Gary L. Malin, Citi Habitats

Gary L. Malin

Hospitality and Customer Service

Editors’ Note

Gary Malin is the principal figure in the day-to-day operations, strategic planning, and overall vision for one of New York City’s largest and most successful real estate brokerages. In this role, Malin leads the firm’s marketing and public relations initiatives; builds alliances with key real estate entities and professionals; and directs Citi Habitats’ affiliates. He built the company’s corporate relocation arm, Citi Relocation, from the ground up, and also oversees Citi Habitats’ New Development Marketing division. Malin earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and his law degree from Tulane University. A licensed attorney, he is also a member of the Real Estate Board of New York.

Company Brief

The industry’s undisputed rental leader, Citi Habitats (citihabitats.com), maintains the city’s largest database of more than 8,000 rental listings, many of which are exclusive. The firm is proud to provide a well-rounded suite of services, and is also consistently recognized as one of the top 10 sales brokerages in New York City. Since it opened in 1994, the company has grown to more than 600 licensed professionals and staff. The firm’s unparalleled ability to help clients, regardless of whether they are renting, buying, or selling a home, defines Citi Habitats as one of the leading real estate companies in New York City.

What has been the secret to the success of Citi Habitats?

We completely understand and respect the rental process in New York City, and we know that rentals often lead to sales. If we treat rental clients with respect, they will likely rent with us again, and when they’re going to buy and sell, it will be with us.

We take hospitality and customer service very seriously. Many other companies focus on sales and only do rentals as an accommodation. They don’t have a platform that allows agents to work equally with rentals and sales with the goal of helping clients find the best housing solution.

How do you define your role as it relates to the agent? What do you need to do to make sure agents succeed?

We place a heavy emphasis on agent education. We offer training for new agents and we also provide countless hours of continuing education at our training facility or in the offices themselves. The best advice for agents comes from people who have walked in their shoes and we encourage managers to act as mentors.

It’s our responsibility to give our staff as much training as possible to help them build their future careers. It starts with hospitality and customer service. We always aim to exceed client expectations, at every level of the organization.

I speak with agents about creating a business plan. It’s important when starting your own business, as agents are, to put down goals in writing and to hold oneself accountable.

Is it still important to have brick-and-mortar offices?

We have taken a page from the tech world and our offices now have open conference rooms, lounges, phone booth rooms, and virtual desks. We have state-of-the-art workspaces that the agents truly take pride in working from and showing off to clients. It’s important to have a place to bring people together. Physical offices still have a place in the brokerage world, but how we build these offices has changed.•