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Member Contribution: It’s not Competition its Collaboration

by Ed Castner | McGriff Insurance, Assistant Vice Principal

It cracks me up every time I hear someone talk about wanting to be the only person within their field of business in a networking group. I can’t believe that some people still come from such a place of lack trying to make sure that they are the only option. They miss out on so much more and the chance to really grow their business and if taking care of the client is truly their number one focus then they better network with people from other companies in the same field.

One of the things I love about SES is that there is no exclusivity because it enables people in the same industry to share ideas, best practices, and really try to help each other grow. I can tell you that I regularly talk to other agents with the same areas of focus as mine so that we can share information and best practices to grow our businesses. Then what’s even better, is that I have referred business to a “competitor” because they had access to a product or market that I did not, and I have received some very good referrals from them as well.

Think about people you have met in the same industry as you that you have met and actually liked talking to, then reach out to them and start building a relationship. Who knows, they may give you some industry insight you didn’t have, connect you with someone to help your business, give you business down the road, or maybe it’s a relationship that solves a big problem for one of your clients when you may not have had the best solution. Your client will never be more impressed and loyal than if you tell them, “in this case I want to send you to Jane Doe because she has a better option than I do for you and I want to make sure you are protected”.

So think collaboration and not competition.

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A New Look on Life

by Stephen Sabo, Simple Society

Most clients and advisors that we work with think of life insurance as a necessary evil– something you must have (and pay for) to protect the ones you care about if the unthinkable happens. Life insurance absolutely is that– and I have seen first-hand the positive economic impact it can have on the loved ones of someone lost too soon.  But what if it could offer significantly more– not just to the beneficiaries, but clients themselves while they live?

Permanent life insurance has a cash value component that builds up during the life of the policy and is fully accessible to the policy owner for use while the insured is still living. There are a variety of different policy constructs that allow for customization to the needs and risk tolerance of each individual client, ranging from very stable and predictable (whole life) to more aggressive (variable life). Regardless of which end of the spectrum the design falls on, however, if properly structured the plan enjoys favorable lifetime tax treatment.

Generally, life insurance is funded with post-tax capital, but then policy values grow tax-deferred, income can be taken tax-free during life, and any remaining death benefit is ultimately paid tax-free to beneficiaries. Therefore when designed correctly, permanent life insurance provides lifetime tax abatement– and in doing so provides high-income clients access to a tax favored asset location when other more traditional routes (think Roth IRA/401k) may be more difficult or even impossible to accumulate a meaningful amount of capital in.  Also, unlike those other vehicles dedicated to traditional retirement planning, there are no age-based rules on distribution dates, no income thresholds restricting access, and no contribution limitations on amounts that can be dedicated to this part of the overall allocation.

We are seeing surging interest in this type of asset, as astute advisors and clients are working to position client portfolios for the likely inevitable tax rate increases down the line. A legislative change in late 2020 has increased the overall efficiency of many of these types of plans– reducing the cost “friction” and making these types of plans even more attractive. There are also many funding options, including a strategy called premium financing (which uses bank credit to fund the policy premiums instead of client capital) that have significantly increased the efficiency of this planning due to the low interest rate environment.

Whether or not you have reviewed cash value life insurance in the past, give life a new look– you may find it more attractive than you anticipated!

 

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3 Reasons Why We Should Be Talking About Athletes in Philanthropy

By: Dr. Mimi Nartey, Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Nartey Sports Foundation | NarteySportsFoundation.com

Philanthropy is an important part of a democratic society because it directs resources and attention to marginalized groups or unpopular causes.  From a historical perspective, philanthropy was founded on the large-scale donations of a number of individuals and families who made their wealth during the industrialization era, such as the Sage, Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Ford families.  In recent times, more individuals are seeking to promote the welfare of others by donating time, money experience, skills or talent.  Athletes are a unique group of emerging philanthropists that we should be paying attention to, and here are three reasons why:

Athletes will constitute a growing proportion of the high net worth and the ultra-high net worth.

Although athletes only represent about 1% of millionaires in the United States, over the past couple of decades, we have seen an undeniable change in the ways that athletes are handling their resources.  Many are re-investing their money in business and real estate to build out empires and create intergenerational legacies of wealth and influence.  This is translating to staggering net worth projections for a variety of athletes across all sports.  We are seeing a greater number of athletes displaying serious business acumen and surrounding themselves with top industry experts to use their salaries as capital for wealth-building investments.

