10 Best Practices When Working With Celebrity Clients

By Kofi Nartey | Original Article,

Here are 10 quick “best practices” to consider when working with celebrity real estate clients.

As the director of the Sports & Entertainment Division at The Agency, I have the pleasure of working with celebrities from the world of TV, film, music and professional sports. It’s an extremely rewarding yet challenging niche, as celebrities have very unique real estate needs and concerns when it comes to such things as privacy, location and amenities. While there are numerous things to know about working with the A-list set — indeed it’s an ongoing learning process that’s impossible to master overnight — here are 10 quick “best practices” to consider when working with celebrity real estate clients.

Be an expert

This is No.1 on the list for a reason. Celebrities want to know they are working with an expert. You should know your market and your industry but also know about regulations that may be relevant to the celebrity’s lifestyle. How high can the privacy walls or hedges be? Can they put a gate around the property? Are there building restrictions for the area?  Also, be sure to understand contracts and negotiations.

Be discreet

Keep your client’s name and personal information confidential. You will have access to a part of your client’s personal business, and people will even ask you what it’s like to work with them. Keep it to yourself. Don’t brag or boast about who you are working with.

Be professional

Be on time. Be responsive. Be proactive. The bottom line: Be a professional, not a fan. I have been invited to numerous concerts, games and events of my celebrity clients, but only because I’ve never asked.

Be flexible

Celebrities’ schedules change faster than the weather. Be ready for last-minute showings, cancellations, rescheduling and explaining to other agents why your client is running “a few minutes behind.” Being flexible will make it a more enjoyable experience for you and your client.

Identify all of the decision makers

Whether it’s a business manager, agent, friend or relative, find out who will be influencing the celebrity’s decision to buy or sell. It might even be a pet. (Candy Spelling had her dog Madison help her pick her real estate agent.) Work closely and professionally with these key contacts. Treat them like the celebrity.

Have a reliable network of vendor referrals

You may be called on to refer anything from an interior designer to a company that installs tennis courts. Have trusted, professional vendors with a track record of working with high-profile clientele in your rolodex (by rolodex, I mean iPhone).

Be mindful of their time

Celebrities are busy people and don’t have time to waste. Preview properties whenever possible. Don’t waste time on properties that don’t fit their criteria. Again, be on time. They can be late, but you can’t.

When selling a celebrity home

There are numerous things to consider, but here are a few key points. Decide up front whether or not to disclose the celebrity status of the property. If it is inevitable that the owner’s identity will come out, it can be better to embrace it. Also, keep lookie-loos out of the property. Celebrity homes can attract unwanted prospects who just want a peek into the celebrity’s life. Screen all prospects (even those with agents). Unfortunately, we cannot always rely on the other agents to verify that their client is qualified and serious.

When working with a celebrity buyer

Respect their budget. Listen to what they want to spend and stay within that range. Also, keep their identity private until it is necessary to disclose it. This may help during negotiations. Finally, try to include all decision makers at the showings when possible. Be prepared to show properties to an assistant, agent or business manager who has been instructed on what to look for. They have trusted this person to preview the homes and should trust the feedback they provide.

Have fun!

Working with celebrity buyers and sellers can produce the same stressful moments as a regular transaction, so enjoy the parts you can. If you are like me, you enjoy your job. When you truly enjoy your job, your clients pick up on that, and it can be a more enjoyable experience for them, too.  Celebrities can be demanding, but they can also be a lot of fun.

As always, FOCUS & FINISH!

Kofi Natei Nartey is a real estate broker with The Agency, a full-service, luxury real estate brokerage based in Beverly Hills.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

Posted by thesesociety_0md1v7 in Real Estate, Sellebrity
Streaming the 2017 Emmy Nominees

Streaming the 2017 Emmy Nominees

This article originally appeared in Sellebrity, Volume 1, Number 1.

The nominations for the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards have just been announced, but with so many shows currently on the air, it can be difficult to watch all of them. Luckily, more and more shows are available to stream on various platforms. Below are some highlights of this year’s Emmy-nominated shows and where they can be streamed.

