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Vitals: Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty
Years in Business: 96
Size: 28 offices, 950 agents
Regions Served: Queens, Nassau County and Suffolk County, N.Y.
2018 Sales Volume: $3.5 billion
2018 Transactions: 3,555

Deirdre O’Connell‘s first exposure to real estate was doing public relations for the real estate department of MetLife Insurance. But when she and her husband started a family, she wanted more control over her career and home life, so she went for her real estate license in 1991 before going to work at Thomas O’Connell and Sons, a real estate company in Manhasset, N.Y., owned by her husband’s uncle.

O’Connell experienced enough success early on to know that she liked real estate, and had the aptitude and people skills to do well in the industry.

Today, she’s CEO of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, responsible for the development of strategic initiatives and goals for the future of the highly innovative Long Island-based organization, including its recent rebranding efforts.

How did your market fare in 2018? What factors contributed to this?
Deirdre O’Connell: Without having complete year-end numbers (at press time), I would say that our Long Island market was slightly up over last year. That being said, we’re seeing an increase in inventory in some communities, with high-end properties again being slow to sell. We believe that uncertainty with regard to the midterm election, an increase in interest rates and the impact of the new tax law on the property tax exemption have all had an impact on the lack of urgency in the real estate market.

Are you planning to grow your firm in the next 12 months?
DO: It’s a very exciting time for Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty. Over the past five years, we’ve been growing our business, opening offices west into Queens and east to the Hamptons. In Nov. 2018, we opened an office in Astoria, our second in the borough of Queens.

What most sets your firm apart in the marketplace?
DO: Our long, local history in the community and our reputation for a culture of professionalism set us apart to potential clients and customers, and the cutting-edge technology, training and marketing programs that we provide to our real estate advisors makes us the agency of choice for real estate professionals.

What are the biggest challenges you’re currently facing?
DO: Our industry continues to evolve at a breakneck pace with new technologies that affect every aspect of our business. We look to invest in the best of them to increase efficiency, give our agents the training and tools they need to grow their businesses and best serve their clients and customers, and support our growth initiatives with the best sales professionals in the industry.

What are the biggest opportunities for increasing business right now?
DO: Growth into new markets, increasing the size of the salesforce, sales and marketing for new developments. We’re extremely optimistic that with Google expanding its New York operations and the millennial generation entering the housing market, that this year will be a very positive real estate year for Long Island and Queens.

Keith Loria is a contributing editor to RISMedia.