Projected Net Worth

Serena Williams $250 M Tennis
Wayne Gretzky $250 M Hockey
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson $280 M Wrestling (WWE)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. $300 M Stock Car Racing (NASCAR)
George Foreman $300 M Boxing
Alex Rodriguez $350 M Baseball
Lionel Messi $400 M Futbol/Soccer
Lebron James $440 M Basketball
David Beckham $450 M Futbol/Soccer
Roger Federer $450 M Tennis
Cristiano Ronaldo $450 M Futbol/Soccer
Floyd Mayweather $565 M Boxing
Magic Johnson $600 M Basketball
Tiger Woods $800 M Golf
Michael Jordan $1.9 B Basketball

2. Athletes leverage more influence on popular culture than traditional philanthropists.

In the same way that athletes are leveraging themselves in business to achieve unprecedented success, many are also using their celebrity status to increase visibility for the causes and campaigns they want to champion. Historically, the great philanthropic families that emerged out of the industrial era have always leveraged influence in high society, but athletes arguably leverage influence at all levels of society. Unlike traditional philanthropists, athletes have a significant amount of influence over popular culture and unique brand partnerships to leverage.  This translates to a potentially greater return in visibility and support per dollar invested in business or charity.  Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, David Beckham, Derek Jeter, and Jeff Gordon are ranked among the most charitable athletes, and they have used a combination of wealth, social media influence, and brand ambassadorships to integrate themselves and their causes into mainstream consciousness.

3. Athletes are often coming from personal experiences with marginalization that affords them a deeper intrinsic understanding.

Unlike families that are continuing long-standing legacies of philanthropy, many self-made athletes are just a generation or two away from experiences with marginalization or poverty.  These personal experiences or recent family history inspire an empathic brand of philanthropy that is uniquely authentic to them.  These individuals are acutely aware of the circumstances that are creating vulnerabilities for underserved populations, and they are able to design interventions and organize resources in a particularly efficient way.  For example, Lebron James struggled with poverty and homelessness in his early life.  Now he is the most charitable NBA, with his foundation (The Lebron James Family Foundation) donating over $1 million dollars annually to support the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio.  The School targets at-risk children and provides them with programs, support, mentorship, and a stable learning environment at school and at home.  His own experiences have given him the compassion and motivation to make a difference in the community he is from.

While athletes are not the dominant majority of high net worth individuals in the United States or globally, they are an emerging group that is poised to leverage wealth, fame, influence, and empathy to make a significant difference in the world.

Sources Cited

• www.sports-management-degrees.com/lists/five-most-philanthropic-professional-athletes/

• philanthropynewyork.org/sites/default/files/resources/History%20of%20Philanthropy.pdf

• www.distractify.com/p/lebron-james-charity-donations

 

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On Top of the World of Luxury: Dubai’s Burj Al Arab Serves as the Gold Standard for High-End Hotels

Unveiled in 1999, the Burj Al Arab made all heads turn toward Dubai. At the time, had shattered every notion of what luxury should be. With its exotic locale on a manmade island in the UAE, it has reigned supreme among all 5-star hotels worldwide for 21 years.

For those that seek the royal treatment, few places in the world can match the elite style of Burj Al Arab. Privacy, seclusion, luxury, and impeccable service await your every command, set to a backdrop of beautiful waters and extensive list of amenities that make a stay here nothing short of perfection.

Extravagance in Every Room

A stay in Burj Al Arab assures that no guest will find themselves in cramped quarters. Every room in this luxury property is a deluxe suite. The triangular shape of the hotel, designed to look like the sail of a ship jutting from the sea, was a deliberate intention to ensure every guest had luxury accommodations.

The rooms are lavish with features too. Mattresses cost more than cars and bedding is stuffed with genuine duck feathers for an unparalleled sleeping experience. Adding in even more comfort, guests have access to a pillow menu where they have a choice of 17 options that vary in firmness and size. A 14-piece Hermès set of toiletries awaits in the grandiose bathroom of every suite.

Sublime Service

The distinction of the Burj Al Arab is having access to service any time, day or night. Your wish is their command, and with 6 staff members to every guest, the efficiency is incredible. Private 24-hour butler service is included for every suite as well, meaning that guests will have full attention for fulfilling their desires.

In the world of luxury hotels, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one that won’t offer car service from the airport. Burj Al Arab goes above and beyond, setting a new standard with a fleet of Rolls-Royce cars ready to pick you up so you can arrive in style. Should you desire to go on excursions around Dubai, the cars will escort you there as well.

Why keep to the ground though? The hotel also boasts a private helipad. If there’s anything that can rival a Rolls-Royce, private helicopter charters might just be it. However, if your desire is to play golf at the top of the world, the helipad can be converted into a golf green or a tennis court. It also famously became a racetrack in 2013.

Luxuries Abound Throughout

Guests have their choice of ways to indulge during their stay in the Burj Al Arab. The private beaches allow for proper sun-soaking with staff at the ready to bring you anything you desire. Telise Spa offers all the premium pampering and treatments in a serene and beautiful surrounding when you’d rather take a break from the sun.

From the atrium to the hallways to the aquariums, 24-karat gold leaf adorns massive pillars and elevator doors. The gold carries through to engraved iPads that are given to every guest on arrival to book spa treatments, summon the butler, and access the dining menus.

Each restaurant in the hotel is an epicurean experience all its own though Al Mahara is helmed by Michelin-starred chef Nathan Outlaw who creates enchanting fresh seafood dishes. Indulge with a tasting and wine pairing option to truly sip and savor every last bit of the good life at Burj Al Arab.

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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, Zillow.com

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, Zillow.com

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.

BlackEnterprise.com: 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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