Where to Stream: FX (Hulu in 2018)

This freshman comedy, created by writer, actor and musician Donald Glover is the only new comedy to be nominated this year and it is easy to understand why. Glover captivates the audience as a struggling father living in Atlanta. At the show’s beginning, Earn (Glover) is working a dead-end job at the airport when he attempts to manage the burgeoning music career of his cousin Alfred who goes by the name “Paper Boi” (Brian Tyree Henry). Throughout the series, there are subtle yet intelligent cultural critiques, including an episode that presents the audience with a black Justin Bieber. Atlanta is nominated for 6 Emmys.

Big Little Lies 
Where to Stream: HBO Go

Based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Australian author Liane Moriarty, the HBO limited series Big Little Lies delves into the seemingly perfect upscale beach town of Monterey, California. The story follows the lives of four women as they navigate raising children and struggle with their romantic relationships while also delivering a juicy murder mystery. The show, nominated for 16 Emmys, raises questions of perfection, parenting and marriage while also examining the complexities of female friendship and stars Academy Award winning actresses, Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman along with a stellar cast that delivers incredible performances each episode.

Black Mirror 
Where to Stream: Netflix

This British science fiction show was revived by Netflix in 2016 after being off the air for two years. Each episode focuses on a different cast and setting, all of whom live in a futuristic society that shows audiences the dark side of technology and a life defined by it. The Emmy nominated episode titled “San Junipero” stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mackenzie Davis as two women falling in love while vacationing in a virtual world. The series attempts, successfully to examine modern society through an exaggerated society. Black Mirror is nominated for 3 Emmys.

Where to Stream: Hulu

Nominated for 16 Emmys, this dark comedy crime drama is still going strong. Based on the Coen Brothers’ Academy Award-winning film of the same name, Fargo wrapped its third season in June and audiences are hoping a fourth is in the cards. Enlisting a new cast each season, Fargo focuses on the lives of different residents each season dealing with a new murder. The show depicts a different year each season, being set in 2006 in Season 1 and in 1979 in Season 2. With twists, turns and quirky characters, Fargo will not only keep your attention; it will keep you on the edge of your seat.

The Crown 
Where to Stream: Netflix

Based on the award-winning play by showrunner Peter Morgan, The Crown recounts the life of Queen Elizabeth II from the 1940s to modern times. Nominated for 13 Emmys, including Best Drama & Best Actress for Claire Foy who plays Queen Elizabeth II, The Crown delivers precision in detail and an excellent script that focuses on truth rather than speculative history. The show is expected to run for 6 seasons and delves into each stage of the queen’s life, including romances & political rivalries. Each season is dedicated to a decade of The Queen’s reign and has been nothing short of captivating.

The Handmaid’s Tale 
Where to Stream: Hulu

Based on Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name, The Handmaid’s Tale is set in the fictional totalitarian society of Gilead. Once part of the United States, Gilead is ruled by a regime that has made women property of the state. Gilead is also plagued with quickly decreasing birth rates and environmental disasters. Due to these circumstances, the last remaining fertile women are forced into sexual servitude. One of these women is Offred (Elizabeth Moss), who is determined not to let her situation break her and to find her way back to her daughter. The critically acclaimed drama is nominated for 13 Emmys.

The Night Of 
Where to Stream: HBO Go

With 13 nominations including best actor nominations for both Riz Ahmed and John Turturro, The Night Of is a must-see. The HBO limited series tells the story of Pakistani-American college student Nasir “Naz” Khan, whose fun night out takes a tragic turn when a young woman he meets is found dead. As Naz waits for his arraignment, he must learn to trust his attorney (Turturro) and figure out how to survive on Rikers Island.

This Is Us 
Where to Stream: Hulu

With its back-to-basics focus on family, This Is Us was the top rated new show of the year. This Is Us follows a group of people, most of whom have the same birthday, as they navigate parenthood, marriage, and sibling relationships. This group of seemingly random individuals are revealed to be intertwined in unexpected ways. This is a no-frills family drama with heart and will remind viewers of shows like Parenthood and Friday Night Lights. You will shed tears and laugh out loud, and by the end, you will understand why This Is Us has captivated audiences and earned itself 11 Emmy nominations.

