Warburg-1Inspired by a sense of family legacy, commitment to charity, honesty, and hard work, Frederick Warburg Peters of Warburg Realty has created great relationships and worked hard to keep his firm in the forefront of the real estate market in New York. Warburg Realty, while known for having a reputation for knowledge and integrity, is also pushing for more collaboration and transparency within this industry, which can be seen by the firm’s highly intelligent, organized, intuitive, and committed agents. His management has brought out the best in people, as he encourages them every step of the way.

To the reader, you might be thinking, well, when you think of real estate, you think of real estate, but in our interview with Frederick Warburg Peters it’s so much more than that. As your read on, tune your attention to his leadership and how he handled one of his most challenging moments in his career. There’s something to be learned by his efforts towards building a brighter future within the real estate industry.

01 | When did you know you wanted to enter the real estate industry?
Real estate never occurred to me as a career until my wife and I bought our apartment in 1977 and I found the process fascinating. Then a year or two later, knowing how interested I had become, she bought me a book of floorplans. That was it! I was hooked and got my license within six months.

02 | How do you think the brokerage community is viewed? How do you think it should be viewed?
Over the years the public perception of real estate brokers has tended to be about on par with used car salesmen. But our job requires a high degree of skill and trust and it has been a personal commitment of mine throughout my career to try to elevate our standing in the community. The best agents are highly intelligent, organized, intuitive, and available around the clock.

03 | How do you use your influence within the brokerage community, and how do you plan to use it in the future?
I am committed to making our community as transparent and collaborative as possible. We are competitors but at the same time we need to work together to address issues which impact both our agents and the consumers who depend on us. Over the years, organizing the New York City brokerage community has been like herding cats, but I remain committed to working towards a greater sense of community and mutual respect.

04 | Over the years, how did you develop your leadership style?
For better or worse, my style has been fundamentally the same throughout my career: I look for the best in people and try to encourage it. I think the years have made me a better judge of character and imparted a greater sense of comfort in trusting my instincts. But I will always lead with the carrot rather than the stick.

05 | What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment throughout your career?
I believe we are a firm with a reputation for knowledge and integrity. We take our work seriously and feel deeply committed to creating an excellent experience for every participant in transactions we broker. That reputation makes me proud.

06 | Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by a sense of family legacy-a multi-generational commitment to charity, honesty, and hard work. And of course I am inspired by my own immediate family – nothing matters to me more than making them proud.

07 | What charities are you currently involved in?
My not-for-profit work has always been in the arts, especially music. I am the Board chair of two arts organizations: New Music USA, which is the country’s largest composer advocacy group (a bit like being the biggest city in Lithuania!), and Beth Morrison Projects, which produces new opera all over the country. I am on the Advisory Boards of the New York Foundation for the Arts and the American Opera Center. I am on the executive committee of REBNY and also serve on the Residential Committee Board of Directors. There may be more, but if there is I cannot remember it at the moment!

08 | What has been the biggest challenge you faced and how did you overcome it.
The 2008 recession was definitely our biggest challenge. We had to let go of staff and close two offices to make sure we remained financially sound. It has never become easy for me to dismiss people since I feel such a strong sense of personal responsibility to those who have cast their professional lot with Warburg. And it was a scary time in our business. I acted quickly and decisively and that made a big difference for us.

09 | What advice would you give to young people in the real estate / brokerage community today?
Ours is a relationship business. Technology is a significant tool, but don’t make the mistake of believing that it can take the place of relationship building. Trust and confidence don’t get built through an exchange of texts or e-mail messages. They require actual human contact.

That, and you have to be prepared to work very hard and manage a good deal of disappointment. There is a lot of heartbreak in our business, and no one avoids it. So you need to be able to dust yourself off after your deal falls apart at the 11th hour and get back in the saddle.

Finally, it’s a service business. There is no room for entitlement.

At Conscious, we are inspired by remarkable people and organizations, and so we set out to tell stories that highlight global initiatives, innovation, community development, and social impact. You can read more stories like this when you subscribe.