Society Real Estate + Development Partners with Side to Introduce Innovative Model for Celebrity and Luxury Real Estate

By Yahoo! Finance | Original article, Yahoo!

Celebrity Real Estate Broker Kofi Nartey Launches Society Real Estate + Development in Partnership with Side to Refine Luxury Real Estate Services

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.May 5, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Today, Kofi Nartey, the nation’s leading authority on celebrity and luxury real estate, has announced the official launch of Society Real Estate + Development, in partnership with Side. Backed by Side’s leading brokerage platform, Society is building the top private real estate firm in the market, focusing specifically on celebrity, athletes, and affluent clientele.

Led by Nartey, Society Real Estate + Development specializes in residential real estate, new development, commercial real estate, and investing, with a continued emphasis on the luxury market. The firm prides itself on its roster of agents from all paths of the industry who have over a century of combined experience in luxury, residential, new development and commercial real estate, as well as over $6B in transactional experience. They will offer clients comprehensive, senior level advisory services across their real estate portfolios.

Society has already been well-received in the market, securing investments from prominent figures in the sports and entertainment industries, such as Matt Kemp (Former LA Dodger), Mike Bryan (Professional Tennis Player), Tyga (Rapper/Hip Hop Artist) and Raphael Saadiq (Entrepreneur/Musician).

In his 18 years in luxury real estate, Nartey has managed transactions for an extensive list of celebrities, including Michael JordanKevin Durant, and James Van Der Beek. A national Certified Luxury Home Marketing instructor with the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing (ILHM), Nartey is the only broker contracted with the NFL to consult players on real estate. Prior to launching Society Real Estate + Development, he founded and managed the national Sports & Entertainment Division under The Nartey Group for Compass.

Nartey has received several coveted distinctions including “Top Hollywood Agent” (The Hollywood Reporter); “Showbiz Real Estate Elite” (Variety Magazine); “Beverly Hills Icon” (Modern Luxury Magazine); and “Los Angeles Power Player” (Angeleno Magazine).

“Our partnership with Side is key in unlocking Society’s full potential, giving our agents the time and tools to afford our clients the exceptional care they deserve. We’re thrilled to bring unparalleled value and results to our exclusive celebrity and affluent clientele, who remain the crux of our business,” said Kofi Nartey.

Nartey sees this launch and partnership as an opportunity to meet the broader real estate needs of his clientele and capture the full value of his brand while utilizing Side’s state-of-the-art platform to power operations. This partnership will ensure Society Real Estate + Development remains at the forefront of the luxury market, while allowing its team of high-performing agents and advisors to provide transaction management, property marketing, lead generation, business growth opportunities, vendor management, and infrastructure solutions.

Commenting on the partnership, Guy Gal, Side CEO and Co-founder said, “Kofi has built an incredible team of top level agents taking an innovative and selective approach to luxury real estate for athletes and entertainers. Side is thrilled to be partnering with Kofi and his team, and we’re excited to help them continue to grow.”

Side is led by experienced industry professionals and world-class engineers who develop technology designed to improve agent productivity and enhance the client experience. Launched in 2017, Side now powers over 700 real estate agents from the top 2% of the industry’s top producing teams.

About Society Real Estate + Development
Society Real Estate + Development is a private real estate firm for agents who think bigger, for agents who want more out of this industry and want to offer their clients more. We pulled from the best boutique brokerages, large brokerage technology, private client practices, family offices, and specialty law firms to create a model for our partners and associates. Our competencies include residential real estate, new development, commercial real estate and investing (primarily multi-family), and services for the unique needs of sports and entertainment clientele. Our agents have worked with the world’s most discerning clients, brands and luxury developments.

About Side
Side transforms high-performing agents, teams, and independent brokerages into successful businesses and boutique brands that are 100% agent-owned. Based on its belief that homeownership is a fundamental human right, Side is on a mission to provide top-performing agents with the best real estate service, experience, and results. Side exclusively partners with the best agents, empowering them with proprietary technology and a premier support team so they can be more productive, grow their business, and focus on serving their clients. Side is headquartered in San Francisco. For more information, visit
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California Real Estate: Q&A Kofi Nartey

By Mandy Ellis | Original article, California Real Estate

This might be your first introduction to Kofi Nartey, but chances are you know his clients: Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant, James Van Der Beek and Iggy Azalea, to name a few. The broker behind the celebs pulls from his background with the Oakland Raiders and a decade of acting to understand his clients and deliver the over-the-top service they demand. His choice to niche down into sports and entertainment has paid off in national director position, multiple awards, speaking and training opportunities, and a best-selling book on Amazon. We caught up with Nartey to discuss how developing his niche and leveraging his experience cultivated his network and helped his business boom.

What specific skills from your sports and acting careers helped your real estate business flourish?