Silicon Valley 
Where to Stream: HBO Go

Silicon Valley follows computer programmer Richard (Thomas Middleditch) and his friends as they chase their dreams and attempt to find success in Silicon Valley. The group of friends live together in a startup incubator run by millionaire Erlich Bachman (T.J. Miller), who allows the group to live in his house rent-free in exchange for a stake in the projects. When Richard figures out an algorithm, the group must figure out, in a series of hilarious events, how to monetize it and strike gold in the high-tech gold rush. Recently rapping in its fourth season in June, the show is still holding strong and is nominated for 10 Emmys this year.

The 69th Primetime Emmy Awards will be held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, CA on September 17th.

Posted by thesesociety_0md1v7 in Awards, Hollywood, Sellebrity
Spotlight: Villa Capistrano

Spotlight: Villa Capistrano

This article originally appeared in Sellebrity, Volume 1, Number 1.

With a history dating to 1776, the California city of San Juan Capistrano – perched between Los Angeles and San Diego – is one of the state’s oldest, most beautiful and most diverse communities. Many of the city’s homes pay architectural homage to Mission San Juan Capistrano, the city’s namesake…but none more dramatically or luxuriously than Villa Capistrano, located at 26162 Calle Roberto.

Purchased by Hollywood screenwriter Steve Oedekerk (whose credits include the Ace Ventura films, Evan Almighty and Jimmy Neutron) and his wife Tonie in 1997, the lush two-acre estate features an impeccably detailed 10,400 sq ft main home filled to the brim with unique amenities. A Spanish courtyard-themed home theater (complete with a star-filled night sky), a vaulted game room with raised karaoke stage and a soaring, 2-story living room that recalls a 5-star hotel lobby solidify Villa Capistrano as one of the state’s most distinctive and luxurious homes.

But it’s what’s outside the main house that truly amazes. Towards the back of the property sits The Clubhouse, a soaring, airy 3,222 sq ft live/work space that wouldn’t be out of place on a tech campus. Designed for film/television collaboration, The Clubhouse’s work space (with twin 25-ft desks) blends with a meeting area, a lounge, a kitchen, a dining space and a game room….all with tranquil views of Villa Capistrano’s resort-like outdoor space.

There’s no better place to enjoy San Juan Capistrano’s famed Southern California weather than the estate’s 2+ acres of relaxation. Covered, arched patios extend from the main home and encompass romantic seating areas and an outdoor kitchen with pizza oven; beyond them you’ll find a breathtaking, brick-lined Spanish pool & spa, dramatically accented with flaming terra cotta bowls.

But that’s not all. Between the wings of the main home is a private, tree-lined courtyard with a peaceful fountain….perfect for large-scale entertaining. But your guests needn’t feel confined to one space; wandering the beautifully landscaped grounds reveals a picturesque fire pit, as well as a stately, heated gazebo. And should the need for exercise arise, your own lighted tennis court and basketball court await…to say nothing of the property’s two workout rooms.

Villa Capistrano is truly one-of-a-kind, and its luxury and sophistication are unparalleled. The estate is offered at $9,995,000 by Kofi Nartey of Compass and Tracy Weintraub of Surterre Properties.

Posted by thesesociety_0md1v7 in Real Estate, Sellebrity
Capitalizing Legally in The Name Game

Capitalizing Legally in The Name Game

This article originally appeared in Sellebrity, Volume 1, Number 1.

Athletes, entertainers, and celebrities have tremendous value in their own name. Fans know who these people are often before the person obtains the financial benefits of stardom, and others will attempt to profit from the use of a celebrity’s name in a number of ways. Improper exploitation of a celebrity’s name, likeness, and image can be shut down if proper action is taken, and the support team around the public persona remain vigilant.

In a recent move, UFC Champion Conor McGregor, through his company McGregor Sports and Entertainment, filed trademark requests for his name and ‘The Notorious’, his nickname. McGregor is a recent example in a long string of athletes and celebrities who have locked up their name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Trademarking their name is becoming more commonplace for entertainers and athletes, and the practice is becoming big business. The USPTO allows people to trademark any “word, phrase, symbol, or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.” Similarly, the USPTO allows protection of service marks. Service marks are the same as trademarks, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods. Athletes are trademarking their names for both trade and service marks for various reasons.

