JTHS Council of the MIAMI Association of REALTORS - Jupiter, Tequesta, Hope Sound



Miami Realtor’s Dedication to her Craft Vaults her to National Honor

by | Jul 19, 2017

By Chris Umpierre


Karen Elmir’s office sits catty-corner to one of Miami’s most successful brokers, a fact the 29-year-old Realtor takes advantage of.

“Karen is always coming into my office asking for advice,” said Alicia Cervera Lamadrid, who oversees $4.5 billion of real estate sales at Cervera Real Estate. “She’ll ask me about a marketing piece. How can I better promote this listing? Could you come to one of my events?’”

Karen Elmir’s thirst for knowledge has helped her excel at a young age in Miami real estate. Elmir was recently named to REALTOR® Magazine's 30 Under 30 Class of 2017, a prestigious honor bestowed by the bimonthly publication from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). More than 500 Realtors applied to be selected. Elmir was one of two MIAMI Association of REALTORS® members to be honored (Keller Williams Realty’s Saria Finkelstein is the other).

“From zero to everything,” Cervera Lamadrid said about Elmir, who runs Cervera Real Estate’s top-producing team with a sales volume of $17.7 million. “30 Under 30 is quite an honor. Karen has not only worked hard, but she’s been brave and bold and willing to try new things. She puts in the time and money and has very much earned this honor.”

Starting out as a Realtor

Elmir, who is the founder and CEO of an elite luxury sales group under Cervera Real Estate called The Elmir Group, said she struggled in her first five years in the industry.

This is not unusual. About 87 percent of all new agents fail after five years in the industry and only 13 percent make it, according to a 2014 NAR study.

Just 18 years old when she secured her real estate license, the Miami native threw herself completely into the craft. She took classes. She attended seminars. She leaned on experienced agents.

“I didn’t know anybody in the industry,” Elmir said. “I didn’t know anything. I had to build my database and my network every day. It was hard.”


Teaming up with Cervera

Elmir, whose client list includes A-list celebrities and Grammy-winning musicians, said her top tip for young Realtors is to team up with an experienced business and learn from them.

Like Elmir, MIAMI’s other 30 Under 30 Honoree, Keller Williams Realty Plantation’s Saria Finkelstein is also part of an established real estate brokerage (Finkelstein’s aunt is the CEO of the firm and is ranked as the top-producing Keller Williams real estate agent in Florida).

Elmir joined Cervera when she was turning 22 years old. Her career has blossomed in the ensuing years.

Elmir is successful because she treats every deal like it is a billion dollar transaction. She also puts her career first---- going to bed every night by 10:30 so she can wake up early, go for a three-mile run and be ready to work by 7 a.m.

“Karen is the first one in the office and the last to leave,” Cervera Lamadrid said.


Obsessed with Real Estate

Elmir knew she wanted to sell homes since she was 12 years old. That’s not a misprint.

“I’ve always been mature even since I was little,” Elmir said. “I always knew what I had a passion for.”

Elmir got her real estate license three months after her high school graduation in Miami. How has her fascination with the industry changed over the years?

“I’m obsessed with real estate,” Elmir said. “I love it more and more every day.”

Luxury real estate is a different and challenging subset. It takes a special kind of Realtor to excel in Miami’s ultra-competitive luxury real estate market, Cervera Lamadrid said.

“You have to become educated in the market and the profession,” Cervera Lamadrid said. “You need to understand the type of luxury client. You don’t just have to show up every day, but you have to present in a certain way and speak in a certain way. You need to know the atmosphere you are targeting. And finally you have to invest in your own career. Not just time, but money.”

Elmir has done both. Last year, Elmir hired a PR firm to introduce her as a real estate source for journalists. The media exposure from Levy Public Relations & Events helped her five-member team nearly triple their sales in 2016.


Trilingual Realtor

Elmir’s trilingual skills (she's fluent in English, Spanish and Arabic) have helped.

She learned Spanish and Arabic from her parents. Her mother, a nurse, is Cuban. Her father, an engineer, is Lebanese.

Her father, Dr. Samir Elmir, is a recognized leader in environmental and public health. Dr. Elmir has served as Miami-Dade County Health Department’s Administrator for the Division of Environmental Health and Engineering since 1994. Dr. Elmir received his Baccalaureate Degree in Civil Engineering at the Beirut Arabic University in 1985. He completed Masters and Doctoral Degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Miami in 1989 and 2006.

Dr. Elmir serves as The Elmir Group’s vice CEO and co-founder.

Karen Elmir said she is using her Arabic more in the past two years as Miami attracts a more diverse group of international buyers.

“I just used Arabic a couple of months ago when I was selling to a group of Arabs a couple of units in East Edgewater,” Karen Elmir said. “They were looking for preconstruction units for investments.”

Cervera Lamadrid believes Karen Elmir will carry her success because she is willing to take direction and adapt. It is that ability that helps her grow.

“Karen has always been beautiful, but she’s evolved in her personal presentation,” Cervera Lamadrid said. “She takes direction. So many times, Realtors aren’t willing to take direction. Karen has the confidence and maturity to do that.”



MIAMI Association of REALTORS® 30 Under 30 WINNERS

Realtor                                                                          City                                                                          Office                                                                                                      Year

Karen Elmir                         Miami                                   Cervera Real Estate Inc.                                        2017

Saria Finkelstein               Plantation                           Keller Williams Partners                                             2017

Nelson Duque                   Miami                                   Fortune International Realty                                     2015

Paul King                          Sunny Isles Beach               IST Realty                                                                2011

Frank Rodriguez               Miami                                   Citigroup Realty, Inc.                                               2007

Viktoria Telek                    Miami Beach                      Rise Realty                                                                 2006

Katrina S. Campins           Coral Gables                       K Real Estate Group                                                   2004

Kimberly Gomberg          Coral Gables                       Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate                   2003

Miguel Flores                     Coral Gables                       Platinum Properties International Inc.                      2003

Robert Meneses              Miami                                   Westvest Associates Inc.                                             2002

*NOTE: Offices are where the Realtors were working at the time of selection

See a complete database of winners at: http://realtormag.realtor.org/30-under-30/map



Name: Karen Elmir

Age: 29

Company: The founder and CEO of an elite luxury sales group under Cervera Real Estate called The Elmir Group

Association: MIAMI Association of REALTORS® (MIAMI)

Fun fact: Karen is trilingual (English, Spanish and Arabic)

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