From my sports career, everything from teamwork to hard work, to being resilient, to overcoming losses, to overcoming failure and even knowing my physical limit. And the physical limit that sports stretched me to, real estate will never stretch me to– so it makes me feel like I can accomplish anything in real estate.

Acting helped my understanding of people. The times I had to dive into a character or understand the nuances of a character helped me… read [people] better. It also helped my presentation skills and thinking on the fly when it comes to working with clients.

What do you believe firmly separates you in your highly competitive niche of sports and entertainment?

If you make the decision to specialize– whether to work with first-time home buyers, or sports and entertainment, or retirees– you have to have an increased understanding o their specific needs. What separates me is I have actual sports and entertainment experience. I’ve been to business school and I’ve been a broker for 13 of my 16 years [in real estate]. The people who truly focus on [sports and entertainment clients], we all know each other because we’ve been at it long enough that either our names have come up, or we’ve referred business to each other. Plus, there aren’t a lot of people who specialize in it nationally.

What’s your secret for maintaining and growing your personal network?

About 30 to 40 percent of my clients are in sports and entertainment space, and that part [of my business] has created even greater visibility for myself, my team and the listings we carry. I’ve had to build the network organically. Over the last 10 years, I’ve been able to build arguably the largest database of sports and entertainment contacts in the country, but it was all through warm connections. One business manager will introduce me to another, or a client will introduce me to their representation or wealth manager. If you then do a good job, it’s easy to get those introductions or referrals.

What’s the difference between Kofi the Sports and Entertainment Division Director, and Kofi the dad and husband?

In the Sports and Entertainment Division, I try to bring leadership, ideas, best practices, support and guidance. Some of those translate to being a dad and husband: support, leadership and guidance. At work you have to be on and ready for anything. I get to be a little bit more relaxed at home. At home, I just have to be on and ready for my kids. They’re at that age now where they’re double-teaming [my wife and me].

You’ve talked about using your “daddy voice”– a low-toned, slow, direct way of speaker– in previous speaking engagements. Any times you’ve had to use it with either a client or another real estate professional?

Fortunately, I don’t have to use it too often. Agents are humans as well, we’re flawed, and sometimes we have true human responses to situations that are reactions based on emotion. I usually try to catch agents before they go too far down the emotional path, and that’s when the daddy voice comes in. It’s lower toned, a bit slower, but very deliberate to stop people and make them think about their next move.

Photography by Piper Ferguson.

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Exploring California Luxury Real Estate: What’s The Price For Beauty?

By Barbra Murray | Original article, Haute Residence

The most expensive home for sale in the U.S. market today is in California; the tiny Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, to be precise. Offered at $250 million, the 38,000-square-foot mansion at 924 Bel Air Road is indicative of the current state of the luxury housing market in California: The prices are exceptional, but so are the properties. And the price appears to be right for many, as year-over-year sales in California’s highest-priced markets improved in April, jumping 5.3 percent, according to the California Association of Realtors. Indeed, luxury real estate is thriving in the most coveted markets across the state, including:


There’s no shortage of high-end neighborhoods in Los Angeles––Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica and so on––but Beverly Hills, long synonymous with upscale living, continues to top the list of the most expensive markets in La La Land. The average price per square foot in the first quarter of 2017 was $1,925, per a report by Douglas Elliman Real Estate. It’s a result of that magical combination of higher demand and, of late, lower inventory.

“We’re seeing an uptick in domestic investment at the uber-level, and we’re seeing more international dollars than ever,” says Kofi Nartey, director of sports & entertainment, as well as celebrity and luxury real estate at Compass. Talk about domestic interest, the infamous Playboy Mansion sold in August 2016 for $100 million to next-door neighbor and Hostess heir Daren Metropoulos in a transaction that marked the most expensive residential sale in Los Angeles history (that record has since been tied). Buyers from all over are bullish on Beverly Hills. “[For international investors] sometimes it’s more of a safe haven for investment, where the economy is more stable here than the economy they’re coming from,” Nartey notes. “And sometimes these are third and fourth homes; the average affluent buyer has three homes.”

Beverly Hills hasn’t seen any record-breaking sales in 2017 (yet), but prices don’t appear to be heading south anytime soon. Buyers are willing to pay exorbitant amounts of money for these properties, and they’re getting what they pay for. The 20,000-square-foot home at 27 Beverly Park Terrace fetched $26,725,000 in April. The property offers the kind of coveted privacy that comes with five acres and a lengthy driveway. It also features 10 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms, all accessible via the home elevator; fireplaces in practically every room; and outside, a private tennis court and hand-cut mosaic pool.


