Leaders in luxury: Leslie McElwreath


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Of all the Gilded Age mansions that grace the coveted communities of Greenwich, Connecticut, Copper Beech Farm stands apart. Not only is it the largest, but it’s legendary for its bucolic setting, storied history and unrivaled grandeur. So, of course, when it came up for sale in 2023, the luxury real estate world took notice, and of course, Leslie McElwreath was trusted to oversee it.

“The opportunity to represent the Great Estates of Greenwich is meaningful, and they’re always my favorite transactions,” she says. “Many of these properties have been in the same family for generations and — to the delight of many — are being seen for the first time. I am not actually looking for just a buyer, but the next steward of a piece of Greenwich history.”

Once the sale closed for $138,830,000, it set a Connecticut record, made history as one of the most expensive real estate transactions ever in the United States, and joined a long line of prestigious Gold Coast properties McElwreath has sold. Rockfields. Sabine Farm. Old Mill Farm. Dunellen Hall. The list goes on, encompassing more than $1.625 billion in lifetime sales and earning her the distinction of being one of the top luxury real estate agents worldwide.

How does she do it? Here, McElwreath shares her insights and experiences for how to win in the demanding yet ever-exciting and rewarding luxury real estate industry.

Farewell Manhattan, Hello Belle Haven

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Leslie McElwreath – Sotheby’s International Realty – Greenwich Brokerage

When McElwreath’s sale of Copper Beech Farm added to her impressive $386 million in sales for 2023 and helped net her the title of top Sotheby’s International Realty agent for that year, it was the latest in a series of business successes that extend back to when she was an executive on Wall Street.

“I ran the Fixed Income Desk at the JP Morgan Private Bank prior to beginning my career in real estate,” she recounts. The transition to becoming a Senior Global Real Estate Advisor with Sotheby’s International Realty was intuitive. “It was a very natural progression into luxury real estate, as I’ve always worked with high-net-worth individuals and their investments. As a realtor, I’m with the same clientele but focusing on a different asset class, and residential real estate is a much more interesting investment.”

And while selling the Great Estates of Connecticut’s Gilded Age is always a thrill, McElwreath’s top priority is understanding the client’s unique needs, goals and perspectives, then securing the best possible outcome for them. “I believe all transactions are important no matter the size,” she says. “It’s important to remember that they’re all of the utmost importance to the client.”

A luxury brand that knows no borders

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Leslie McElwreath – Sotheby’s International Realty – Greenwich Brokerage

Another boon to her success has been her affiliation with Sotheby’s International Realty, citing its unparalleled global presence. “The importance of this reach cannot be overstated in a community like Greenwich, where we consistently see a multitude of buyers from across the country and overseas,” she says.

“In addition, we have a symbiotic relationship with the Sotheby’s Auction House, where we can promote our exclusive listings to their list of 11,000 of the most affluent clients around the globe. These tools set me apart from our competition, and my results reflect these advantages.”

McElwreath has also contributed to Sotheby’s International Realty’s upcoming 2024 Mid-Year Luxury Outlook Report. “The report is an important source of up-to-the-minute real estate trends that are critical to making intelligent purchase and sale decisions,” she explains. “Many of our buyers and sellers own significant properties in other luxury markets, and their decisions are not always made with just a local purchase in mind. Knowing trends across the country — and what future trends are anticipated — can be an important data point in the decision-making process.”

Leveraging success into stewardship

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Leslie McElwreath – Sotheby’s International Realty – Greenwich Brokerage

When agents serve as representatives for clients and properties, they’re really representing their local communities, and McElwreath has always recognized the significance of giving back. That’s why she dedicates a portion of every commission she earns to The Greenwich Land Trust, where she serves on the Board of Directors.

“It’s the natural beauty of our beaches, parks and woodlands that sets us apart from other communities,” she explains. “The Greenwich Land Trust has helped preserve over 1,000 acres in Greenwich, and this important work benefits all residents.”

A diamond in the Gold Coast’s crown

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Leslie McElwreath – Sotheby’s International Realty – Greenwich Brokerage

Participation and investment in her community has helped make McElwreath a market leader. Though as she points out, it doesn’t hurt that her region is famous for its illustrious homes. “Real estate is big business in Greenwich, Connecticut — everyone wants to own real estate, and everyone wants to talk about real estate,” she says.

“And what could be more exciting and relevant than a career that everyone is interested in? The reality is, our careers allow us to help people and their families throughout their lives — and so if we do our job well, we contribute to the overall wellbeing of our clients and our communities.”

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