A little over a decade ago, Douglas Elliman’s Eileen Dale Rappaport was a high-flying, jet-setter of the corporate fashion world, dropping anything at a moment’s notice to hop on a plane to one far flung destination or another. But when her daughter arrived in 2010, all that changed. Suddenly “the idea of traveling for business was daunting,” Eileen said. Ultimately she decided to switch careers to real estate and has never looked back.
Elliman Insider caught up with Eileen to delve a bit more into her background, find out her advice for new agents and her trick to staying grounded when the going gets tough.
Elliman Insider: You were formerly in fashion. When did you know that real estate was your calling? How did you make the switch?
Eileen Dale Rappaport: In my fashion days, I was traveling constantly and it was a necessary part of building that business. Flying, staying in nice hotels, and eating out all the time was fun and exciting when I was carefree (and child-free!). When my daughter Lily Kate arrived in 2010, and I went back to work – the idea of traveling for business was daunting. At that point, I knew I needed to run my own business and stay local.
After buying and selling a few NYC co-ops, I had a feeling that real estate would be a natural extension of my 20+ year sales career, and it also felt so much more meaningful and relevant at the time because many of my friends and acquaintances were moving for one reason or another. So, I went for it – and I am so glad I did!
EI: You’re a native New Yorker. How does that give you a leg-up you think?
EDR: Spending most of my life in the New York area definitely helped me to “jump start” my real estate career. I’ve lived on the Upper West Side for 25 years, so I’ve been comfortable here for a long time. I love to venture out on nights and weekends, and over the years, I’ve become very familiar with pretty much every neighborhood of this amazing city. I also grew up really close by, in Rockville Centre, NY (just 33 minutes on the LIRR!). So, a big part of my network is here and that has helped me to build my sphere of influence.
EI: What has been your biggest challenge as an agent? How have you overcome it?
EDR: My biggest challenge as an agent has been patience. Unlike most jobs where you get a paycheck, you have to start in real estate with baby steps and no pay until you close a deal. Take every job you can get, do it well, and learn from it. When the market stood still during Covid, it was another reminder that our business ebbs and flows. Now that my business is growing consistently, I know that patience pays off. Plus, I have the best business partner ever in Cindy Rachlin, and we keep one another grounded and sane.
EI: Why did you choose Elliman?
EDR: I was lucky enough to be introduced to [Douglas Elliman Sales Managers] John Lawrence and Jeff Rothstein on the Upper West Side. Once I spoke with them, and felt the incredible energy in the Westside office, I knew Elliman was the place for me. Also, Elliman was the name I associated with NYC real estate, even before I came into the business.
EI: Do you live by a personal mantra or favorite saying?
EDR: Do It With Passion Or Not At All.
EI: Any advice for new agents?
EDR: My winning formula has been: Always be working, networking, marketing, and moving forward. If you do those things from the beginning and consistently, you will be successful! Even if you think you have nothing to do, come to the office, organize your contacts, call people. You need to keep it moving and eventually, it all kicks in.
EI: Where can we find you when you’re not working?
EDR: I am athletic, so my day starts by either running a 5K or playing an hour of tennis in Central Park. I enjoy raising money for various foundations and organizations that are helping people. Favorites include The Ellen Hermanson Foundation, Cycle For Survival, and God’s Love We Deliver. Most importantly, I spend as much time as I can with my 11-year old daughter, Lily Kate. Whether we are exploring overseas (most recently South Africa and Florence, Italy), hitting East End beaches over the summer, or enjoying brunch in Soho, our focus is on fun!