Malibu’s coastal and mountain views have endless appeal, and it’s reflected in the home prices. The market is the second most expensive in the Los Angeles area, with average sales per square foot reaching $1,499 in the first quarter. However, Malibu had to fight its way back to the top, after suffering more than other metropolitan Los Angeles luxury markets in the economic downturn. “Malibu is unique in that it’s not necessarily a destination market. There’s really just one main road, Pacific Coast Highway. It’s a different lifestyle,” Nartey explains. “It’s also a tale of two markets––the beach side and the land side––and those all trade differently. The prices per square foot can go up 10 to 30 percent, just by going across the street.”

Actual sales activity in the Malibu luxury single-family home sector may have been lackluster over the last few months––year-over-year trades actually dropped a bit, per the Elliman report––but there’s still a great deal of head-turning excitement in the market. The 11,000-square-foot, Frank Gehry-designed gem at 31250 Broad Beach Road, highlighted by a rare 160 feet of beachfront, went to auction and sold in March for $24,150,950. Additionally, it was hard to ignore when the “New Castle” at 23800 Malibu Crest Drive emerged like a phoenix from the ashes and hit the market at $80 million, the highest asking price for a residential property in Malibu ever. The 15,000-square-foot home, developed and designed by Scott Gillen and his company Unvarnished, reached completion in April, standing atop a 360-degree promontory in place of the former Malibu Castle, which was destroyed in a 2007 fire.


It’s been an interesting few years in San Francisco luxury housing. The market experienced a peak frenzy in spring 2015, but the summer and ensuing months brought a downturn, courtesy of new issues, both domestic and international. “There was the Chinese stock market crash, which hammered the U.S. market, then the oil crash, then the fear of Brexit, and then we were leading up to the U.S. election with all that uncertainty,” recalls Patrick Carlisle, chief market analyst and vice president of business development with Paragon Real Estate Group. “And in the Bay Area, IPOs dried up because for the previous four years there had been a constant drumbeat of biotech companies going public and creating thousands of new millionaires and hundreds of new billionaires.” The new wealth had been gobbling up availabilities, which spurred a bevy of construction in the luxury-condominium arena, then the confluence of the aforementioned factors led to a dramatic cooling. More buyers decided to sit on the sidelines for a while and wait out the turbulence. But now they’re coming back.

3317 Washington Street, San Francisco

“In 2017, to my surprise, the market heated up again––the general market,” Carlisle says. “The luxury market in San Francisco so far in 2017 is significantly stronger than it was in 2016, but it is still not as hot as it was in spring 2015. So, it’s made somewhat of a recovery.” The luxury single-family market is much stronger than it was last year, due in no small part to the fact that the supply is inherently limited. “Nobody builds new houses in San Francisco anymore. It’s like New York,” Carlisle adds. “There’s a thin supply of luxury houses, mostly in Pacific Heights, so that market has bounced back pretty close to what it was two years ago.”

Penthouse at 1650 Broadway, San Francisco

On the condominium side, the flurry of new ultra-luxury product that started coming on the market a couple of years ago is turning heads and pushing the envelope in prices. At Jay Paul Company’s 70-story 181 Fremont Residences development, sited adjacent to the new Transbay Transit Center, the full-floor penthouse is being marketed for $42 million. In Pacific Heights, where condos are not the norm, a two-story, four-bedroom penthouse sold for $15.875 million, marking a per-square-foot record for the city at $3,921 per square foot. And Millennium Partners’ $500 million Mexican Museum condominium project, currently underway, promises to command the big bucks. There probably won’t be too much balking at rising asking prices. As noted in an April report by Paragon, “Even with some cooling in the high-tech boom and the dearth of new IPOs, the local economy persists as the envy of the world, and an astonishing amount of wealth yet remains in the Bay Area.”


Like their coastal cousin, Malibu, Laguna Beach and Newport Beach in Orange County were hit a bit harder than most other Southern California luxury markets during the economic downturn. And again, like Malibu, these beach communities are recovering, as evidenced by the year-over-year increase in the median price per square foot.

8 Mystique, Newport Coast

“The last six months have been quite a ride,” Rex McKown, principal with McKown | Weinstein | Associates, says of the Laguna-Newport area. “Since the [presidential] election, the optimism has gone through the roof. Never before have so many high-end properties been sold in such a short period of time. The high-end segment––$10 million-plus––has been as healthy as I have ever seen.” McKown Weinstein recently took center stage in the market when it secured a buyer for the 18,700-square-foot estate at 8 Mystique in Newport Coast for $28 million, marking the highest price-per-square-foot sale of an off-the-water residence in the history of Orange County.

“Given the run on trophy properties, inventory is a bit low,” McKown notes. It’s not a daily occurrence for any real estate team, but McKown Weinstein has seen at least a couple of properties fly off the market over the last several months. The four-bedroom contemporary home at 41 South Sur, tucked away at the end of a cul-de-sac in Newport Coast, had been on the market for only one day when McKown Weinstein secured a buyer for the property. And 17 High Water, a six-bedroom showpiece in Newport Coast, spent just four days on the market before the company rounded up a buyer

With dwindling inventory and ongoing demand, prices are headed north in Laguna and Newport. The 10,000-square-foot home at 2421 Rivera in Laguna was listed in April with an asking price of $51 million―180 lineal feet of ocean frontage with private beach access included. The hot market dynamics may be a long-term condition. “As far as the next few years go, we are out of raw land; no longer can someone buy land and build, so it will raise prices,” McKown anticipates. “However, the world is in turmoil, and one huge event or a bad stumble by President Trump can send both the housing market and stock market downwards.”

