During HauteResidence.com’s second annual L.A. Luxury Real Estate Summit–which took place April 8 in The London Hotel’s Kensington Ballroom in West Hollywood–the nation’s power brokers spoke about how to reach foreign buyers and grow a network in luxury real estate.
The summit, moderated by Timothy Lappen, Esq., founder and chairman of Luxury Home Group, a real estate legal group, and hosted by Seth Semilof, publisher of luxury publications Haute Living, Haute Residence, and Haute Time, brought together the biggest names in luxury real estate in a discussion on how to be successful in real estate and what’s next for California’s booming real estate market.
In the event’s second panel discussion, the power brokers on the “$100 Million Producers” panel, featuring Chris Cortazzo, Jade Mills, Jeff Hyland, Joyce Rey, Kurt Rappaport, Linda May, Myra Nourmand, Randy Solakian, and Suzanne Perkins, explained that the key to success is traveling and networking as well as forming relationships with fellow agents.
Timothy Lappen: All of you have great success in your careers, so how do you maintain it. Are you afraid at all about what the future holds? Do you want to retire? Do you just love the business so much that you’re going to stay with it? Give us your thoughts about how you got here and how you stay at the peak.
Chris Cortazzo: “I think about retirement every day actually. I love what I do. I’m so passionate. You know, people say, Oh, you could do it part-time. But I think all of us on this panel are either all or nothing. We have that personality and that perseverance to strive to be the best. As Kurt was saying, we’re so lucky to be able to achieve so much. At the same time, though, I’m not really afraid of my career falling, even though everyone tries to take us down when you’re on top.”
Jade Mills: “I think success is in your being, and I think that if you are successful in this business, it’s because you must love what you’re doing…We definitely have challenges, and that’s when Chris and I talk and say OK, that’s it. We’re quitting. But I think there’s always a slight fear. After the close of every deal–Jeff and I just closed for $38 million dollars–you think, Oh my gosh, am I going to do another one of those this year? It’s a great feeling and to put people together and to have everybody happy at the end–it’s just so satisfying. And I think that’s the best part about our business. Everybody that I’ve worked with on this panel is passionate, and that is the most important thing about doing well in this business is really being passionate about what we do.”
Timothy Lappen: How do you source buyers from other countries? How do you service them? Do you advertise in their language? Do you go to their cities of residence? Tell us about how you do this.
Jeff Hyland: “It’s going out there all of the time to conferences. It’s traveling. You may have a great friend who’s got a great estate, and they refer you to that property, and you can sell it locally or internationally. But it’s the people they introduce you to, and those are your contacts. Between that and knowing brokers in every major market, your success is pretty sold.”
Linda May: “We’re all completely globally connected just by virtue of where we are today because there’s a focus on Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and the West Side from international buyers. And I think it’s true that they’re global until they arrive in our city, and then they’re just like everyone else. They ask a friend or they ask a business associate for a referral and that’s how they find us. I think that that’s a very common practice, and that’s why you need to be out in the front of your marketing and all your exposure. I have 15 languages on my website, so people can access me in their own language, but I think global becomes local very quickly.”
Kurt Rappaport: “I don’t go to a conference. I don’t shake hands with people in Hong Kong. I’d rather utilize my own personal network, and that’s what I tell everyone. Whether you’re in the PTA or you’re on the board of a museum, whatever it is, utilize those people. Don’t send postcards to strangers. That’s a waste of time…My friends are my clients; my clients are my friends.”
Myra Nourmand: “Listings are the name of the game. If you have the listing, the buyers will come. The international buyers find me because if I have a listing in Beverly Hills that is high-end, I can promise you that the 6-2-6 numbers start coming in on my phone, and I take those calls, I do the showings. Many times, those brokers from that area don’t know the Beverly Hills market and they ask me to work with them with their buyers…”
Suzanne Perkins: “It really comes down to personality. Everybody has their own style that they feel comfortable with. I’m a little more passive about being aggressive in the foreign market–it’s worked well for me. And a lot of that I feel is because of my horse connection. I breed Arabian horses, and I judge Arabian horses. So, Facebook has been really good to me because I post a lot on Facebook with the horses…consequently a lot of my Middle East clients are all very, very big Arabian horse breeders…I go to the shows and people know me because of my postings on Facebook, and I think that has really helped build my credibility with those clients.”
Lappen: Talk to us about how you market properties, especially in these higher-end levels. What do you do that you find effective?
Perkins: “I do it all–if it takes a drone; if it takes a helicopter; if it takes hiring a movie crew. To me, it’s about the individual property, and I think some properties are better suited for that full-on video exposure than other properties.”
Joyce Rey: “You have to customize your campaign dependent on the client that you’re dealing with because each client has a different expectation of what you’re to do. Often times, you’ll list a very expensive property, and they’ll say, It’s to be top secret. I don’t want anyone to know that it’s for sale. So, it runs the gamut as to what you do, and I pull out all the stops to do whatever that client wants.”
Randy Solakian: “When you have those relationships with the other agents and with the principles, you’re not so deathly dependent on the public marketing and the publicity and the big splashy ads and things.”