are you spending on it?

What is your time worth? If you didn't have to commute, because you actually owned a home closer to the office, if you're in a city, you could probably afford a little bit more. And that's another kind of what is your monthly payment conversation.

Right, right, because even just commuting is easily in the hundreds of a month. Yeah, absolutely, look to gym memberships. Do you have an outside gym membership?

And could you possibly buy a condo in a building that has a gym? Now you're saving on that gym membership. If you're in an area where you have to take Ubers or cars all the time, but you could buy some place next to public transportation, don't just think about it as a convenience and then write it off in the back of your head.

Actually do the math. Calculate how much you spend on transportation now and how much you'll save by being in the new place. Because every $100 counts, especially when you start to add up all the different savings when it comes down to actually owning.

And interest rates are the lowest they've been in the history of ever, since they've been keeping track. Interest rates are so incredibly low right now, it is unbelievable. I mean you can get a 30 year fixed now for what you used to be able to only get an ARM with with a private banking relationship for years, and years, and years.

So you can afford a lot more now. And in a lot of locations, it is now actually cheaper to own than it is to rent. Depending on where you're based, the real estate market is very active right now.

But if you're in a city like New York, where the market is the opposite. It's a great time to be a buyer. If you're in a hot market, with lots going on, just make sure you do your research.

Know what you're getting into. Do your comps. Everything is public.

Do your reading. Talk to friends. And I'm not plugging myself.

But use a good agent. Talk to a good agent. In the United States, you're not paying a buyer's agent.

They're there to work with you. And the seller's agent's getting their commission regardless. So it doesn't really matter.

And use them the same way you would talk to an investment advisor or a wealth manager. That's what a great real estate agent is really there for, to advise you. Because you might not know all the details or have thought about all the numbers.

So use them. Use people. And absolutely know your rights with regards to your broker.

Because let me say, I have-- and I've lived in New York for, God, seven years now. And I've lived in several apartments. Now, these are obviously rentals.

But in New York City, those of you who don't know, you have to go through a broker, generally, to get your apartment, which is a joke, because, in most cases, you could easily bypass the process, like you do in most other cities. But whatever, it is what it has to be. However, if you go with a more unscrupulous broker, and you often don't have the choice, because certain brokers will be representing exclusively certain listings, and if you really want that apartment, you have to go through that broker, often, will try and do all kinds of stuff that they shouldn't be doing to get more money out of you.

So it's very important to remember what your rights are, what is and isn't legal, or even advisable for them to be doing. And if you're not in a good relationship with that broker, if you don't trust that broker, if they're not doing a good job, you should find another one. Because a lot of them out there are quite unscrupulous, I'll say.

But which makes the good ones all the better. No, I agree with you. Part of the reasons we started our sales course and built-- started building that membership platform in our whole community is to make the sales world a better place.

I learned how to sell and rent real estate around a lot of those people. It can be really, really tricky. But it's an incentivized business.

And so just any sales, anywhere you go and buy anything, everything is negotiable. You can always ask questions. And no one's holding a gun to your head to work with any individual person.

Ask friends who they've used. Referrals are always a great source of business. And just try to work with someone who knows what they're doing.

So that they'll guide you the best. Because their reputation, their brand, is on the line. So they'll always take good care of you.

Totally. And you're so right about the monthly payment being the big issue. My husband and I are hoping to buy in the city next year, take advantage of these interest rates and this market.

And I keep finding, especially co-ops, that I'm like, this is the-- I want to live here today. This is the perfect place. And it's so cheap for what it is.

And then you scroll down and it's like $2,500 in monthly fees on top of whatever you're paying, which I think a lot of people have a tendency not to think in terms of. They don't even think in terms of things like property tax. And listen, with rates being as low as they are, you also don't have to be like your parents and do a 30-year fixed loan.

There's lots of different instruments now. There's different ways that you can get financing for your property. There's different ways to borrow even more.

Typically, you don't want to borrow more than you can afford. You want to keep your debt to income ratio kind of right up there in the forefront of your mind. But at the same time, rates are so low.

Interest only could be a good opportunity for you. In which case, your payment is much, much lower. And you could possibly afford more.