8 Mystique, Newport Coast

Be it in the Bay Area or the shimmering high-end markets in Southern California, the luxury housing market will likely continue on the upswing for the foreseeable future, sky-high prices and all. It doesn’t hurt that, as Compass’ Nartey says, “There’s more wealth in the world than ever before.”

Images courtesy of Paragon Real Estate / McKown Weinstein & Partners

This story is featured in the Summer/Fall 2017 issue of Haute Residence magazine.

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What’s Driving the Luxury Housing Rebound?

By Realtor Magazine | Original article, Realtor Magazine

The biggest drivers behind the rebound in luxury home sales: Low mortgage rates, rising consumer confidence, cash buyers, and international buyers, according to real estate professionals and brokers who spoke at the recent National Association of Real Estate Editors conference. 

In 2012, there were 697 home sales over $5 million in California—a record high. Up to 20 percent of luxury home buyers in the Los Angeles area are from overseas, and the majority are making all-cash purchases, says Kofi Nartey, a real estate professional with The Agency in LA. 

However, with low mortgage rates, some luxury home buyers are financing their home purchases. For example, some buyers who traditionally would pay cash are instead securing 2.25 percent interest rates and 10-year loan terms, says Jack Cotton, a real estate professional with Sotheby’s International Realty in Cape Cod. 

Among the features that are luring luxury home buyers are outdoor kitchens boasting spacious patios and home spas. These buyers are also drawn to “properties with a story—say, a famous former owner or a renowned architect,” The Wall Street Journal reports. 

With home prices gaining momentum in the luxury market, Nartey says he believes the U.S. will soon see a record-breaking $200 million listing. The record currently is believed to be a $190 million listing in Greenwich, Conn. However, Nartey notes that many of the highest priced listings tend to be more for attention sake, and often end up selling for 50 percent or 60 percent of the original list price. 

Source: “Luxury Sales Continue to Bounce Back, Brokers Say,” The Wall Street Journal (June 6, 2013)

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Basketball Couple Candace Parker & Shelden Williams List Home

BY CATHERINE SHERMAN | Original Article,

After five years, they’re moving to another Southern California home with more room to grow as a family.

Athletes’ homes often show signs of their owners’ careers — whether a framed jersey on the wall or a sport court in the backyard. WNBA MVP Candace Parker and her husband, former NBA player Shelden Williams, have left their mark in the master bathroom.

“They enlarged the shower to accommodate two people over 6 feet tall,” said The Agency’s Kofi Natei Nartey, who holds the listing for the couple’s home. “It can probably fit five to six people.”

The couple bought the contemporary Mediterranean home in L.A.’s Playa Vista neighborhood in 2008.

“Our family loved its convenience and community,” said Parker, who plays for the Los Angeles Sparks. “Playa provided us with a great environment to raise our daughter and walk our dogs!”

After five years, the couple have decided to list the home at 13077 Kiyot Way for $1.499 million — $280,000 less than they bought it for, but still on the high end for the Playa Vista real estate market.

“They purchased another [Southern California] home with more room to grow as a family,” Nartey explained.

But with 4 bedrooms and 4 baths, the house they’re leaving behind is anything but small.

“It’s one of the largest homes in the development,” Nartey said. “That’s why it’s a little more [expensive] than others in the area.”

To be exact, the home is 134.5 percent more expensive than the midpoint Playa Vista home. However, it’s priced 10.8 percent less per square foot.

“We’re under $400 per square foot, and homes have sold for well into the $400 range in the area,” Nartey said. “Also, it’s one of a few free-standing homes in the neighborhood — several have shared walls.”

Other highlights of the home include an open floor plan with a large entertaining space, dark hardwood floors on the main level and several archways.

Using Zillow’s mortgage calculator, a buyer of this home can expect a monthly payment around $5,862, assuming 20 percent down on a 30-year fixed mortgage.

Photos courtesy of Andrea Gadioma.

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Luxe Agent: HGTV ‘Selling LA’ Star Kofi Natei Nartey of The Agency

By Trulia HQ Blog | Original Article, Trulia HQ

If you’re like us at Trulia HQ, you watch every episode of Selling LA on HGTV. We had the chance to chat with one of the stars, Kofi Natei Nartey of The Agency. Not only is Kofi an amazing real estate agent, he’s a really nice guy with an incredible passion for his job.

