It’s been more than a decade since Joshua Lieberman left a successful career in sales to embark on an even more successful career in real estate. Ever since he has made a name for himself in the highly competitive NYC Real Estate market. As the son of a real estate attorney with a passion for creating relationships and a love for New York City, the writing was on the wall: this was the career for him. The three-time winner of Douglas Elliman’s Pinnacle Award looks back on that first professional pivot as the result of “a natural progression.” Now, that instinct for seizing the right moment to make a change has led him to a new chapter in his career—as the founder and principal of The Lieberman Team. He spoke with Elliman Insider about scaling his business, building a well-rounded team, and what makes Douglas Elliman a great place to work.
Given your career arc, you clearly have a passion for sales. What do you love about it?
I’m a people person, so what better job to have than real estate? I get to work with people from all walks of life. I love that I get to wake up and every day is different. There are always new deals to be had, and regardless of the challenges that come, I love finding innovative solutions for my clients, being creative and strategic, and just going the extra mile to help each person secure their goals. For me, it’s not just another property or listing—each one is an opportunity to do and learn something new and a chance to create a lasting relationship.
Are there any moments in your career—deals you’ve closed or challenges you’ve overcome—that really exemplify your passion for real estate?
Aside from the privilege of selling properties in some of New York City’s most iconic buildings—like Renzo Piano’s 565 Broome, the Woolworth Tower and my current penthouse listing at the top of The Ritz-Carlton Battery Park, at 10 West Street, with some of the most incredible 360-degree views—I would say pivoting my business during COVID was an especially memorable moment. I had to come up with creative ways to deliver a great virtual experience for my clients at a time when we weren’t able to show properties in person. I’m really proud that I was able to secure some incredible deals during quarantine—sight unseen. Building trust with clients is critical in normal times, so it was especially gratifying to be able to establish that while giving a virtual tour of a property or just communicating with so little face-to-face time.
What made you decide that now was the right time to launch a team?
After many years of building a successful business on my own, I felt like it was a natural next step to further build my brand and elevate the kind of full-service, luxury real estate experience I’ve always strived to provide for my clients. I felt that the best way to do that was to assemble a team of stellar agents who share not only the same passion I have for real estate, but also the same values, the same work ethic, the same dedication to honesty and integrity.
I am also passionate about the team being well-rounded and one thing that sets us apart is having agents who are fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. That really broadens our reach to international clients. We also have a multigenerational team, so depending on what clients may be looking for, we really have someone for everyone, and ultimately, when a client hires an agent on The Lieberman Team, they’re going to get the full support of the entire team.
From an operational standpoint, what has it been like to go from an independent agent to leading a team?
It’s really been a matter of transitioning my individual business into a full-blown business. Our Director of Operations, who’s a former asset management attorney, handles all of the finances, the marketing, the PR, the analytics, so she can support our agents out in the field with constant market knowledge and training. That frees me up not only to focus on my business, but also to mentor and grow our team members’ business.
Being part of Douglas Elliman, we’re able to utilize the company’s resources and back-office capacity in order to grow our brand. I’m thankful for the support I’ve received as an individual broker, and now as a team leader, the marketing and management support are really invaluable. At the same time, Elliman allows their teams to be themselves and be the best we can be. That’s critical when you’re taking the risk of going from being an individual agent to building a team. I’ve felt supported each step of the way.
Obviously, Elliman’s reputation speaks for itself. No matter where you are in the world, it’s a known powerhouse. But it still feels like a small family to me. I can pick up the phone and call Howard Lorber—our Executive Chairman—and he’ll take my call, I’m incredibly grateful for that.
That kind of authenticity is so important in this business. As an agent, I’ve always strived to be authentic in building relationships with my clients. That, to me, is success—beyond closing a successful transaction and helping clients reach their goals, it’s the satisfaction of building the kind of trust and loyalty that makes a client for life. Our goal as a team is just to amplify that authenticity.