And if you're in an environment where real estate is appreciating pretty fast, you could be in the money the day you close. The other thing you should think about, too, is think about how long you anticipate really being in the home you're looking to buy. If you are engaged, or with somebody, and you're looking to purchase something, and you're looking at a one bedroom, think about your life.

How quickly do you think you're going to grow out of that one bedroom? What's it going to be like to sell that one bedroom? So don't just do comparables.

Don't just do an analysis based on what you think should buy it for today. Really look at what will it be like when I have to sell this, because I'm having a baby, or because I might get transferred internationally, because the job I work for does a lot of work overseas, and I have to move in two years. What could I rent this for?

What could I sell it for? Always be prepared for the next step when making a big purchase. Now, I would be remiss if I didn't ask you.

You obviously work in-- I don't know what the term is, you can correct me, but like ultra luxury real estate, is that the term? I think people know me for selling ultra luxury real estate, or what we would call kind of super prime. Super prime.

But we sell everything. I have a large company now. We sell from the lowest of the low to the highest of the high.

And we do a lot of new development sales as well. So we represent entire buildings that have prices from $300,000 to $50 million. Now, in working with the luxury, the super prime market, we can only imagine-- we being myself and our audience, that that process is at times brutal/exhausting to work with these kind of clients.

I will say, oftentimes, those types of clients can actually be relatively simple to work with, because they don't have time to belabor a decision. It costs them too much in their time to sit and overthink things. I just showed an apartment to a guy in Soho.

I walked into the apartment for six minutes, and he made a decision to buy it on minute seven. And he spent $22.5 million. I just went down to Miami and we did a deal.

I walked through the apartment for four minutes with my client. We had to fly all the way down there first. And he just paid, two weeks ago, $33 million on surfside, on the beach.

They are difficult people to, then, work with. And doing those deals can be very, very specific. But the time can, oftentimes, be much faster.

And you learn a lot from people like that, right, about, really, what your time is worth. That's why when you asked me about first time home buyers, I always bring up to them, what's your commute worth? What is your time worth?

The wealthiest, most successful people in the world don't sit and barter over $100 or $1,000, because their time just isn't worth it. So why do you? And start putting yourself in that position to be somebody who has a strong savings, or to even have wealth.

And to do that, you need to start really valuing your time and picking and choosing your negotiating battles. Do you worry about becoming desensitized to luxury or desensitized to nice things? Oh, I was desensitized 10 years ago. [LAUGHS] I walk into apartments now, I'm like, that's nice.

This is great. What is it $40 million? Yeah, OK, nice moldings.

I definitely know nice things when I see them. But I don't get as blown away as I used to. I think with anything, right, everything ends up eventually becoming relative.

But you know what's nice. And you know what's not nice. I think I just get more and more surprised, now, when I see things that are not that nice.

Because I'm like, how do you even-- don't you watch TV? Don't how you're supposed to set up your living room? What is all this stuff?

What are you doing? How do you think this is going to sell? People don't like orange.

Well, I'm a bit of a maximalist myself. My decor tends to be on the eclectic side. So I might have one of those living rooms.

As long as it's organized. Organization is key. People live in messes a lot.

Oh I'm not messy. But I will say, in some ways, I think that that is a bit of a curse, right? Not for you, perhaps, personally, because you're sort of a conduit to that extreme luxury.

You're not out there buying all of these apartments that you're showing people. But I do think, one thing that we talk about a lot at TFD is the concept of lifestyle creep, which is essentially, I'm sure you probably know, but for the audience who doesn't, it's essentially this idea that what a week or a month ago might have seemed ultra luxurious to you, or beautiful, or special, or exciting, if you acclimate yourself to it too much, not only does it not really become that special or exciting anymore, but you go from feeling like it's a luxury or a treat to feeling like you need it to be happy. For example, in New York, a lot of people, myself included, don't have a washer dryer in unit.

It's very common to not have that. And I've gotten so used to it that it doesn't matter to me. But once you move into a place where you have a washer dryer in unit, you're like, I could never go back to go into the basement of my building and doing it in the basement, or to do the wash and fold, things like that.

