Joyce Rey is an instantly recognizable name in residential luxury real estate. In the industry for some four decades now, she has carved a special niche for herself – one occupied by some of the most opulent, historically and architecturally significant estates in the country. Her stellar career, having reached a revered status today, mirrors the evolution of the industry itself. Through the analog days of the second half of last century to the digital-heavy eon of the present, Rey has remained at the fore of real estate, adopting new technologies and techniques, and retaining what matters the most – passion, integrity and dedication.
Rey talked with Haute Residence about her first big successes, her ability to ride the tide of the industry and the lessons she has learned doing so, among other topics.
You have been in the industry for decades, rising to the very top of it. What still keeps you motivated to get up every morning and do what you do?
I have loved my business from the moment I began. Each day is a challenge and an adventure. The excitement of making a deal or listing a beautiful property! I have received wonderful pleasure from making so many great friends amongst my colleagues and clients. I am motivated each day by a desire to be the best agent for all my clients.
You have been described in various ways, from “first lady of luxury real estate” to “grand dame of real estate,” to “Billionaire’s broker.” But how do you see yourself?
I see myself as a respected, honorable, caring, and hardworking leader in the real estate industry.
You have represented some of the most iconic historic properties in the country. Do you have a residence and a marketing campaign around it that you cherish the most?
This is like asking someone which is their favorite child. I have so many that stand out. My first landmark MLS listing was Pickfair in 1980 and it was my first experience dealing with the media. Prior to that, I twice had sold Owlwood (which on both occasions was the highest sale in the US). I was asked to sell it without advertising or MSL placement – simply through my personal network. Owlwood will always have a special place in my heart.
However, in 1986, I sold the Harold Lloyd Estate, which is a standout architecturally and has tremendous historic significance to Beverly Hills. I also sold the magnificent Le Belvedere twice, each time breaking records. Currently I represent, with a team of seven other agents, one of the most iconic properties in America, “Chartwell” – the famed Perenchio 10.3-acre Estate.
You have broken sales records year after year with 2017 being the best so far. What challenges did you face last year and how did you overcome them?
Last year I represented a particularly charming property in the Coldwater Canyon area. A Chinese buyer residing in San Francisco contacted me to see the property and spoke limited English. Fortunately, I had just hired a licensed assistant who was fluent in Mandarin and although my client and I managed to converse on a basic level, her ability to speak Mandarin was extremely helpful in closing the transaction.
We are already in the second half of 2018. What trends did you see develop in the LA market? Any expectations for the second half of the year?
2018 sales volume in the luxury market dropped over 2017 in the same period. This would indicate that prices should stabilize for the balance of the year.
How has the industry changed over the years since you first started out in the 1970s? How did you adapt throughout the years in order to continue to succeed whatever turns real estate took?
The real estate business is an entirely different business than when I entered it. At that time, each agent operated singularly. There were no real estate teams, there were very little advertising/marketing, and virtually no foreign buyers. My first real estate residential purchase agreement was one blank page long and obviously there was NO technology. I have tried to embrace every new idea. One of my great pleasures is my Instagram account because it enables me to showcase my beautiful properties and connect with my clientele.
What is the most important lesson you have learned in your career so far?
There is no substitute for hard work and integrity!
Residential real estate seems to be a field where women top the charts and exceed today. But how was it when you started out? Did you ever feel excluded because you are a woman? How has the norm changed, and what do you think other industries can take from residential real estate when it comes to gender equality?
When I began my career there were many predominant women leading the field. However, very few owned the company. I have always felt it was an asset to be a woman in my profession as a sales agent. It is so important to have sensitive and intuitive communication with your buyer or seller. Other industries should note the commission does not change whether it is a man or a woman closing the deal.
What advice do you have for young professionals who are just starting out their real estate career?
Recognize that the real estate business is a very demanding profession. In order to be successful you have to be willing to work 24/7. It is helpful to join a well-known, successful company, which provides training programs for new agents. Also, it is beneficial to have a mentor that will work with you. It is also important to have a savings account so you can support yourself as it may take a while to make your first deal.
Images courtesy of Joyce Rey