Gennady Perepada is New York’s go-to real estate broker who curates lavish lifestyles for his elite, high-net worth clients. LUX Editor-at-Large Gauhar Kapparova finds out how he does it
Two years ago luxury real estate broker Gennady Perepada organised a surprise on behalf of one of his clients. The man had bought a family holiday home in the Hamptons, without telling his wife. “I arranged a helicopter to take them for a ride along the coastline so she could see it from the sky. He said to her, ‘Do you like this house with the pool? Well it’s already yours’. When they landed, there was a limousine with champagne waiting to pick them up,” he recalls. “It was a very romantic presentation, a personal show of this amazing property.” Yet while this particular man went to impressive lengths to show off and celebrate his purchase, many of Perepada’s clients – foreign and American high net-worth investors, who, as a rule, have a portfolio of real estate around the world – don’t even view a million-dollar apartment in person before they buy (they see a video instead).
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“My clients don’t need to come to New York to make a deal. Our lawyers are experts in international investment,” says Perepada, who set up his company, One & Only Realty Inc, eight years ago with lawyer Edward Mermelstein and thinks nothing of flying between three continents in a week for meetings. “The problem for many clients is that often they don’t have enough time – and that’s what I can give them.” Which he does, not only by finding and securing the most exclusive properties in New York and Miami but also by offering a 24/7 concierge service where no request is seemingly too obscure. “For my clients, I take care of everything from A to Z. Everything,” he emphasises. “For one family from the Middle East, I sorted out medical insurance, kindergarten for the children, connecting the cable television channels in their apartment.”
He reels off other examples. A client with a daughter studying for an MBA at New York University for whom he found an apartment and arranged a housekeeper to fill up the fridge with food every week; another who needed knee surgery so he organised a private hospital and the best doctors; the morning he spent at a dealership test driving new cars for a client’s wife. His phone is never off, and he is constantly on call, all day and all night, as his clients attest.
It’s all a far cry from 1990 when Perepada immigrated to the US with his family from Ukraine and worked as a taxi driver and as a stall holder at a flea market to survive. Looking for a career, he chose real estate because of the buzz that comes with property. He began by selling regular apartments but soon realised that he needed to find his own niche – the real estate elite. “In real estate trading, create your own market and your own clientele, do what no one else has done,” he says.
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Fast forward to today and he has 18 members of staff, including two personal assistants, looking after the needs of around 30 clients at any one time (he is currently looking at the possibility of opening offices in Dubai and London). Between them, his employees speak Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic (among other languages) to support those clients who aren’t fluent in English, and he has relationships with key property developers in both New York and Miami. “I know every building, every developer, they call me when something new and unique comes on the market because they know I have the contacts with the high net-worth buyers,” he says. “I understand the mentality of my clients and I have lots of experience with what kind of property I need to deliver for them.”
Key to his success is always anticipating his clients’ needs before they know what they want themselves. “When my clients buy a property, before they’ve even thought about it, I’ve got a team of interior designers putting together proposals down to the tiniest details, such as electric blinds, paint colours and smart-home technology.” On top of this, he also looks after real estate management, which involves everything from collecting rent on a property to repairs and full-scale renovation.
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If it sounds all-consuming, that’s because it is, but Perepada says he wouldn’t have his job any other way. “I love my job; I don’t like it, I love it. It gives me the opportunity to meet and communicate with very interesting and significant people from all over the world. My clients are normal people and they feel very comfortable with me, so they call me like a friend.” They often comment on his endless energy and enthusiasm, he says, and are so happy with the service he provides that they sometimes give him presents. “Last year, one lent me his yacht to enjoy so I spent a week during the summer in Monte Carlo.” In fact, he usually spends at least one month during the summer in the south of France, partly on holiday, partly networking.
Many clients are repeat business (his motto is “return to those who are trusted”), who enlist his services as much for the lifestyle he offers as the property he sells. “Call me, buy a nice apartment and after that I provide a luxury lifestyle,” he concludes. “Trust me and I will take care of everything.”
Find out more about Gennady Perepada’s properties and services: oneandonlyrealty.com
This article appears in the Summer 2018 issue of LUX, on sale now worldwide.