And obviously, that's a pretty small example. But when you think about accumulating things that are nicer, and nicer, and nicer, and being less, and less, and less impressed by them, I think that's often how people get into a cycle of spending way past their limits, or being always just up at the edge of what they can spend every month. So how do you, in being so exposed to that, and having every opportunity for a massive lifestyle creep, how do you stay below your means?

How do you keep your tastes humble? How do you stay invigorated and excited by the life that you live? I'm probably a pretty bad example to answer this question.

I definitely don't live beneath my means. In part, because my job is pretty dependent upon it. Yeah, you got to project that image.

When I was renting my first nice apartment. I was living in a tiny little studio for the first part of my career. I would never bring anybody to see my apartment, ever.

I wouldn't bring my parents to see my apartment. It was the worst. And I would never bring clients there, because it wasn't a good indication of what I was then showing them.

So if I'm trying to get someone to buy a million dollar apartment, but I'm living in a $2,500 a month studio six flights up, you got to kind of live in what you sell. I've always found success in pushing my back up against a financial wall. If I don't feel a little bit of pressure, I need that to move forward.

And I see this in a lot of people who are in commission jobs, or they're incentivized. And I see real estate agents, all the time, they get into the business, and then they quit, because it's just too hard. And you know what?

They'll just stay with their parents. Or they'll just move back in. Or their other job, it was fine.

It's OK. It's a 9:00 to 5:00. Yeah, there's not a big ladder to climb.

But at least I didn't have to work on Saturdays. Right, I think that if you're not that type of person who wants to increase their lifestyle by pushing yourself into some financial corners, then you do need to be really, really careful. But there are some luxuries that I think it's OK to have.

Oh, Yeah. You should have laundry in your apartment. Well I don't.

If you can get it, that's a nice thing to have. It's nice to be close to public transportation. It's nice to have certain things.

But you do want to be careful that you don't really back yourself up into financial hurdles that you then can't dig yourself out of, because you've never really needed them in the first place. Yeah, I hear that. And there are ways in which I do that as well, in terms of putting myself in a position where I have to do better, moreso, much more so with my business than with my personal life, financially, anyway.

But I do think, for me, anyway, and I think both are valid, but I think that there's something really nice-- because again, using the washer dryer example, I could have a washer dryer in my apartment if I wanted to. But I think it's nice sometimes to know that you can have something and say no to it and feel comfortable within those gaps. And that happens all throughout your life.

You could afford to buy the designer bag that's all over Instagram, let's say. And there's, sure, sometimes something nice about buying it. But I think there's often something nice about saying I could have it, but I'd rather not.

And having that self-restraint and having those choices. And I think the key is identifying which which times it's really worth it to you to actually say yes to the thing. And then using that yes to say no to many other things.

Yeah, and it's a trade-off, right? So if you're in a home without its own washer dryer, and to get one would cost you an extra $500 a month in that other apartment, or whatever the amount might be, what is that amount of money worth to you? Does it get you a much bigger apartment that you're in now, because to go get something similar with the washer dryer, it can be really, really cramped.

And woohoo, great, you get to do laundry, but you can't move. That's not a good trade-off. And so I think as people think these things through, you also got to figure out what's the most important to you.

Is it space in your home? Is it the kitchen, because you love to cook? Do you work out 10 times a day, so maybe laundry really is important, because your whole place will smell, I don't know.

Figure out what your real priorities are and go after those in order. It's when people get tempted by things and they spend on them, and they were never even a priority in the first place. I would say one thing that I definitely made this mistake on early on was, you mentioned bags on Instagram, for me, it was I'd see all these successful people, business people, real estate brokers, throughout New York City.

And they always had amazing suits, beautiful suits. I'm like, OK, well where'd you get Brioni suits? Really, expensive, and I thought, OK, well, that's what I need.

I need that. I need that. And they were so expensive.

And I just ran around all day. No one could really tell what kind of suit I was wearing. A black suit is a black suit.

And then I'd rip the elbow, because I was crawling out of a construction site, or rip the pant leg. And I'm 6 foot 3. Getting in and out of cars all the time with my legs, it's a thing.

So now, I would never spend that kind of money on suits, because I just realized that it's a priority that isn't important to me. And I just don't need it. And so I find budget suits.