Like entertainment before it, sports has become big business for the talent, and it hasn’t stopped with the final whistle. Athletes are becoming more adept in business, and they are branding themselves strategically to set up their post athletic careers. In addition to their names, athletes are protecting their nicknames. Hall of Fame baseball player Randy Johnson received a trademark for ‘The Big Unit’. NBA player Jeremy Lin secured ‘Linsanity’, Darrell Revis owns the rights to ‘Revis Island’, Super Bowl champion Marshawn Lynch has ‘Beast Mode’. Even Tim Tebow received a trademark for ‘Tebowing’.

These filings have helped celebrities manage their rights, even with the proliferation of social media and the internet. In 1999, Congress passed the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. Under the Act, a trademark owner can collect damages, and discourage an infringing domain name that is identical or similar to a distinctive or famous trademark. Athletes have gone on the offensive to protect their digital rights utilizing this law. Venus and Serena Williams were able to take back domain names, and social media companies have been responsive in shutting down accounts when a trademark owner finds accounts that infringe.

Athletes and entertainers have done more than just take back domain names. Some, like Shaquille O’Neal who received a trademark for his signature, license out their name (or in his case, his signature). Others look to create and license out their mark in various ways. McGregor claims he intends to use the ‘Connor McGregor’ mark “with products such as aftershave, video games, books, clothing, restaurants, barbershops and health clubs.” Regardless of how McGregor ends up using the mark, it will protect him from others capitalizing on his name without his consent.

Some athletes have not taken advantage of the opportunity they have to register their names, and it has caused problems and confusion. Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, has not protected his name. A person looking to capitalize on the race to the bottom by teams so they could draft Luck, registered “Suck for Luck”, and received the mark. Additionally, the United States Supreme Court in June ruled that even offensive marks can be registered. This means that entertainers and athletes (including leagues, teams, bands, performance groups, and individuals) should keep their marks current and be active in defending their marks to avoid squatters or others looking to capitalize quickly on the visibility of talented individuals.

While entertainers and athletes becoming savvier, action is often taken well after they should. With musicians or players who are getting their first taste of stardom, they should look to protect their names before they reach their peak. It is never too late to lock up their trademarks, but the earlier they do it, the more advantage they will have.

A few steps can help entertainers and athletes (and their advisors) protect their intellectual property rights before they become problematic:

  • With your lawyer, discuss securing trademarks for your name, nickname, logo, and other images associated with you and that you earn an income.
  • Strategize with your lawyer, business manager, and marketing agent to determine how you plan on capitalizing on your name, image, and likeness apart from your team/band/employer.
  • Work with your lawyer, business manager, and financial advisor to set up a holding company for your intellectual property.
  • Develop a game plan with your lawyer, marketing agent, and commercial agent on how you will work with brands looking to endorse you, and stopping others from using your name, image, and likeness without your permission.

There are a lot of different scenarios that can occur when working with athletes and entertainers regarding their intellectual property. These talented professionals should have a forward-thinking team working with them and protecting their intellectual property so they can focus on honing their craft and being the best in the world at what they do. When handled correctly, athletes and entertainers can make their on-field/stage income last a lifetime by creating additional revenue streams that may rival their income from their primary profession.

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Author Brandon Leopoldus is an is a California-based attorney protecting the assets, reputations, and transactions of businesses and individuals including athletes and entertainers. He is with the firm of Gerard Fox Law P.C. based in Los Angeles, and works regularly out of the firm’s other offices in New York City and Washington, D.C. Leopoldus is the Regional Captain of the Sports Lawyers Association, and has worked with Super Bowl Champions, Hall of Famers, MLB All-Stars, All-Americans, nationally recognized recording artists, actors, producers, directors, and other talented clients. He can be reached at

Posted by thesesociety_0md1v7 in Best Practices, Legal, Sellebrity, 0 comments