“Integrity, vigorous work ethic, and a strategic business approach,” form the platform that Candice Milano and Malessa Rambarran bring as brokers to the NYC real estate world. But there’s no “broker babble” here. The duo–who recently joined Halstead as the Milano-Rambarran Team–consider themselves the “next generation of real estate,” forming important relationships with their new development clients and growing their luxury resale business. But what sets them apart the most is their mission to bring this knowledge of how to use real estate as a wealth building tool to the public, specifically women. They’ve even created their own platform, Women in Residential Real Estate (WIRRE) to foster this community and connect people through their series of curated events. Ahead, 6sqft chats with Candice and Malessa about how their approach, how they got into real estate, and why it’s so important to support fellow females.
How did you get into real estate?
Candice: When I graduated from Pace University here in NYC with two degrees in Business Management and Spanish, I knew I didn’t want to pursue the corporate world. I was much more entrepreneurial and began to think about how I would create wealth for myself. Although no one in my family was involved in real estate, I became curious about investing in real estate as a way to grow passive income. As I began diving in and self-educating about the industry, I met an owner of a boutique real estate brokerage firm who advised that I should get my real estate license and learn the business in order to make better investments. Within a month, I was officially licensed and began working as an agent. It was an instant fit for me and I haven’t looked back since.
Malessa: I got into real estate after I purchased my first home. I realized there was a need for professionals who are both knowledgeable and can provide guidance to buyers, especially first-time homebuyers. I have also always been interested in design and architecture, so this was a natural transition for me. I joined a team that specialized in new developments and after two years, I branched out and started my own team with Candice. I am very fortunate to be able to work with architects and designers firsthand as this is an important part of the planning and design phase of our projects. Candice and I also founded a platform called Women In Residential Real Estate (WIRRE). This is a platform that seeks to educate and empower our clients on how to use real estate as a wealth building tool. Going back to why I started real estate, these two important aspects of what we do have been able to help me realize my initial goals for getting into the industry.
Tell us more about WIRRE.
Candice and Malessa: The mission of the platform is to educate and empower individuals on how to use real estate as a wealth building tool. Real estate investment is a powerful tool and many of the wealthiest individuals in the world accredit their wealth to their savvy business decisions in real estate. We have acquired the knowledge on how to create wealth through real estate and we want to make it available and applicable to all so that people, and specifically women, can become financially independent.
This is 2018, and it’s so important in the cultural landscape of today for women to be empowered. One of the ways this can be achieved is through financial independence. While the trends for single female homeowners are on the rise, they still only represent 17% of all homebuyers in 2017. In just one year’s time, WIRRE has amassed a following of 18,000 NYC residents. We are overwhelmed by the support and impact it’s made in such a short time.
Why did you decide to start working together?
Candice and Malessa: We met while working on the same team early on in our career. This was very beneficial as it built the foundation for our working relationship and friendship. We spent two years working very closely together where we were intensely trained on both luxury resales and new developments. Working with such a high volume of transactions, significantly shortened our learning curve. After gaining considerable experience and building our own book of business, we decided to make the bold decision to leave and branch out on our own. In a 24/7 business like real estate, it’s important to have a partner who can support you.
What quality do you value most about your partner?
Candice: Malessa possesses many qualities that I admire and value which is why I am so fortunate to be teamed up with her. She dreams big and has clear visions of our business and career trajectories. She personifies the saying “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” I admire the boldness and confidence she exudes as we continue on our pursuit to revolutionize our industry.
Malessa: Candice is the epitome of a perfect partner. She is strong, supportive, smart and tenacious. Her innate ability to execute our business plan has been extraordinary. In a business as dynamic and tumultuous as ours, I am beyond fortunate to have her by my side on this incredible journey.
What was the hardest thing about the NYC market to get used to?
Candice and Malessa: The NYC real estate market is very fast paced and competitive. If you’re not on top of your game, there’s a long line of agents waiting to take that business from you. The stakes are high and there is little to no room for error. Thus, we hold ourselves and our team to a very high standard of performance and professionalism in order to succeed.
What advice would you give to a first-time home buyer in NYC?
Candice and Malessa: The process of purchasing one’s first home can be very complex and overwhelming, especially in NYC. It’s important to have the right team of specialists who can guide you through the process. If you are aligned with the right real estate agent, mortgage specialist, and real estate attorney who are knowledgeable and experienced with the nuances of the market, you will be best positioned for a smooth and successful purchase.
Battery Park City via Wiki Commons
What neighborhoods do you live in? Favorite spots in the area?
Candice: I live in Battery Park City, which has recently undergone a dramatic re-development with the opening of Brookfield Place and many other high-end shops, eateries, parks, and attractions. Living here feels like you’re in a mini suburb while still being in Manhattan. I love living near the water and enjoy dining at the waterfront restaurants with views of the yachts docked at the local pier.
Forest Hills via Flickr cc
Malessa: I live in Forest Hills, Queens. It’s sort of a hidden gem and quite dynamic! It’s the perfect balance of suburban life with a close proximity to the city (20 minutes to Midtown). I have a seven-year-old son, so for me, this is the perfect compromise for more space, and it proves to be a great reprieve from the city. My favorite part of the neighborhood is the community. Everyone is approachable and the quaint restaurants are a great treat. My favorite local spot has got to be La Boulangerie. It has the best cappuccino!
If you had to live another NYC neighborhood, what would it be?
Candice: I have an affection for loft spaces with high ceilings and a lot of character. These types of homes are generally found in Soho or Tribeca, which is where I can see myself living next.
Malessa: I’ve been particularly drawn to charm and history recently. It would have to have views, light, and a great school district. That said, I am not neighborhood loyal, I just need to have that criteria met. It’s a good thing I know two great brokers! 🙂
Photo © Daxiao Productions – Fotolio
What do you think is the biggest factor affecting the market right now?
Candice and Malessa: There are several factors currently impacting the NYC real estate market, among them rising interest rates. We have seen a 7.1% decline in new mortgage applications since the recent surge. There has also been a decline in foreign investments which has had an adverse effect on the NYC market, specifically the luxury sector.
What’s the biggest change you think we can expect to see over the next five years?
Candice and Malessa: Over the next few years, we believe that NYC residents will continue to see the development of emerging neighborhoods evolve, particularly in the Bronx. Developers are actively acquiring property there and beginning to slowly rebrand the borough. We also will see a shift from ultra-luxury new construction to more “affordably priced” condos known as “attainable luxury.” Units priced between $1-3 million along with smaller, more efficient units will increasingly be in demand.
You recently made the move to Halstead, which not too long ago underwent a rebranding. What drew you to the firm?
Candice and Malessa: We feel in our business change is an essential element of growth. For us, it’s very important to be in an environment where we feel our business plan is being supported. We have a very innovative approach to real estate and we feel our values and brand better align with Halstead.
What do you hope to bring to the company?
Candice and Malessa: Given that we represent the next generation of real estate, we’re not only bringing our innovative approach to the business, but also our new and fresh outlook on how to improve existing methods for selling. This has helped us differentiate from our competition and we look forward to growing our thriving business at Halstead.
Any exciting upcoming projects you can tell us about?
Candice and Malessa: We have not launched our next project as of yet, but will soon be bringing to market an exciting new development in Downtown Manhattan. The offering classifies as attainable luxury, which is currently the most active sector of the market. We also believe the project will be very successful, as it’s increasingly difficult to find new product that is still attainable in this part of Manhattan.