And I that's what I wear, all the time. And now, I can actually have more of them, and change up colors and styles. And it's actually better for me and my line of work.

We love a number on TFC. What are Brioni suits cost? Oh, man, it's thousands.

I want to say $5,000. Oh, my God. I can't remember exactly.

That was a long time ago. Same thing for like a Tom Ford suit. And I think it's OK to have one super nice thing like that.

But it really doesn't do anything for you. Look at now. [INTERPOSING VOICES] Right, there. I'm getting hit now with all these fancy retailers, they're hitting me with the e-blast for fancy cazh.

So it's like the it's like the sweater suit. Be comfortable at the kitchen counter. They got to pivot.

These companies, they have to pivot. Yeah, that to me, I've never-- there are things that I'm like, yes, go for the best, spend on luxury. For me, kitchen supplies is a big one.

But the clothes thing, I've never really understood. Because outside of a few key pieces, if this is stuff you're wearing constantly, as you said, you destroy it. It's not going to-- it's not an investment.

It's not something-- and like you said, most people aren't even-- beyond, as soon as things are made with quality, beyond that, no one can tell. So you wrote a money about-- you wrote a money about book. You wrote a book about money.

Why did you write a book about money? I wrote a book about energy and about how to control your success by controlling your energy. And I wrote it during quarantine without the intention, really, of writing it.

Because I'd written one book. And it was really, really hard. And it took me 10 years to put it together.

But it was successful and still sells well to this day. And I didn't want to write another one until I knew a real concrete idea of what I thought could actually help people. I didn't want to just put something together just to put it together, which is the whole reason it took me so long to do my first one.

And then I'm sitting there, in New Hampshire, at the end of March, quarantine had just started, in New York anyway. And I'm doing something called wine Wednesdays with my sales community, and my agents, and my social platform, getting people together. And everyone was talking about money.

And they talking about a lack of confidence, because they've been fired, or because they've been furloughed. And I saw that people were connecting their financial success and their professional success to their own level of confidence and their own kind of brands, their opinions of who they are as people, and how the workplace views them. I thought that that was pretty wrong.

Your ability to be successful has nothing to do with somebody else. It has everything to do with you. And like we talked about previously, with brands, right, it all starts with that level of self-confidence, which is just a conviction in yourself as the one who does what.

And that conviction is the perception you put out of yourself to the world. And that perception is reputation. That reputation is brand.

And then you can get any job you want. You can do anything you want, as long as it's authentic and organic to yourself. And so I was just having these wine Wednesday Zooms, with my beard, and in the woods, in the snow, during quarantine.

And that topic just kept coming up. And I just put pen to paper and wrote this thing throughout the spring and into the summer. And it comes out in February.

Why did you call it Big Money Energy? Explain that concept for our audience. Yeah, yeah, so-- I guess so 10 years ago, when I looked at people who are very successful, because I think I'm like everybody else.

We try to emulate others. We look at people who are successful and say, oh, man, how come they have that? I want that.

And I could see that there was me, who would walk into a room full of people with my head at the ground, hoping that I'd see someone that I know, please don't call on me in class, that was me. And then I'd see other people who would just walk into a room with kind of an air of confidence, as if they've already won the day. And I wanted that.

And those people would get called on. Those people would have amazing conversations. Those people would have great clients.

They would do great deals. What is that thing? Those people have, they have great energy.

Their energy is big. And they all make money. And at the time, I was definitely not making money.

I was making negative money. And so that must be big money energy. And it just sort of stuck as a thing.

And so during quarantine, I kind of brought that up. And it stuck again. And so it just became that the thing that I wanted it to grow the book out of.

That's really where it started. How would you describe your relationship to money then versus now? How you think about it?

How it moves through your life? What the priority is of it? How do you perceive it?

What's your relationship with it, then and now? When I didn't have money, money represented freedom. It represented the lack of worry, because I wouldn't have to be worried about bills, food, rent.

Next month was always that thing. When you can't afford rent or your bills, it's not just the money that makes you nervous, it's next month that makes you nervous. So you start to get nervous and sick with time.

You're counting the days. So it's not the actual dollars, it's the time that gets to you. And I wanted freedom from having that clock just ticking above me every day, waiting for the 1st of the month, or the 15th of the month.