In his day job as an agent, Kofi is a luxury homes specialist and the Director of the Sports & Entertainment Division at The Agency in Beverly Hills, CA. He has over 10 years of luxury real estate experience and has had millions of dollars in luxury real estate sales. Kofi attended and played football at UC Berkeley (go Bears!), and completed his MBA at Pepperdine University. He went on to play professional sports and has acted in numerous commercials, television shows, and films. His experience in sports and entertainment makes him the go-to guy for professional athletes, entertainers, and other distinguished clientele in luxury real estate. Because of his real estate success, Kofi is also a regularly featured agent on HGTV’s Selling LA. He has quickly become a trusted resource for the luxury real estate market, often called on for speaking engagements and as an industry expert.

Let’s learn even more about Kofi!

How did you get your start in real estate?

I have always liked architecture and working with people, so the real estate business seemed interesting. But, it was the day one of my good friends showed me her first commission check that I finally made the leap. That was 10 years ago, and I haven’t looked back since.

What sale or career milestone are you most proud of?

Several of the deals I have been able to close took serious negotiating ability and creativity to close. When these tough deals close, I feel the proudest. Recently, I closed a deal for Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. That was cool because he is so relevant in sports right now. My sports and celebrity clients usually come with interesting experiences and cool properties. Unfortunately, I can’t always name names.

What is your dream home location?

There are a few homes in the community of One Westbluff near Playa del Rey that have an amazing combination of city and ocean views. You get the best of both worlds in these newer homes that are centrally located and have great floor plans. I actually know the exact house in that neighborhood that I want, and in a few years, I am going to knock on their door and make them an offer. Let’s hope they accept.

What kind of car do you drive?

We have a couple of cars in our household, but my favorite to drive is my 1975 MG Convertible. I get the most looks and fun comments from my clients when I show up in this vintage roadster. It also has sentimental value, because it is the same age as me. Hopefully, I can also become more valuable with age.

iPhone, Android or BlackBerry?

iPhone AND Blackberry. Yes, I have two phones. I have a Blackberry for work and an iPhone for my personal use. I am excited to try out the Blackberry Z10.

What site/app do you check first when you wake up?

Pulse. It’s an app on the iPhone. It allows you to consolidate several categories of news feeds into one place, with snapshots of headline stories. I have links to real estate publications, sports news, and a category I call “Mantime.” Mantime includes links on cars, fitness, and GQ (gotta look sharp in this biz).

What was the last book you read?

I have a stack of business, sales, and motivational books next to my bed. I usually read or reread a chapter from a different book each night. The two books I am alternating between right now are Selling Luxury Homes by Jack Cotton and High Performance Coaching by Steven Griffith for motivation.

Name your favorite guilty pleasure

Watches. I have about 40 watches in my collection. I have special cases for them, and watch winders for my automatic watches. My favorite watch is my Rado Jubile’. It is classy, sleek, and indestructible. My favorite everyday watch brand is Invicta. They are relatively inexpensive, well made, and I have at least 5 of them.

What’s one thing someone would never guess just by looking at you?

I have an addiction to food. I love a great meal, and desserts are my favorite. I try to work out regularly to make room for this addiction. I also remind myself that reward meals lead to a trophy belly, and I have enough trophies from my days playing sports.

If you weren’t selling real estate, what else could you see yourself doing?

More motivational speaking. “Focus and Finish” is my mantra, and I have delivered dozens on sales trainings and motivational talks around this premise. I like teaching and could see myself doing more speaking engagements. It’s a great feeling when you see an idea resonate with someone and you know it is going to affect their life in a positive way.

What’s your “claim to fame?”

Currently, I am a regularly featured agent on HGTV’s Selling LA. The show follows me as I work with buyers and sellers in the luxury market. Many of my clients enjoy getting to see themselves on TV, and my wife gets to tease me about being a reality TV personality. The show continues to be great for my business. Prior to Selling LA, my “claim to fame” would have to be my acting career. I have been in dozens of national commercials, TV shows and films, including my role as Rasul in the film Kick-Ass.

If you could switch places with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

Iron Man. He’s cool, rich, has amazing “toys”, and he helps people. Not to mention, he can fly.

Check out Kofi’s amazing for-sale listings!

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Behind the Scenes of HGTV’s ‘Selling LA’

BY CATHERINE SHERMAN | Original Article,

There’s a lot to consider when deciding to air your personal life on reality TV. And when it’s your business in the spotlight, there’s even more at stake. But for real estate agents Kofi Natai Nartey and Katy Landrum, there was more to gain than lose from joining the cast of HGTV’s “Selling LA.”

There’s a lot to consider when deciding to air your personal life on reality TV. And when it’s your business in the spotlight, there’s even more at stake. But for real estate agents Kofi Natei Nartey and Katy Landrum, there was more to gain than lose from joining the cast of HGTV’s “Selling LA.”

