Style File: Douglas Elliman's Seth S. Levin


Inspired by San Francisco's FrontSteps.com blog, which rated broker and realtor sexiness in a local competition, we'll be profiling real estate professionals with distinctive personal style here on Housing Watch. First up: Seth S. Levin from Douglas Elliman in New York City.

"I'm not selling big screen TVs and DVD players, I'm selling some of the most expensive real estate in the world. We owe it to our clientele to look a certain way."

Seth S. Levin
, 33, Associate Broker for Douglas Elliman

Look 1, left: Zegna suit, Thomas Pink shirt, Louis Vuitton tie, Johnston and Murphy shoes, Ferragamo belt, Panerai watch.
Look 2, right: Jai Kudo glasses, Armani blazer, Burberry shirt, Thomas Pink tie, Earnest Sewn jeans.
Location: A Seth S. Levin exclusive. 4 West 21st Street. 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom, doorman building. $1.55 million.

You're dressed sharp and looking stylish, what do we have going on here?

I have two very distinct looks: My first look, left, is typically a very sharp, traditional, tailored suit and tie. The second, right, is a more downtown hip, more edgy chic with jeans, a blazer, a tie -- always with a tie. Then I add a funkier pair of glasses.
What designers do you swear by?

For suits I only wear three designers: Canali, Zegna and Armani. I add little accoutrement here and there: Ted Baker blazers, Thomas Pink shirts and cufflinks, Armani, Gucci and Louis Vuitton ties. I love Ferragamo for belts and shoes. I have several watches, but I tend to wear my Panerai. It's young and hip.

Do you have a "money look" where you know you're closing a deal if you wear it?

I'm actually wearing my good luck outfit (left). I wear it when I pitch a new exclusive. I am 100 percent in this outfit. I don't think I've ever been turned down for a listing in this suit. I'm selling luxury, so fashion is a tool in real estate, but I also bring my negotiating skills, work ethic and knowledge of the market to the table.

Have you ever been busted wearing the lucky suit twice in front of a client?

No, I do many different variations, I have lots of outfits. I own about 20 suits. Plus, I don't pitch for listings every day. But if I did pitch for listings every day, I would get more suits.

What kind of budget do you have for this wardrobe?
I don't necessarily have a budget. When I see something I like, I buy it. Like real estate, if you like, buy it. Obviously with real estate you have to research. Fashion, is more emotional and impulse-driven.

How important is style in bringing an A-Game to potential buyer?
I'm part of the property's marketing. How I appear is as important as how I act. I try to meld my look to the property and client. But I'm always being true to myself. I like to add little accent pieces: cuff links, a nice watch. But I don't want my appearance to detract from what I'm marketing.

What are the Seth Levin fashion don'ts?
I don't like black shoes with blue suits. It drives me crazy. I've been at showings where the broker showed up in sweatpants. I couldn't believe that in a high-end market like Manhattan someone would show up in sweatpants.

Do you think hot, sexy lady brokers get more exclusives?
I believe that sex does sell and especially with really beautiful women. When I first started I was losing listings to very attractive women. Now I'm not. In the beginning, I felt being a woman had an edge, a leg up. It's an image business so appearance helps.

What is your forecast for the New York housing market?

People are pretty confident that they are getting bonuses. Transactions are flying in late December! I have three offers on the table on three properties. Between Thanksgiving and New Year's things typically slow down, but not this year. It was a slow start but now people are seeing value and want to squeeze in and take advantage.

What are the hottest neighborhoods right now?
The Flatiron District is staying pretty hot. Chelsea too. Western Chelsea is slower. There's a lot of inventory there. Trophy properties still sell if the price is right and its special. It's your regular, average inventory that you have to price aggressively to get it to move right now.

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