It was brutal. Now, now, money is a tool. Now, money is a tool.

And it's a resource. And yes, it provides freedom. But it also enables me to do what I want to do.

To grow a business, for example, to kind of-- blew up my whole life in the middle of quarantine and started a real estate brokerage in a city where everyone left in the middle of a pandemic. In part, because I have the money to be able to make that happen as a resource. So my relationship with it has definitely, definitely changed, given the work that I've put into it to make the money over the last decade.

How do you decouple your self-worth and your identity from money? Because I think a lot of people have a very difficult time, if they are closer to where you were when you started, if they're carrying debt, if they're not earning what they want to be earning, it's one thing to get to a place where, financially, you're more secure, but how do you sort of inhabit that confidence and have that self-worth when you're still on the way? Yeah, unless you're an executive in a publicly traded company where your net worth is very, very public, no one walks around with their checking account tattooed to their forehead.

It's when you don't have money that you focus on the money. When you have money, you don't focus on it as much. Kind of like I said, it's not-- you're not checking your bank account every day, because you don't need to.

And you are focused on the money as a resource. You're focus on growth. Do more, what are we going-- what am I going to do?

How can I be happier? Happiness becomes a much bigger thing. And so you have to realize that you're the only one who's focused on you not having money.

The only person that is really, maybe your parents, is you, right, is the person in the mirror. So if you're worried, that worry is that energy that you have. Right, you have a worried energy.

And if you ask somebody, hey, what kind of person am I? What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses?

That friend or that co-worker might tell you, you're kind of worried all the time. You're a really anxious person. And it might come down to that ticking clock, or that money that makes you nervous.

But it's just a perception. It's not real. Not having the money is definitely real.

But you're not going to get more money by being worried about it all the time. And that was a big light bulb moment for me. That was a big shift.

I was having such a hard time with clients in the city. Remember, real estate agents, there's no salary. There's no benefits.

It's eat what you kill, or be killed. And I was having a hard time closing deals. And I think it was because I had kind of desperation on my face.

And I wanted every deal so bad, because I was so worried about it. I was like, oh, this person better rent that apartment, because I need that $1,000. And when you feel like that, you look like that.

And that ends up becoming the energy you put out the world. But then I had a client reach out to me from China. And her name is Jun Shen.

And she reached out, she found me on the internet, just randomly on my profile. And said she was coming to New York to find an investment property for her daughter, who wasn't even born yet, by the way, because that's how you do it. And I said to myself, at the time, and this was 11 years ago, almost 12 years ago, Jun doesn't know who I am.

She knows nothing about me. I'm going to be the person I want to be in a year from now. I'm going to be the person with good money energy, with big money energy.

I'm going to be that successful real estate agent that she thinks that she's coming to work with, not the one who's desperate for $1,000. And I did my research on where she wanted to be. I prepared.

I was confident about what I knew. I did everything I possibly could. I shined my shoes, which isn't expensive.

I got my suit dry cleaned, the one suit that I owned. And when she showed up, I believed that I was the greatest real estate agent in the world. And she was client number 10 of that month, who I was doing a large deal with.

And she ended up buying with me for $2.1 million. I'd never done a deal like that before in my entire life. Now was it 1,000% because I just sort of changed my energy and adjusted my version of myself?

No. But I think it played a massive, massive role. And I don't know if she would have bought through desperate Ryan.

That might have made her uncomfortable. And she might have just gone and hired another agent, the way a lot of my first missed deals would have. Well, shout out to that baby who's a millionaire in utero.

So what about the book? I got, obviously, I have your sort of key takeaways from the book. But I won't spoil them.

From you to our audience, what are the most important things-- you have a code here that you put out in terms of things people must do to convey that energy, to sort of walk into the room with confidence. And I think-- and you did mention this, but I think it's worth repeating that, yes, some of it can be financial, but a lot of it is also professional, in terms of feeling that you deserve to be in the room, feeling that you deserve to get the job, you deserve to get the salary. What are some of those crucial codes for people for embodying that energy?

