Talia McKinney is a hard worker.
In the early aughts, she made a name for herself as a triathlete at Penn Manor High School, swimming and running cross country and track. After graduating high school in 2002, she continued on to Kutztown University where she ran on the track state team and graduated with a degree in communications and a public relations minor.
And most recently?
She sold a $5.6 million apartment in South Street Seaport, New York, setting a record in the neighborhood for highest price sold per square feet.
But that was just a typical Thursday for McKinney.
McKinney is a real estate agent at the Serhant Team, 2018’s No. 1 real estate team in New York and No. 3 in the country, according to Real Trends, a consulting and communications company specializing in the residential brokerage and housing industries.
In 2018 alone, the Serhant Team sold a total of $721,968,012.45 in listings, Real Trends said.
The Serhant Team, owned by Ryan Serhant, is well-known due to its work on the BravoTV show “Million Dollar Listing New York.” McKinney said she has appeared on several episodes of the show.
Of McKinney's record-breaking sale, Serhant said on Instagram: “She worked harder than anyone, yes. She persevered above everything, that’s for sure.”
Serhant also wrote that he had pitched the same listing in 2016 and lost it. McKinney had the listing for three months before selling it.
McKinney joined The Serhant Team in 2016, 10 years after arriving in New York.
Before working for the No. 1 real estate team in New York, McKinney said struggled to find where she “clicked.”
She said she pursued jobs in public relations at People’s Revolution, a business management consultant, and as a representative for a TV star, but found she wasn’t passionate about working in the field.
She then worked in bars and restaurants, and traveled the world, trying to figure out her place in the world, she said.
But then, a friend suggested that McKinney earn her real estate license.
And so she did, and became a licensed real estate agent in 2014.
For two years after getting her license, McKinney pursued commercial real estate, but said she didn’t find it engaging.
She said that she dreamed of working in residential real estate on Serhant’s team, and helping clients make the “biggest purchase” of their lives.
And so McKinney reached out to Serhant via email — it was a shot in the dark, as Serhant receives thousands of emails from applicants. But McKinney was persistent and kept following up with him for months until she was offered a position, she said.
Her mother, Sally McKinney, said that McKinney’s job as a real estate agent “fits her personality,” though she had never expected her daughter to pursue such a career.
Aside from attending the yearly Parade of Homes, McKinney never expressed any interest in real estate as a child, her mother said.
But now, McKinney likens her career to a dream.
The former triathlete said she’s naturally ambitious and that the competitive real estate market is a perfect fit for her.
“There’s endless opportunities” for success, McKinney said.
And she gets to help clients find their home in New York City.
"I love it more than I thought I would," she said.
“Is this real?” McKinney said she often finds herself thinking.