Million Dollar Listing’s James Harris On What Makes L.A. Special

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The perfect blend of British style and American drive, James Harris brings his charisma, intellect, and wit to Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles. Born and raised in London, England, Harris' entrepreneurial drive started at the tender age of 16. After working as a residential investment agent in the United Kingdom, Harris headed west to Los Angeles to broaden his horizon and to enjoy the California sunshine.

Today, Harris is living the American Dream, working in a city he loves with an incredibly talented group of people. He and business partner, David Parnes, specialize in high-end residential real estate and investment properties in Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Holmby Hills, Sunset Strip, the Hollywood Hills, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, and the greater Los Angeles region.

James is happily married to his beautiful wife, Valeria, and together they have two daughters, Sofia and Chloe. His three girls are the light of his life. When he is not at work, James and his family love going to the beach and spending quality time together. A firm believer in giving back to the community, Harris is heavily involved in various humanitarian causes including the Jewish Federation Community and CHLA (Children's Hospital Of Los Angeles).

Haute Residence caught up with Harris to discuss what makes Los Angeles’ real estate market unique and what trends he is seeing amongst developers.

How did you get involved in real estate?

I was the guy who said school wasn’t for me. I wanted real life experience. I started in the real estate industry at the age of 16 working as an assistant in London. I worked my way up the ranks and was the number one salesperson after 8 months. I worked in residential for three years and then moved too commercial where I worked for another two years. At the age of 21, I moved to Los Angeles where I started my real estate company a year later.

What do you love most about L.A.’s real estate market?

I love the architecture and design, the views, the people, the weather. Los Angeles is changing and evolving so much. There’s so much influence from fashion, art, and music. It’s amazing to be at the forefront and to see how these trends all translate into the development of high-end homes.

What makes L.A.’s market different from other cities?

Unlike some of the other major cities like London, New York, and Hong Kong, Los Angeles has land. And many of the prime neighborhoods offer sweeping views. This is a different lifestyle than living in a penthouse apartment. The value in Los Angeles is also considerably less on a dollar per square foot basis which is why we see so many overseas investors purchasing real estate here.

Are there any trends developers are following?

Yes, the first shift I’m seeing is developers moving from single-family to multi-family. I’m also seeing a shift in the design and finishes of newer modern homes. The tones, textures, and finishes are becoming much warmer and inviting. Developers are really focusing on turning a house into a home.

What do you love most about living in L.A.?

It’s such a wonderful lifestyle. We live so close to the beach, the mountains and so many great destinations. My children are so fortunate to grow up here. We get to go on hikes together, drive to Santa Barbara and San Diego. There’s so much the city has to offer.

Can you tell me about the PLS?

The PLS is the Pocket Listing System. It’s a platform for agents to load off-market or pocket listings before going on the MLS. Agents are able to test the market to see if the price point is well received before officially going on the market. Other platforms have limited our ability to market listings and we’re working to give agents a bit more control.

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