Queens resident becomes senior managing director at Modern Spaces in Long Island City

Photo courtesy of Andres Emilio Soto

Long Island City real estate firm Modern Spaces has a new leader at its helm of its sales team.

Since joining the company in November 2018, Kew Gardens Hills resident Andres Emilio Soto has quickly climbed the ranks, first as an agent and now as Modern Spaces’ new senior managing director.

Prior to working in real estate, Soto was a college student majoring in computer design and working at a hotel. He recalled that the manager at his job approached him with an opportunity to work as a “tech person” for his wife’s company.

“It happened to be a tech [position] in the real estate office of Alice F. Mason, who after meeting the owner, thought I could do more than just tech support,” Soto said. “That’s when she hired me as the office assistant and since then, I’ve never looked back.”

From there, Soto started in real estate in 2003 and has worked for companies like Keller Williams Tribeca and Exit Kingdom Realty. For the past 17 years, Soto has cemented his reputation as a “Queens real estate guru” and has sold over $10 million in real estate.

Looking back, Soto never thought that he would end up working in real estate, let alone in a  high ranking position at a renowned firm. He admitted that when he first interviewed with the company six years ago, he rejected the offer to become an agent. But during that time, he kept in touch with the company’s founder, Eric Benaim.

“There came a point when I thought about joining Modern Spaces and Eric was like, ‘Hey man, I’ve been waiting for you,'” said Soto.

“When I joined Modern Spaces, I had no intention of [being in] this position, I just came here to be an agent. But getting to know Eric [Benaim] and all the agents, they thought it would be a great fit,” he added.

When managing a team of agents, Soto said that he likes to go into every scenario and look at it from all points of view.

“I’m always willing to learn and I hope every agent at Modern Spaces is also willing to learn. Through learning, you grow and through growing you become a more experienced agent and manager,” he said.

His management style is one of support, where he backs up his agents’ ideas and asks what he can do to help. He encourages his team to come to him with all ideas, no matter how “out of the box” they may be.

“You can be a successful real estate agent in many different ways but you won’t know until you try,” Soto said. “Not every idea is going to be great but I’m here to bounce off ideas.”

Soto said that the internet age changed the way he and other companies do business. Websites and public aggregators gave buyers access to information that was previously only available to brokers.

“Now everything is on the internet so we no longer have the ‘keys to the apartment’ in that sense. But the way Queens real estate has changed is that we guide the buyer throughout the entire process,” said Soto.

Since 2008, Soto said that in addition to selling property to clients, Modern Spaces has also worked to become part of the the fabric of Long Island City. The company gives back to community and is part of local organizations that donate time and funding.

“That’s the kind of culture that Modern Spaces has. A lot of the people who work here have been living in this community for a long time. So for them, it’s not just a transaction,” he said.

Soto, a lifelong soccer fan, runs the NYCFC Nation podcast and blog, which covers the New York City FC soccer team and also enjoys traveling.