Question: You’ve been one of the most successful real estate agents in Pacific Palisades for decades. How have you managed to remain at the top all these years?
A: I began my career in real estate after being “retired” for several years and the first few years were a true learning curve for me. But it didn’t take me long to realize that building a team would prove to be the best way to offer exceptional service.
I now have a team of all-licensed agents who focus on their individual expertise and I believe that the level of service we provide, combined with the years of experience continues to keep us at the top.
Question: Can you tell us about your ‘team’ approach and how it helps your clients?
A: Considering my business background, the decision to gradually build a team was perfectly logical to me. Although I can certainly do all of the things involved in representing a client, I knew that the best way to serve my clients was to seek out experienced agents who had developed specific skills bringing their creativity and organizational skills.
Tatiana, who has a law degree, is our escrow manager, and Jolie, our buyer’s agent, have both been with me for 18 years. Christina, who has been on the team for nearly 15 years, has a background in staging and design and handles our seller preparations and marketing, and Monica, who joined us four years ago, brings her skills and a great sense of humor to help with all aspects of our transactions. Our clients gain the benefits of my expertise, insights, and problem-solving and negotiation skills while also having the added value of four additional professionals.
Question: Some people reach a certain level of success and then relax a bit. What motivates you to continue striving to work so hard for your clients?
A: I have always been a competitive person, especially with myself, thus I am always in pursuit of doing the best I can for clients. I have even been accused of going far beyond the call of duty to help resolve a conflict or to make a client happy. I wouldn’t like myself, however, if we did not do everything within our power on behalf of our clients.
Question: How have you weathered the ups and downs in the real estate market?
A: A well-built ship can sail the seas regardless of the weather. When the real estate market is challenged, such as it was in 2008-2011, we continue to seek out any opportunities to help people and to quickly develop any new skills required.
For example, when the market turned in 2008, we became certified as trained specialists in working with short sales. We have also been the leading local leasing team, averaging 15+ each year.
Question: What’s a typical day like for you?
A: Most of my days begin with early mild exercise and meditation, and I am usually in the office by 8:30 am. Several nights each week I return to the office after dinner with my wife and continue to answer emails, take after-hours calls, analyze the current marketplace conditions and catch up on various real estate news topics.
On an average day, I handle about 250 emails, am on the phone about 3 hours, usually evaluate a couple of properties for homeowners, and can be out of the office showing property or at inspections.
Question: What are the main changes you’ve seen in the real estate industry in the Palisades?
A: More agents hiring an assistant, other evolving their own versions of teams, and a greater percentage of sales being done by fewer agents. Also, most agents seem to rely mostly on the internet to market their listings.
Question: Are there certain neighborhoods in the Palisades that have emerged as more attractive to homebuyers or does each have its own unique advantages?
A: Over the years, all Village-adjacent neighborhoods have steadily increased in popularity, and I suspect that it will only continue as Caruso’s project gets underway, and possibly even more so once it is completed. On the other hand, many people have a strong desire for an ocean view, whether near the Village or not.
Question: You and your wife have been very involved in giving back to the community. Can you tell us about some of the organizations that are most important to you?
A: The Women’s Club, Chrysalis Street Maintenance program, our library and the local schools are all integral parts of the community and we are happy to be supportive of them.
Question: Do you have any plans to retire?
A: I’ve done that already decades ago. I didn’t find it suited to me after several years, so I don’t think I’d like to do it again! I don’t even like the sound of it. Seriously, I plan to continue growing, learning, contributing, and doing what I genuinely love with as much energy and enthusiasm as I can.