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Leslie McElwreath: A Master of Real Estate’s Path to Success

Last year, Leslie McElwreath solidified her position as the top realtor in Greenwich, Connecticut. Even the volatility in real estate created by a world-wide pandemic could not stop her from making groundbreaking deals in one of the most high-end markets in the United States. With her proven track record of getting optimal results, tied with the bow of her extensive background in sales and marketing and flawless customer service, one can scarcely question how she has remained the realtor queen in Greenwich for 2 years running, and one of the top ten of Sotheby’s elites of real estate in the entire country. How has Leslie achieved this remarkable feat? One might attribute some of this to her graduating with honors from Phillip Exeter Academy, then again with honors from Brown University with one degree in Economics and another in Organizational Behavior and Management. However, the time between then and now is a story of tenacity and success that has ultimately culminated in her latest and most prestigious accomplishments yet.

Leslie McElwreath began her path to becoming a titan of realty not in the real estate market surprisingly, but rather on Wall Street. There she honed her talent for sales and marketing with such firms as J.P. Morgan, Bear Stearns & Co, Drexel Burnham & Lambert, and more, for 15 years as a finance executive. More importantly, it was in this line of work where she began making contacts and learning how to communicate and make deals with Wall Street giants and master financiers. In our interview with the master herself, Leslie put it to us this way: “I was in sales and trading, so I was used to interacting with a lot of different people. I was interacting with buyers, sellers, traders, and issuers thus navigating the many personalities and expectations of people on both sides of transactions.” Although she was unaware at the time, Leslie now considers herself fortunate to have worked in finance before-hand, as these skills and contacts would later serve as her most indispensable building blocks on which her present success in real estate is now founded. Many of the buyers that enter the marketplace are in finance, so in addition to having the skill set needed, she had also grown accustomed to this specific group of purchasers, including Stan Druckenmiller, a financier of notable success. Suffice it to say that her experience as a financial executive and her superior abilities in real estate go hand in hand. 

When Leslie transitioned from Wall Street to real estate, she had no humble intentions of working her way up from the bottom, but rather aimed straight for the top. In her mind, the top was joining Sotheby’s International Realty. Alas, Sotheby’s was not hiring new agents at the time. Instead of giving up on more and settling for less, she formulated a plan: “I had to go out, join another firm, build a book of business, and then approach them when I had established myself.” And so, she did – temporarily joining William Raveis instead to build both repertoire and reputation. Ever the hard worker and quick study, Leslie made a quick turnaround, and after only a short 2 years she enacted the final phase of her plan. Taking the skills that she had developed and the reputation she had carefully poised in the market to Sotheby’s, the agency immediately welcomed her with open arms. It had always been her goal to join Sotheby’s International Realty because, as she said best, “Sotheby’s is the premier real estate company in my area, the country, and in my mind, the world.” Once Leslie finally joined Sotheby’s, her rocket to the upper echelons of the real estate game could at last begin.

Since then, Leslie has created a niche market in representing the Greenwich Great Estates, “iconic, turn of the century properties owned by famous financiers of past and present.” Her most successful and lucrative sale was a Rockefeller Estate. The Rockefellers owned several estates in Greenwich, and owned thousands of acres overall. She listed one of these great estates and it was sold very quickly, while fetching a handsome price at that. It was this sale in particular that put her in the spotlight as an expert on these types of properties and a Master of Real Estate. Her other iconic sales include Stan Druckenmiller’s estate Sabine Farm, as well as Mel Gibson’s previous estate Old Mill Farm, and Leona and Harry Helmsley’s estate Dunellen Hall, representing these historic estates and putting them in new hands with expertise and finesse.