SPOTLIGHT ON: Rey Hollingsworth Falu
Mary Prenon | February 2017
Branding That’s Never Out of Style
Standing out from the crowd can always be a challenge for Realtors, but Rey Hollingsworth Falu has definitely found something that leaves an instant impact on almost everyone he meets—his bow ties! The Broker/Owner of Hollingsworth Real Estate Group in White Plains wears them just about all of the time.
“I learned to tie them from You Tube!” he admitted. “People react well to them and it actually helps me break the ice on many occasions.”
A Realtor for the past 11 years, Falu started his own firm just three years ago after working for several years with Houlihan Lawrence in Mount Vernon.
Falu grew up in New York City and is a graduate of NYU’s Stern School of Business and Cornell University. Prior to his real estate career, he served as Vice President of the Universal Business and Media School, a family-owned education company in Harlem. His mother, the firm’s president, was the first woman to own a computer school in New York.
The school offered all types of computer and secretarial courses for adults, and helped them find entry-level positions in those fields. Falu also got involved with development efforts for the family foundation, which provided funding for children’s programs, translating black history books into Spanish, an African heritage trip and more.
Falu credits his own house-hunting escapade with eventually nudging him into the real estate business. “I remember back in 2001 looking at a brownstone in Harlem that was priced at around $250,000,” he said. “I thought that was such a rip-off then, but now I’m sure it’s worth well over $1 million!”
He later moved to Mount Vernon, got his real estate license and started working part time before making real estate a full-time career. “I decided that I was going to leverage my computer background and knowledge to help my new business,” he said.
In his first year, he closed on four transactions. “The biggest one was a single-family house in New Rochelle and that was the largest single check I’d ever received,” he recalled. “At first I thought, ‘Wow, I just got a huge check and it was so easy.’ However, the next three were so difficult, and I worked so hard, but the checks were smaller. Since then I’ve learned it’s all hard work!”
Falu also created a newsletter for his customers and potential clients, growing his e-mail list to more than 11,000 people.
In 2013, he decided to venture out on his own and has never looked back. Today, he has eight people working in his office. Falu has been recognized with Excellence in Sales Awards every year since 2006 and for three years in a row as a “Five Star Real Estate Agent and “Best of Trulia” awardee.
Falu is also a new HGAR Director for 2017. He decided to get involved with the HGAR Board of Directors after attending an annual NAR conference. “I remember seeing only one black person in leadership there so I asked him how he did that,” said Falu. “He told me to join the local board and get involved and to learn as much as you can to improve your business. Then I started going to Members Day, Lobby Day and other events and someone called and asked me about being a director.”
Over the past 11 years, he believes the role of Realtors has changed, and will continue to change. “People are using technology to find properties now and they’re relying on their phones more for e-mail and text communications,” he added.
About a third of Falu’s business is from New York City, as young families look to the suburbs for bigger spaces and yards. He’s had his share of memorable experiences over the years and makes it a point to always knock and announce himself before entering a property for sale. “I remember one time when I was showing a house and the guy didn’t hear me because he was deaf,” he said. “I came into the kitchen and there he was in his underwear cutting up fruit. My clients got scared and ran out!”
His advice to real estate novices—put your goals down on paper and the dates you want to accomplish them. “Also, don’t be afraid to bother the hell out of anyone who can help you achieve them!” he added.
Falu also serves as vice president of the Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce, where he has been involved for about 10 years. He has two grown teenage sons and also likes to run 5Ks in his spare time.
He’s looking forward to a strong real estate market for 2017, and yes, he does plan to continue wearing bow ties as part of his personal branding.