Home is now more meaningful than ever. Home is a sanctuary, it’s where we find refuge, comfort, and our loved ones. And now it’s also the office, the gym, a school, playground, and more. From Los Angeles to the Bay Area, our agents are adapting their business to serve their clients like never before — from within their own homes. In this series, we take a closer look at a day in the life of our extraordinary Compass agents in the place they know best.
1. What do you think differentiates you as an agent?
I negotiate and communicate in a way that leaves everyone in the room feeling heard. Life is a challenge, and real estate certainly is no less so. My clients quickly learn that their needs come first, and I’m always looking for the best outcome for them. I care about you even when you’re not selling. If I can guide you in the right direction, it will always be my pleasure, but my real joy is responding to the phone calls and emails from people everywhere who need specific real estate expertise and professional advice.
It’s this offer of guidance that sets me apart from other agents and brokers. I do endless hours of negotiating. It’s earned me the sobriquet The Negotiating Gentleman-Genius. But my real joy is responding to the phone calls and emails from people everywhere who need specific real estate expertise and professional advice. The cost-free calls easily add 30 hours to my work week. When the advice errs towards tax or legal, I have a comprehensive database of attorneys and tax advisors that I’m always happy to share. I’m also on nonprofit boards, where I offer my time, energy, and expertise in a variety of real estate capacities — including to agents who can call on me without obligation or cost.
2. How has this past year compared to previous years in your career?
As with everything else, Covid-19 has changed the way I handle new business. I miss the high-fives, pats on the back, and being closer to clients. But aside from that — and contrary to projections last March — WSA has had a successful year.
3. What market trends have emerged in your market in the last few months?
We were devastated when the stock market dropped 5,000 points in two days. I thought the bottom was falling out. By May, however, every sale of his that had fallen through two months prior had successfully closed. Inventory is low, demand is high, and interest rates are so cooperative. There are hundreds of buyers right now who are ready to pull the trigger.
4. What differentiates your market from other luxury markets?
I work in a 6-mile radius with the luxury market from $3,000,000 to the more expensive and exclusive parts where the luxury market starts more at $6,000,000.
The distinctive difference is land value, which in one area starts at $1,500,000 and in the more upscale area at $3,000,000. Because my markets are the densely populated areas from Venice Beach to Beverly Hills, there are a tremendous number of qualified buyers looking for new construction and recently updated homes.
5. What skill or element of your business have you found to be the most beneficial to your success?
Doing right by people, whether it will earn me a commission or not, is something I learned from my father. He’s my biggest inspiration. Having integrity, confidentiality, and honesty no matter what are basic principles that I learned from him. I’ve never looked at my commissions. If I can share my energy, knowledge and wisdom, I’m making myself a better person and enriching someone else’s life. That, to me, is success.
6. What’s the best advice you can give to a client who is trying to make a purchase decision today?
Don’t hesitate to pull the trigger if you really like the house. Almost every good house brings multiple offers. The average sale price for most homes that are realistically priced based on recent comparable sales is 106 percent of the listing price with some sales as much as 20 percent above the listing price.
7. What are sellers most concerned about right now? What’s motivating them to sell?
Sellers are watching prices escalate overnight and some are asking, how much more can prices go up and how much longer can the crazy seller’s market last?
Some sellers would rather grab their equity now rather than gamble to wait for a higher price. The “bird in the hand vs. two in the bush” mentality is a seller mentality right now.
8. What excites you the most about being a broker?
People tend to think that real estate is simply a house business, but it’s a people business. I’ve represented three generations in over 200 cases, and while I, like many agents, appreciate design, color, and decor, what I really enjoy about the business is the people. My fascination is in the way they process things, what it takes to make them happy, and how to satisfy their needs. It’s perhaps the reason why I sometimes jokingly refers to myself as an unlicensed therapist. Many of the calls I receive aren’t at all related to the housing market. I get questions on everything: how to install a driveway, a swimming pool, build a concrete wall, can I refer a tree trimmer, gardener, what do I know about timeshares and ADUs, rent caps and the eviction process. I offer the advice I can, with the goal of avoiding litigation or bruised relationships. It’s advice I would give my own family. If I ever feel I can’t give my clients all that they deserve, I’ll retire.