6 Actions That Will Take You Up a Level

From $4 an hour to Platinum Club in a year – here’s how one top producer found fast success (and how you can too)

By Heather R. Johnson

Shanti Ammar

She arrived in the United States with a dollar and a dream. Today, Shanti Ammar has far more than a dollar, and she’s made success her reality for more than 20 years.

Her triumphant story begins in 1994 when she stepped into her local real estate office in Queens to inquire about a receptionist position. At the time, the Guyanese immigrant was earning just $4.25 an hour in a garment factory, a tough wage for a single mother hoping for a better life in New York City.

She didn’t get the receptionist job. Instead, she was encouraged to become a real estate agent. And that’s when her life changed forever.

Studying at night and on weekends, Ammar worked tirelessly to earn her license – and soon landed her first client.

“I drove that first buyer around every night for six weeks,” Ammar remembers. “She eventually bought a house, and I earned my first commission. After that, it was as though I had the Midas touch.”

In her first year, Ammar earned six figures in commissions – enough to achieve Platinum Club. It was a far cry from the minimum wage she had been making, to say the least.

Now, more than 20 years of success later, the Lifetime Achievement recipient, Chairman’s Club member and Broker/Owner of RE/MAX 2000 in Ozone Park, New York, shares her tips for reaching the top. Even when you start at the bottom.

  1. Find your fire

“Whatever it is you’re reaching for, you have to want it bad enough to win it. Prioritize your time to stay ahead of the goal rather than catching up to it. Know what it takes each day, each week, each month to stay on pace. You may have to sacrifice happy hours for extra office hours. When you’re working, stay focused. I don’t chitchat, I don’t gossip, I don’t read magazines. If I’m in the office, I’m dedicated to real estate.”

  1. Set ambitious goals

“Always expect more from yourself. When I first joined RE/MAX, my Broker/Owner mentioned that no one in South Queens had earned Platinum Club yet. So that became my goal – and I worked every day to achieve it.”

  1. Stay connected

“Reach out to your database regularly, but rather than go for direct sales, provide useful real estate tips. My past clients are now 60 percent of my residual business. They’re like a billboard for my business.”

Reach out to your database regularly, but rather than go for direct sales, provide useful real estate tips.

  1. Maintain your drive

“Every day, I feel an urgency with my time. I never complain that I have nothing to do because I operate at the same ambitious pace I started my career with. Not everyone has to put in 80 hours a week, but it’s important to keep reaching for something more.”

  1. Be patient

“Having a strong work ethic and the willingness to give 110 percent to your client goes a long way. I became a top agent by holding my clients’ hands. I had extreme patience, and I cared. When someone asked me to jump, I asked ‘How high?’ I was oblivious to discomfort.”

  1. Don’t be a secret agent

“Be visible in your community. Your presence is your bread and butter. I became a benefactor of two temples in my neighborhood and sponsored scholarships for deserving kids. Now I’m a household name. And don’t overlook the scalable, cost-effective benefits of social media.”


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“It is in the compelling zest of high adventure and of victory, and in creative action, that man finds his supreme joys.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Thank you for sharing your valuable story!

I am very humbled to share my story with the whole Remax family. Today my meditation with Deepak and Oprah was “I want the same joy and happiness for you that I want for myself.” Every day, I am filled with optimism and the best of intentions. Let life unfold around you to find success and peace.

You are an inspiration to our people Shanti Ammar. Keep rising and lifting others up with you. Such great words of advice – these can be applied to any profession!

I am Shanti’s closest friend. Each day I see her diligence at work. She is compassionate, humble and has an inner desire to make a positive difference in the lives of the people around her. Her successes are so well deserved!

You are a woman with a strong drive you reach for the star no matter what ever comes your way. I am so proud of you and you deserve all the credit for your open mind. Keep doing what you do well God bless.

As an aspiring agent just completing my RECA schooling, it’s refreshing to hear how your drive and dedication paid off! I can’t wait to get started and thank you for your advice!

Thanks for your inspiring story and tips to succeed! I am just completing the RECA courses and find so much passion in this industry. Looking forward to getting it started!

Thanks for the added input and advice, always great to find that “kick in the pants” when you are striving for more

Thank you Shanti Ammar for the inspiration, the hands-on master plan and especially the blessings! God bless you too.

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