As the director of The Agency‘s Sports & Entertainment Division serving high-profile athletes and celebs, Nartey saw “Selling LA” as an opportunity to show a more human side of his Hollywood clients.

Landrum is a real estate agent primarily serving West Los Angeles. She’s had a lot of fun — and laughs — with her clients on the show, learning how to do her day job in front of the camera.

We spoke with Nartey and Landrum to learn more about their experiences behind the scenes of “Selling LA.” Here’s what they had to say.

Zillow: What’s it like being on a reality TV show? Is there a lot of drama?

Nartey: There’s not a lot of drama. That’s part of why I agreed to be on the show. With reality TV, it can hurt or benefit your business. On “Selling LA,” the drama in the show is what we are experiencing in real life. For example, if we are facing a deadline to get a property sold or a fire-drill during a sale — it’s not fabricated.

Landrum: The whole experience has been fun and challenging. Having no prior camera experience, it was hard to act like completely natural like no cameras were around. But I have found it easier as I’ve done more episodes.

Zillow: Does being part of the cast affect your day-to-day job? If so, how?

Nartey: Sometimes for reality TV, it’s “scripted reality” if you will. But on “Selling LA,” if I don’t have a property to sell, we are not shooting. So it’s done in real time. When I have something scheduled, I let them know and we coordinate the cameras around that. It can be fun; it can also be time-consuming.

Zillow: What’s so different about selling Los Angeles real estate that makes it entertaining for television?

Nartey: The L.A. market offers a unique variety of homes and neighborhoods. It’s like Disneyland with Fantasy Land, Frontier Land, etc. Los Angeles has so many pockets. And within those mini markets, some neighborhoods have traditional Spanish homes, others have mainly Craftsmans, and Hollywood Hills has a lot of modern homes. I think this offers enough variety to do season after season.

Landrum: The scenery and homes here are so unique to the rest of the country! I say to myself on a daily basis how lucky I am to live here … there is nowhere better. Having grown up in Seattle, I truly appreciate the clear blue skies appearing on a daily basis.

Nartey: The show also offers a glimpse into ultra-luxurious homes — we’re talking $20 million-plus.

Zillow: How do your clients feel about the show?

Landrum: Fortunately, my clients have all been very cool with being on the show. My episode with the fabulous interior designers Chris Barrett and Jenika Kurtz was the best! We laughed for hours and made fun of each other for stupid words and things we said. Then, we all watched it together and laughed the entire time. Best experience ever! So fun. I’ll never forget it and will have the video forever to go back and watch.

Nartey: Clients have opted to participate and usually enjoy the process. Life brings stress anyway and we don’t bring additional stress. And, if there is something my clients want to showcase — something about their own lives beyond being a celebrity or athlete — it’s an opportunity. Maybe they want to promote a charity, for example.

Zillow: How do you choose the homes to be on the show?

Nartey: It’s sort of a recipe: a great property, an interesting client or story. Earlier seasons were primarily about the properties, but now they want interesting stories of individuals or how they handle selling one of their properties.

Landrum: I choose properties that I like personally and go from there.

Nartey: Also, I only pick people that actually want to do the show. Some clients don’t want to be on reality TV, and I respect that.

Zillow: What have you learned from being on “Selling LA”?

Landrum: I have learned that when opportunities are presented in your life, you have to take them with no regrets. You can’t take yourself too seriously and just have fun everyday because life is too short not to enjoy the ride.

Nartey: It’s all in good fun. I love seeing my clients enjoy the process and capture those moments where we have a victory. I get asked if the show actually helps my clients, and yes, the show is definitely beneficial. For my clients selling properties, it gives them additional exposure. Some stories will show homes that don’t sell, but once the show airs for a national audience, it generates a huge bounce in the number of people viewing that listing.

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Secret home deals of the rich and famous

By LAUREN BEALE | Original Post, L.A. Times

Despite the transparency created by the Internet information explosion, many celebrities and billionaires still try to approach home listing, selling and buying in stealth mode.

This week’s Hot Property column looks at Madonna shifting gears from a privately shown “pocket listing” last year to an aboveboard one on the Multiple Listing Service to sell her Beverly Hills mansion. Listed at $22.5 million, the compound has been posted with just one aerial photo. Video guest Kofi Natei Nartey of the Agency in Beverly Hills sheds some light on why no one is talking about those secret interiors.

Also discussed is the Malibu estate that sold for a local record of $75 million and the name of the buyer has yet to appear. Why make the most expensive beach purchase in Malibu if you want to stay under the radar? It’s a small town, after all.

For Sinatra fans, the chat turns to daughter Nancy Sinatra’s 16-day turnaround from listed to sold in Santa Monica — for above the asking price.

And a restored old Hollywood haunt, a onetime home of Samuel Goldwyn (think G in MGM), looks like a good catch for the buyer.

