The Power Brokers panel at Haute Residence’s LA luxury real estate summit—which took place earlier this month at Mr. C’s Beverly Hills—spotlighted six of the most prominent real estate professionals on the west coast: Jeff Hyland (Hilton & Hyland), Joyce Rey (Joyce Rey Real Estate), Myra Nourmand (Nourmand & Associates), Rob Giem (Sotheby’s International Realty), Stephen Shapiro (Westside Estate Agency), and Suzanne Perkins (Sotheby’s International Realty). The brokers revealed their personal motivations, thoughts on global outreach, as well as their opinions on the role of print in real estate marketing.
Read on for a snippet of the enthralling discussion helmed by Frank Symons, the executive vice president and COO of Sotheby’s International Realty, and Chris Crocker, the vice president of strategic partnerships at Zillow).
“This is an amazing panel,” said Symons. “The wealth of experience and knowledge here is amazing.”
Crocker: You guys have been doing this for quite awhile, and you still come fired up, and you still bring that passion in your belly. Why is that, and why have you kept in the game and kept current?
Rey: Each day is always a challenge. Making that deal is always so exciting; nothing replaces that.
Hyland: It’s a passion. We all have our reasons for that passion—why we love what we’re doing. If you don’t have it—when you get to the point where we are, you might want to rethink what you’re doing.
Suzanne Perkins: It’s about putting the deal together, figuring out what you’re doing—about figuring out what your clients want.
Myra Nourmand: You need to go out and see the properties; don’t rely just on sitting in your office and looking at pictures and scrolling down, and seeing what houses look good on the computer. Because you might get some big surprises when you take a client out and he says, “Well didn’t you come and preview it or see that it was next to a water tower?” Then [it seems like] you’re not the expert. You need to be the expert.
Hyland: You enjoy watching the bubbles: knowing when to pounce or not to pounce; what to tell your client, depending on whether it’s a buyer or seller. But what’s unique now is that you find so many of the listings that you do—the sales are off market, something we never had before, and fear of something like Chris Crocker’s involvement with Zillow—well half of us were going to be out of business five years ago, and we’re still here. So you listen to your instinct, and you disregard what you read in the newspapers.
Nourmand: You need to have time to recharge, because you become a better person—a better sales person.
Stephen Shapiro: It’s important to spend time with your family; it’s important to recharge; otherwise, you’re going to get worn out. Set that time or day aside and try to keep it that way unless something compelling causes you to change.
Crocker: Most of you have global outreach—Joyce, you’ve done lots of physical outreach to the Asian markets; talk about what you have and the effort you’ve put into reaching buyers in Asia, so you can accommodate that placement of dollars in the U.S.
Hyland: With the Chinese, it is 101% building trust; that’s more important than your expertise.
Joyce Rey: The whole foreign market is huge, particularly in the very high-end.
Nourmand: The international buyer still wants that brand of Beverly Hills. I don’t see a lot of international buyers going to Brentwood; I see them in Bel-Air, Holmby Hills, and Beverly Hills—those are the niches that they really seem to embrace.
Crocker: We still have a really heavy reliance on print; I’m still a big fan of print. How do you use print? How does it impact your marketing plan? How do your sellers view it right now?
Perkins: I know people say that everything is about the Internet, and everything is about the Internet. But the print advertising is what sends them to the Internet. I love Haute Living; it’s done a great job for me, and it gets [my listings] out there. It’s a classy magazine. I feel you’ve got to pick the print ad you’re going to do and stay with it—do it month after month, year after year, and it will pay great dividends.
Rey: That first impression is so important, and the truth is Haute Living gets to our buyers.
Symons: How do you reach out to the other panelists and people in the audience to find out about inventory that is not actively on the market?
Rey: It’s a really important thing that brokers today work hard to get their listings on the MLS, and convince their sellers that that it’s in their best interest.
Shapiro: I had a listing in Malibu for $30 million on Carbon Beach, and my client didn’t want it on the MLS. I think he was somewhat embarrassed of the house—I don’t why he didn’t want it on the MLS. I convinced him to put it on the MLS, and I wound up selling it to Paul Allen, [who was represented by a] broker who had never sold a house over $2 million before. She had Paul Allen—I would have never called her; she would have never called me—the sale wouldn’t have taken place. That’s the value of a listing.