The Visionary Jay Phillip Parker

Jay Parker

“Closing the transaction is just the beginning of the relationship,” says Jay Phillip Parker, CEO of Douglas Elliman’s Florida Brokerage, a mantra behind his goal to change how brokers deal with their clients, and also with one another. Jay’s mission to remold the industry has already produced one of Elliman’s most profitable offices, creating a future model for the residential sector of the property industry.

Parker started his career as an attorney in Miami who seized upon the void that existed for broker support systems in residential real estate. “I was privileged to be working with the best agents, and I became painfully aware of the lack of structured support for realtors. Unfortunately, I was not in a position to help at the time.” Four years ago, Elliman’s owner and chairman, Howard Lorber, approached Parker with a visionary new concept. Together, they identified the chance to powerfully connect agents around the country, as well as to reestablish the significant role that brokers can play in their clients’ lives. “Douglas Elliman was fortunate to have identified Jay Parker to lead our Florida expansion; his vision, determination, and steadfast commitment to professionalism have significantly contributed towards our firm’s explosive expansion throughout South Florida,” says Lorber.

Parker explains, “This was an opportunity to rebuild the industry.” Agents are trained to set as their ultimate goal a valuable connection with the client. “We focus on long-term associations built on trust,” Parker emphasizes. Imagine a relationship with your realtor that was similar to that of a financial advisor or a doctor—a trusted professional who stands by you throughout the evolving stages of your lifetime. This is Parker’s vision, one he executes with frequent touch points, such as encouraging agents to issue quarterly reports for clients to follow how the market is faring. Says Parker: “Once our client has a connection to an agent, that association extends to the entire Elliman group across the country; and, thanks to a recent partnership with Knight Frank, that relationship now extends around the globe!”

His second goal is to have agents who are better educated, more knowledgeable and have the training to deploy the Elliman network throughout the continent—a proprietary advantage that franchised realtors lack. This data-driven web of global agents has the ability to help Elliman clients identify appropriate properties in all markets, anywhere in the world. “We provide fertile ground for agents to interact,” Parker says. “The weakness with existing realtor franchises is that making a referral is not vital or incentivized; and that’s where Elliman shines. Our referral business is equally as important as the initial sale.” Thanks to the platform Parker has developed, a team of specialists can help an Elliman client in New York City find a Miami property with ease; or a Miami seller can now reach a targeted audience in Southampton or in Greenwich. Gathering this combined data and institutional knowledge can also be used to the benefit of multinational developers—a valuable commodity in South Florida, which is seeing the beginning of another long-term boom.

Further enhancing this expanded platform is the new profile of property agents entering the industry. The best realtors are no longer mom-and-pop operations that part-time people meander into as a third career. The Real Estate sector is attracting the brightest recruits from the top schools, as well as experienced professionals who understand that an agent’s career can be as rewarding as a partner in leading law firms, investment banks, or hedge funds…with far greater flexibility and independence. As Howard Lorber commented: “Jay has been effective in various aspects of leadership, but notably has attracted other like-minded professionals who have organically aligned with our company’s culture and commitment.” Parker sees this new generation of agents as a welcome peer group, and he believes that earning a license should become more rigorous as the market becomes more sophisticated. Elliman’s Florida team includes architects, bankers, and marketing managers from leading firms, plus a few top-tier real estate professionals, like Florida COO Gus Rubio, who joined Elliman from One Sotheby’s International Realty.

The tremendous expansion that Elliman has spearheaded throughout South Florida, and indeed the entire state, is testimony to the valuable tools their firm makes available to their agents. This is the foundation of Lorber’s and Parker’s vision of a cohesive, intelligent, and professional organization, poised and positioned to oversee and manage their clients’ needs. Clearly, this is a mission that raises the performance “bar” for the entire property industry.