Chat With Haute Residence Leaders, Episode 14: Sandra Miller

Sandra Miller

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Haute Residence continued its "Chat with Haute Residence Leaders" series with a conversation featuring Sandra Miller of Engel & Völkers. Miller is the exclusive agent representing the Santa Monica, California real estate market as a member of the Haute Residence Real Estate Network.

Sandra Miller was hosted by Haute Media Group Cofounder Seth Semilof. Watch their conversation below.

The topics included Miller’s illustrious career with credible experience stemming from her corporate background, joining the highly esteemed Engel & Völkers team, and her eventual ascendancy in the Santa Monica real estate market.

Sandra Miller is the principal broker leading Engel & Völkers’ thriving Santa Monica shop, which was the first Engel & Völkers shop to open in California. With numerous prestigious real estate awards and accolades to her name, Miller is also notably one of only a small number of brokers to achieve a Private Office Advisor designation. She believes that real estate is, ultimately, a personal service, so her clients turn to her as a reliable reference long after their home buying or selling is complete. Miller’s personally selected team follows the same principles, working together with her to bring a level of boutique service to Santa Monica that real estate customers have never before experienced.

Here are some of the questions and answers from the exclusive interview with Miller.

Seth Semilof: What made you make the move to go into real estate?

Sandra Miller: I transitioned from an outside sales representative to inside manager, then I launched in seven different markets for them. When I left, I had 178 indirect distributors under my realm with managers and etc., so a ton of reports all commission only. I knew about five years before I left that when I left that job, I would go into real estate. It was just never a question in my mind. The reason I would go into real estate is because there is no other industry where someone who is good at sales has unlimited income potential like real estate.

SS: How was it pivoting? How was it building your business? Did it take time, or did it start immediately?

SM: It was really an interesting time. It was 2004 when I got my license. What I did was I went around and interviewed different companies, owners, and operators that were running retail storefronts in the U.S. There were not that many in 2004, but I wanted to do retail because that was my specialty. I had thousands of them underneath me in my previous life. I did not know anyone in L.A. because at that point, I was really upper management and traveling between seven different markets. It was really starting from ground zero. What I learned when I went around the country, interviewed people, and set up my business plan, is how to launch. I started marketing about six months before I ever did a deal, needed to do a deal, or wanted to do a deal. I did 20,000 mailers a month for six months before I got my first call.

SS: If you had to give advice to somebody that wants to get into real estate and is scared but has the resources to invest in themselves or to somebody who does not have the resources, what advice would you give?

SM: If they do not have the resources, I advise them to work on a team. Honestly, you need resources in order to be successful. You cannot just wing it. My expertise was launching markets for my old company, so I did the research. I knew exactly what I was getting into. I knew exactly the target market I was going after. I did the mailings, I opened my office, and I had no choice but to be successful. I am not a trust fund baby. I needed to make money. I had a very specific business plan that I executed, and it worked.

SS: How was building, setting up with Engel & Völkers, having a name, having a fancy office, and having to produce?

SM: There was no producing. Santa Monica real estate, west side real estate, really just stopped. They did not have to sell. It is all people with lots of money. There were no short sales in this market. There were no foreclosures in this market. It was just a stalled market, but I survived. I started doing a lot of leasing in those 18 months. Then, the market took off like a rocket. It was eye opening when it happened as a woman business owner that is responsible for other people's livelihoods.

SS: Where do you see your business in the next five to 10 years?

SM: I see continuing to build my team, continuing to make them successful, and doing more of the same. I want to sell until I am 100. I really enjoy the boutique. I do not want to build an empire. I did that and I do not want to do it again. I want to enjoy traveling, which I can do with the Engel & Völkers brand. I can go network with fellow agents and office owners whenever and wherever. I can really enjoy my clients and the homes that I get to sell. It has been a journey.

For more information, please contact Sandra Miller at (310) 616-6213 or

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