Yeah, we have a whole lot of codes that we kind of put together and that I wrote and put throughout the book, as well as mantras. And I think, before even going into the codes, it's important to-- I find, anyway, what works for me, to have a good mantra that works for you to get your mind ready. Every day, in my mind anyway, is a race.

You're going to wake up every day. You just don't know what type of race you're going to run. It's going to be a sprint.

It's going to be a marathon. It's going to be hurdles. Maybe you got a really difficult day, and that's going to be a brutal race.

But you have to prepare your mind for it. And the mantra that I've always said, and we go into different types of mantras, and mantras that work for you in the book. But one that works for me has always been ready, set, go.

And I say it-- I eve have a bracelet that says it here. An actual bracelet. I say it every day before I put my foot out the door.

And sometimes I say it out loud, if it's going to be a crazy day. Sometimes I say it in my head. And what it does, is it's really the mental and that energy fuel that your car, your body, needs to know what it's about to get into to then be successful.

Sometimes I say it really loudly. Sometimes I say it softly. But that mantra, I think, is a good warm-up for people who want to be able to walk into the room with confidence.

It's kind of the same way athletes, you see them, before games, with headphones on, they're listening to that song, that one song that just gets them going. I think from there, one of the codes on top of that is if you want to be successful, you have to present an image of success. I think that's a line from American Beauty.

I remember that one right now, just because you were talking about things that you need versus don't need. And for a long time, I thought I needed to have very expensive suits to be successful. But I didn't.

I just needed to present myself with a certain level of respect to the types of people that I wanted to work with, which in New York City, it's actually clients I deal with, for what it's worth, are people that wear suits and ties, or who dress very, very professionally. And so I needed to assimilate and be one of them. And so I found suits at a discount.

I found suits at a discount that looked great. And as long as they were clean, and as long as they fit well. You'd be surprised how many people have a hard time wearing nice, clean, well-fitting clothes.

I would not be surprised. As they're clean, and as long as they fit well, I could present an image of success that would allow the person that I was talking to in the room, or at the meeting, or the client on a street corner outside Starbucks to know me as someone who was successful. And that was OK if they worked with me.

And that I wasn't going to just be some kid, because that, at least early on in my career, was really important for me to figure out how to get around. And I get that question all the time. People just think I'm young, how do I tell them that I'm not young and actually know my stuff?

You have to present an image of confidence. You have to present an image of experience, if you want people to think you're experienced. You have to present an image of success if you want people to think you're successful.

And do that self audit. And ask for help. Ask people, how do you know me?

What do you know me as? Do you me as that kid who talks like he knows what he's doing, but he doesn't really? That's good for you to know.

And there's ways that you can fix that. Your energy is on point, Ryan. I must say, my mother, when she saw that I did your podcast, she was like, Ryan is the only nice guy on that show.

He's such a good boy. He's a great boy. So you've got the Chelsea's mother seal of approval.

So clearly you're able to know your stuff while still being a nice guy. And now the time has come to ask Ryan our famous rapid fire questions. What do you invest in versus what are you cheap about?

Obviously, I got to say, I would invest in real estate. I think it's probably one of the best investments you can make. I'm cheap about probably any other investment.

I should really get better at it. I should have listened to my friends who all told me to invest into Bitcoin a year ago. But I was too cheap and too nervous.

And now look where we are. But Bitcoin is so volatile, I wouldn't put your money there. What is your biggest current money insecurity?

Money insecurity? I'm renovating an 8,000 square foot townhouse right now that has gone, I think, triple over the budget. That one makes me nervous.

Is that for you? It's going to be great. It's going to be beautiful.

I'll figure it out. But man, oh, man. Is this for you, or is this to sell?

No, it's for me, for us to move into. Bought it three years ago, and almost done, almost there. Where's the townhouse?

It's in Brooklyn, in Boerum Hill. Very nice. Bet that has an in-unit washer.

When did you first feel successful? I don't know exactly when it was, but it was definitely when I wasn't nervous about paying rent anymore. Probably around the time I did that deal with Jun from China.

The commission on that deal, I remember, was just about $24,000. And for me, that was almost two years of rent at the time for me. And I didn't feel necessarily successful, but I felt like I'd done a successful job at doing what I set out to do with that deal.

