Clement, Brooks & Safier: The Leading Brokerage Team in Ulster & Dutchess

By   |     |  Real Estate Agent Guide

Buying or selling a home in the Hudson Valley used to be a much more casual affair. Even just five years ago, many of the real estate agents in the region worked independently and part-time, jumping in and out of the market as their client list waxed and waned. Even before the pandemic transformed the region’s real estate landscape, however, longtime local agents Hayes Clement, Donna Brooks, and Harris Safier noticed that there was a shift happening in the industry driven by the introduction of smaller, closely knit brokerage teams who could collaborate instead of compete. At the end of 2019, they founded one of the Hudson Valley’s first brokerage teams, the Clement, Brooks & Safier team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hudson Valley Properties with the goal of pooling their collective 60 years of experience and providing a greater whole for their clients and colleagues alike.

Though somewhat novel, the brokerage team approach to real estate has been gaining traction in recent years and now accounts for 26 percent of realtors. The efficacy of the Clement, Brooks & Safier approach—a blending of the principals’ diverse skill sets and increased efficiency, adaptability, and support—has been undeniable. Last year alone, they wrote or closed more than $104 million in sales, making them the leading brokerage team in Ulster and Dutchess counties, and the number one team in the entire Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network from New York City to Rhode Island. They have set sale-price records in Kingston and the towns of Rosendale and Marbletown, and have closed deals even in the most heated multiple-offer environments.

Since its founding in 2019, the team has been setting records across Dutchess and Ulster counties.

“No one person can fulfill everything a broker needs to do successfully, and we don’t have a tremendous amount of overlap in our strengths, which gave us a strong foundation for the team,” says Brooks. “When we first started talking about becoming a team, I couldn’t find that dynamic anywhere else.”

Brooks comes to real estate with over 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, and customer service, which she honed in part at Hudson Coffee Traders, the Kingston coffee shop she owned for almost a decade before becoming an agent. Clement, a former television development executive and publisher who moved to the Hudson Valley in 2010 and became a real estate agent in 2013, brings 25 years of marketing and financial experience to the equation. Safier, a 40-plus-year veteran of the Hudson Valley real estate industry who sold his Ulster County brokerage, Westwood Metes & Bounds Realty, to Berkshire Hathaway in 2018, has always been known for his deep commitment to cultivating an atmosphere of ethics and integrity among the agents who work with him.

“Our values aligned in a really solid way, and I think that’s a lot of what sets us apart,” says Clement. “Our ethos is really about making things happen for our clients, and fixing any problem that comes our way.”

Recently listed and sold properties include 205 Kelder Road in Olivebridge.

At the team’s Kingston office, the three principals work side-by-side with their 12 agents to craft strategies for their buyers and sellers that draw from their collective experience while focusing on building expertise among the newer agents who join their team. “Most agents in a brokerage are competing against each other, but we’ve been able to really foster and cultivate a very different dynamic and a team-oriented approach where our clients really get the benefit of all of our backgrounds, ideas, expertise,” says Brooks. “I think it’s what has enabled us to take people who are newly licensed and teach them how to be successful in this industry in a way that people who are four or five years into real estate even aren’t.”

The process of collaboration can be felt from the moment a seller approaches the team about listing their home. After an initial visit to walk through the property and discuss the seller’s wants, needs, and timeframe, the listing agent meets with multiple members of the larger team to put together the strategy for the sale. It includes a fully fleshed out price opinion with a values statement about the property’s position in the market and a marketing plan that prioritizes traditional touchpoints like open houses, postcards, and press opportunities just as much as the digital avenues like email newsletters and social media that have become indispensable in recent years. “I don’t think there’s one magic bullet to getting a house sold,” says Brooks. “I think it’s about developing and executing your total plan, and that total plan is what ends up driving success.”


Staging is another area where the team goes the extra mile. They have an entire warehouse of furniture and decor for homes that need a little something extra to make marketing photos pop, and for larger projects they even work with a professional stager who can change the entire aesthetic of the interior to appeal to the ideal buyer. “Staging wasn’t really done in the Hudson Valley market much,” says Clement. “I wasn’t a big believer in it initially, but we’ve seen the dramatic difference that it can make in reducing your days on market and increasing the number of showings.”

The team’s commitment to doing right by their clients as well as other brokerages and the Hudson Valley community is baked into the way they do business. “We really believe in being active in our communities outside of real estate. Each person on the team is involved in their community in a genuine way,” Brooks says. “We also believe in fostering close relationships within the realtor community, because that is so important to our clients’ success. I once had another agent tell me that my client didn’t have the highest offer, but that they were going to accept ours because they knew I was going to make it a seamless process right up to the closing table.”

The 15-agent Clement, Brooks & Safier Team meets in person regularly to collaborate and share knowledge.

The intentional, values-based approach is one that has earned them the loyalty of repeat buyers and sellers who recognize the amount of work they put into each sale. “A lot of our clients end up being friends, and we stay in touch with each other long past their closing,” Brooks says.

“By the time Hayes came along, we had already gone through three other agents,” says Carol McCann, one of Clement’s clients who has bought and sold two houses in Ulster County with him. “He understood that the house was special. I’m sure a lot of people think that about their house, but it was a 100-year-old-home that had a really interesting history and all kinds of details that you would never find these days. When Hayes walked through the house, he really saw it, and I think that was the difference. He knew the kind of buyer who was going to like it, and he really saw what made the house unlike others.”

When McCann and her husband, who own a film production company, were ready to buy a smaller home in the Catskills, they knew exactly who to turn to. Another agent on the Clement, Brooks & Safier team was selling a house that Clement knew would be the perfect fit for the couple, and he helped them find the right local lender who understood how to look at their finances as artists and business owners. “It’s such a huge commitment,” says McCann. “You really want somebody that you’re sure is in your corner, and Hayes brings that kind of wisdom to the process.”

It’s a responsibility the team doesn’t take lightly. “What’s more intimate than someone’s home?” asks Brooks. “It’s where you spend your time and where you sleep at night and where your whole life plays out. To me, it’s a very emotional experience, aside from the financial aspect. We are privy to this window in peoples’ lives, and it’s an honor to help them walk through that.”

Featured House

Following a two-year overhaul by some of the region’s most renowned contractors and designers, the iconic Wilson Gray Homestead is ready for a stylish new chapter in its already storied life. The farmhouse, built in the early 1800s but dismantled and moved in 1915 to make way for the Ashokan Reservoir, is one of the few Ashokan-displaced houses still standing in the Hudson Valley—and now one of its most stunning, too. The iconic home, known for its signature wraparound stacked verandas, has been fully renovated in a style that respects both its architectural heritage and modern sensibilities, featuring a thoughtful and consistent balance of openness and privacy throughout three levels of space.

1078 Samsonville Road, Kerhonkson
4 Bedrooms
3.5 Baths

Clement, Brooks & Safier Team

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hudson Valley Properties
Hayes Clement
Associate Real Estate Broker
16 Hurley Avenue, Kingston
(917) 568-5226

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