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Q&A: Kofi Natei Nartey, LA Luxury Real Estate, Broker to Sports, Movie Stars

by Darren Sands | Original article, Black Enterprise

Go ahead and watch Kofi Natei Nartey sell a house to former NFL star Marcellus Wiley, and you’ll quickly get why the real estate industry in southern California is buzzing about one of its up and coming stars. Mr. Nartey is an agent at The Agency RE, in Beverly Hills (he leads its sports and entertainment division), and his experience is primarily in Los Angeles’s booming luxury market. He is also a featured agent on HGTV’s Selling LA. We talked to him about his goals, professionalism and one very common misperception about the luxury market in L.A. People who have worked with you rave about your professionalism. Talk to us about what they’re referring to.

Kofi Natei Nartey: A professional is a person who is committed to learning and training at a specific craft, and consistently executes at a high level. My clients appreciate my command of the real estate industry, and my ability to bring a level of calm to what can be a highly emotional transaction. Also, I am extremely responsive to my clients’ needs.

Simply stated, people like to know they are in good hands. I have been in this business for over ten years, have closed millions of dollars in transactions, and have trained hundreds of agents. I put every bit of this experience to work for my clients. Also, the majority of my clients come from the sports and entertainment industries and I have had experience in both. That helps me relate to their lifestyles. I understand things like the need for taller doorways or countertops for my NBA clients, or a screening room for my actors, directors, and producers.

What is different about working with celebrity clients and do you have a preference?

Privacy and trust become more critical when working with celebrity clients. Once that trust is established, however, it is a more complete trust. They want to find the best person for the job, turn the work over to that person, and focus on what they do best. Working with my team allows them to stay focused on their craft, while we take care of their real estate needs.

Also, we often work with a representative for the celebrity for a large part of the transaction. Most celebrity clients have managers, agents, and assistants that become an integral part of the buying or selling process. We work with them as a team to take care of the client’s needs. When the celebrity is available, flexibility and agility are important to make everything work with their schedule. I once received a call that one of my celebrity clients was arriving in town in two hours and wanted to see homes that day. We made it happen.

As for a preference, I truly enjoy working with both celebrity and non-celebrity clients because I enjoy working with people. It is very rewarding helping clients with the major transition that real estate can be. It can be just as exciting to help the newly signed athlete find a hip/modern pad as it is to help first time parents find the right family home.

What are your first questions to a high profile client? You seem rather comfortable with former NFL player Marcellus Wiley. How do you establish that relationship with your clients? Is it a balance?

Understanding my client’s motivation for buying or selling a home is most important. Their “Big Why” is what will drive many aspects of their real estate decisions. It is also important to assess their needs as thoroughly as possible up front. That way, I don’t have to waste their time with properties or issues that can be handled by me and my team. Understanding the client’s needs helps me service them better and make the most of my time with them.

There is definitely a careful balance between the business and personal relationship. I get along well with almost all of my clients, but what is most important is finding or selling their home. Closing the deal is usually a prerequisite for any relationship beyond the transaction. I have been invited to movie premieres, concerts, sporting events, and parties. These invites may have come because I was likeable, but more importantly, I delivered on my professional promise and took care of their real estate needs.

What’s the one or two things about luxury real estate people only slightly familiar with the marketplace would be surprised to know?

I sometimes speak at national real estate conventions, and those audiences are always shocked to hear what is NOT considered luxury in the Los Angeles market. I have sold $1M and $2M properties that were not considered luxury homes in Los Angeles. It really depends on the size and location of the property.

People are also surprised to hear stories about clients paying millions of dollars for a property, only to completely remodel it or even tear it down. At the higher price points, people are used to getting exactly what they want. This is the case with their properties as well. One of my colleagues sold a $17M house to a gentleman who bought it to live in while his primary residence was remodeled.

Also, I am often asked what particular celebrities are like to work with. Unfortunately, I can’t always say. It does not pay to kiss and tell in this business.

What are your plans for the future?

I believe we all have a responsibility to discover all of our gifts and talents and share them with the world. We must work to realize our potential in whatever field we are in, and I want to seize all of the opportunities that real estate has placed in front of me.

Ultimately, I will continue to build my team of agents as I pursue my goal of becoming the top sports and entertainment real estate broker in the country. Along the way, I hope to assist and inspire other young agents to have the courage to blaze a path where one never existed.

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Pulling a Zuckerberg: Why Tech Titans Are Buying Neighbors’ Homes

BY CATHERINE SHERMAN | Original Article,

Are tech bosses looking for privacy or is this new breed of celebrity rewriting the high-end real estate playbook?

As Mark Zuckerberg’s social networking company, Facebook, celebrates its 10th anniversary tomorrow and has worldwide usage by 1.23 billion people, the tech titan finds himself at the forefront of a real estate trend: tech bosses who are buying up their neighbors’ properties.