And now, I can actually breathe. And it kind of lit a fire in me to do more of that. Right, there's got to be more Juns running around.

I could have 10 years of rent saved up. That would be crazy. And so that was an important.

I remember going to the bank with my dad that day. That was like one of those moments you remember. Those cashier's checks, never not a good feeling.

What is the big financial secret of your industry? And actually for you, I want this to be two answers. What is the big financial secret of the reality television industry and the real estate brokerage industry?

How do I answer that question? Reality television financial secret, the network makes all the money. The people on the shows don't make that much money.

People think all the time, it's so funny people will stop me on the street, and they're like, hey, you've been on TV for so long. Why are you why are you still showing apartments, man? They don't-- they pay us a stipend.

And they know that what we're getting is the exposure. So I don't have to pay for the exposure for the show. And they don't touch our business.

That's why we're on the show in the first place. But I think people think that people on reality shows can be paid a lot of money. Maybe there's a few instances where that's true.

But for the most part, no. You know who really doesn't pay? Netflix.

Oh, drag them. It's how they have so much money. They're so smart.

Reality TV, there's no union for it. So any other TV show that's scripted you've got SAG-AFTRA, right, which is the union. And a protect.

And you're paid a certain amount. They really protect their artists and everyone who's in the unions. Reality TV get anybody.

And a lot of people just work for free. And then all the advertising dollars and all the money is made by the networks. That's why there's so much reality TV.

Not just because people want it, but because it's so cheap to make. Oh, yeah, we had-- last season, we had Kelly Cutrone on the show, who did many reality TV shows, including her own. And she did like a show by show, episode by episode breakdown of what she made.

And it was a pittance, including her own show. Yeah, so, yeah, I mean, it's really everything is always driven by the financials. Like I was on a soap opera when I first came to the city.

And the soaps were canceled, because it was cheaper to make Dog the Bounty Hunter and Survivor than it was to make a single episode of As the World Turns, which would cost like $800,000. That's crazy. Crazy, crazy, craziness.

So then, I think, a financial secret of the real estate business, I mean there's so many. I don't know what are are secrets. On the brokerage side, the commissions that you see on TV are never that exact dollar amount.

And that never goes into your pocket. They get-- so when you're thinking, you're like, oh, well, my broker is going to make this much money. It's not the case.

Everything gets cut down 50 different ways. There's advertising spends. There's marketing fees.

There's all these different fees. There's the house, the brokerage. There's four other agents who are also on that listing.

And everyone gets this cut, and this cut, and that cut. So you don't just look at the agent you're dealing with with spite and thinking, well, why did I even use them? They're making x amount of dollars, 2%, 3% of what you're paying.

What's going into their pocket, if you break it down by the hour, is probably less than you might be making per hour. Yeah, I feel like both within real estate and reality television, people are making a lot less than you think they are. And often, acting like they're making more.

How do you define value? Value, to me, is timeless. So something has great value if it'll stand the test of time, whether it's something material or not.

A very valuable apartment isn't just something that's worth a lot of money today. It's something that you know this view of Central Park, this view of the water, this backyard, these ceiling heights, these are very valuable, because they're always going to be worth something to somebody. That's what valuable means to me.

Well, Ryan, it's been a pleasure. So enjoyed speaking with you. I also highly encourage people to watch the interview that I did on his podcast.

Tell us when the book comes out, where to find it, where to find you, all of that good stuff. First, thanks for having me. This has been awesome.

I know I have a lot of clients that follow you, and your podcast, and website. And they bring it up all the time. So it's so it's an honor to be here.

So thank you. That's very sweet. Big Money Energy comes out February 2, 2021.

And people can follow me anywhere that you would follow people @RyanSerhant. Like on the street, they can follow him. They do.

You could do that. And if anyone is in need of real estate help or advice anywhere in the world, you can go to, the greatest real estate brokerage in the history of the known universe. That's true, which owes me an email, I should say.

I'm waiting on an email about potentially seeing some stuff. Exciting times. All right, guys, well thank you very much.

And as always, thank you for tuning in. We will be back next Monday with an all new episode of The Financial Confessions, goodbye. [MUSIC PLAYING]