Zuckerberg made headlines last fall when he reportedly spent $30 million to purchase four of his neighbors’ homes. Not only were the homes not on the market, but Facebook’s chairman and chief executive officer turned around and leased them back to their original owners.

Two weeks later, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer reportedly bought a funeral home near her residence, with the Daily Mail proclaiming, “Yahoo! Marissa Mayer does a Zuckerberg and starts to buy up her neighborhood.” Three days later, the Silicon Valley Business Journal announced “Elon Musk pulls a Zuckerberg,” when news surfaced that the inventor and Tesla Motors CEO had purchased a home across the street from his Bel-Air pad.

While this tech titan home-buying spree was newsworthy in its own right, buying up neighbors’ homes is not a new phenomenon. From Brad Pitt to Reese Witherspoon, celebs long have been known for making multiple real estate moves in their neighborhoods. The question is whether tech titans have the same motives as Hollywood stars or if this new breed of celebrity is rewriting the high-end real estate playbook. To find out, we asked The Agency’s Kofi Natei Nartey, who helps celebrities and athletes buy and sell homes on HGTV’s “Selling LA,” and Silicon Valley real estate agents of the Boyenga Team to share their insight.

Privacy is paramount

According to Nartey, it’s common for Hollywood stars to purchase neighbors’ homes as a way of protecting their privacy.

“It’s a way to control who is your neighbor,” Nartey explained. “In the Hills, there are homes with amazing views, but with that comes limited privacy.”

Eric Boyenga says it’s the same for high-profile tech execs, who are increasingly becoming household names.

“It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to purchase neighbors’ property,” he said. “In the social era of today, those like Zuckerberg tend to be a mix of Hollywood star and tech titan, whereas a lot of execs in the past didn’t get a lot of fanfare.”

A normal quality of life

But unlike A-list celebs who are accustomed to dodging paparazzi, Boyenga says tech bosses are often in search of a more “normal” quality of life.

“We’re more engineer-driven here. Execs don’t want any news about them,” he said. “For a celebrity, that’s par for their course, but for a tech entrepreneur, they want the focus on their firm and [to have] a life outside of that.”

Younger tech company execs — including 29-year-old Zuckerberg — are drawn to the vibrant culture in Palo Alto.

Zuckerberg purchased three homes behind him and the one next door in his Palo Alto neighborhood.

“We have hills like the Hollywood Hills here that are more private, gated estates with views,” Boyenga said. “But, Palo Alto is where things are happening. It’s a very idyllic neighborhood and a great place to raise a family.”

He says most people who move to Palo Alto want to keep the neighborhood the way it is, and tech entrepreneurs are no exception. For instance, when Zuckerberg began buying additional homes in his neighborhood in December 2012, it was because he reportedly learned of a developer’s plans to capitalize on his residence in the area.

“These are tech titans that want to be part of their community but also want to make sure they don’t have someone move in next door that they don’t want there,” he explained. “It’s not a control thing as much as about quality of life.”

No way to buy bigger

Because Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are drawn to historic neighborhoods such as Old Palo Alto and Crescent Park, they’re subject to a competitive market.

“Inventory is so hard to come by,” said real estate agent Janelle Boyenga, Eric’s wife. “What we’ve seen is people are buying properties and keeping them to pass on to generations to come. Inventory is only going to get tighter as the years go by.”

And, unlike celebs who buy sprawling Beverly Glen estates or Manhattan penthouses spanning multiple floors, execs living in the Valley don’t always have the choice to buy a bigger home.

“In Old Palo Alto, there are not many large lots. Most are less than a quarter of an acre,” Eric Boyenga said. “Only a handful are half an acre, and they just don’t get sold off.”

Making room for friends & family

But when tech titans buy neighboring properties, it instantly raises questions about what they’re going to do with the lot and how it will impact the neighborhood.

“Marissa Mayer [buying the funeral home] — I’m curious about that one,” Boyenga said. “It could just sit there for years to keep a big development from coming near her property.”

He’s skeptical that Mayer can drastically change the property, even if she wants to, because of building restrictions. For this reason, Boyenga says most people tend to use neighboring property as a place to have friends come and visit.

“It’s not easy to buy a parcel and take the house down,” he said. “Most of these people are looking to use for guesthouse purposes or just for privacy.”

Rumors about high-profile real estate purchases are common — fashion mogul Kimora Lee Simmons’ reported 2009 purchase of her neighbor’s tennis court to build a pool is a good example. Nartey points out that often rumors are just because, frankly, it’s very difficult to drastically change a residence in L.A.

“You have to get permits from the city for any remodel or new construction — anything that might undermine the aesthetics of the neighborhood,” he said.

At the end of the day, whether celebrity or tech titan, it’s about finding a place to call home.

“More than anything else these buyers are buying for privacy and quality of life,” Boyenga said.

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