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Just saw your team at Aaron Kirman Partners closed a ginormous $45 million deal in Bel-Air. Firstly, congratulations are in order. Give us the scoop.
We do a lot of properties that are on and off listing, mostly in the $1 million to $100 million range. It’s shifted recently where it was more of a seller’s market the past few years. This year has been more of a buyer’s market. It’s always nice when you can close a huge deal like that, and we have a lot of buyers overseas. We tend to go after the European buyers for the higher value homes, because they have allocated the money to make a big investment beforehand. I specialize in luxury homes, from marketing and decor down to the drone shots and tour showings. This was a big win for our entire team at Aaron Kirman.
When did you first become interested in real estate, showing places, representing properties, closing clients, the business of selling locations to live, work, and play?
I got into real estate about five or six years ago. My mother went through a really tough situation with a friend, who was an agent, that really screwed her over. She was selling her home while having another one built, and she trusted him as both a friend and agent. Turns out he built her home on a chemical gas line, he knew this beforehand but went after the money instead of properly representing her. Then he disappeared. It was a terrible experience for her, and I just remember thinking like, I would never do that to a client, a friend, anyone. That jump-started my interest in real estate. A lot of these agents are shady and just want a check.
Did you already possess the sales talent and consultative abilities needed, or were these skills you developed over time?
I have always been the person everyone comes to for advice, on everything (Laughs!) – from boyfriend advice to the best doctor, from travel plans to car purchases. So speaking with clients came naturally. And I have always had that hustler’s mentality, but there’s a way to do it ethically with your client’s best interests as your main priority.
You specialize in both residential and commercial real estate. Is there a drastic difference between the two?
With commercial real estate there isn’t really any emotion to it. It’s like – do you like the building or do you not (Laughs!). With residential, you are more of a counselor – and sometimes a therapist – guiding your client through what can be a long, confusing process, and truly connecting with them on a personal level.
A few years ago the “Yes On S” proposition, also known as Measure S, campaigned against the city planned urban sprawl agenda in favor of slow-growth and affordable housing. Mayor Garcetti was against the proposition, which contributed to it not passing. Without getting into politics here, do you feel affordable housing is even a realistic ideal in Los Angeles?
I wish there was affordable housing, so many clients come to me seeking homes that fit their budget, and not only with the idea of residing in the home but often times as an investment. The reality is 800 square feet may cost you half a million dollars, and that’s not a lot of space for that type of money. I speak with home buyers who instantly feel defeated, and that hurts. I wish the market would soften up a bit.
Whenever I’m in areas of LA like Hancock Park, West Hollywood, Melrose, Westwood, Mar Vista, and Santa Monica, I see these yard signs protesting against building “McMansions”. What’s your take on this?
You know, I totally get where they’re coming from but you have to merge with the times. They don’t want people moving into their communities in droves and building these modern, Cape Cod style homes that drastically alter the landscape and steal the neighborhood’s charm. After a while you won’t recognize your once quaint neighborhood. But you live in LA, one of the most sought after places to live in the entire world, so people from all over are bringing their tastes and interests which really adds to the area. And it actually increases their property value to have a mansion on their block.
Your new series “Listing Impossible” is coming soon. Tell us about it.
Yes! The show premiers July 25th at 10 PM on CNBC. There’s eight one-hour episodes. It’s a business show about the Aaron Kirman group’s 75 agents. It centers around me, my daily grind as a real estate agent, and what it takes for us all to be successful. People don’t realize we don’t make a dollar until we sell something. People think we just sell a home for a million dollars and instantly make all this money, but it’s not really like that. You must have thick skin because there are a lot of potential clients who don’t close for various reasons, and it’s a 24-7 job that you can’t really clock out of; at least not and still be successful – I get calls all the time, and I take them. Listing Impossible takes you behind the scenes of life as a top side agent in Los Angeles.
Many power industries are male dominated, like sports, entertainment, and politics, for example. Do you feel that careers in real estate fall into this category? I see so many women such as yourself commanding power player roles in the real estate lane, but that could just be my consumer view.
It’s definitely changing, becoming more balanced, and there’s already women doing really big things in the industry. For example, there’s Sally Forster Jones who has one of the top teams in LA. Her group is doing really well. I think so many girls are winning in this industry because we have a way of talking to clients in a manner that’s more caring and patient, not so cutthroat. For some, selling is their only goal; their sole priority. But you have to consider that your client is investing millions of dollars into a home they will live in for years, it’s a huge decision. I think women’s understanding of this gives us an edge in the business.
Your mother, Pamela Bach, is an actress and model, your father, David Hasselhoff, a star and producer, both are well known here in the states and wildly popular in Europe. Were they surprised when you decided to pursue a career in real estate rather than following their footsteps into entertainment?
Not really surprised, I’m a jack of all trades who’s literally had every job under the sun, and they’ve seen me go through different sort of mini-careers doing various things. Everytime I talk to my dad he’s like ‘what are you endeavoring to do now?’ (Laughs!). He knows I’ve always been a go-getter, and he saw me react and really feel what my mother went through with that horrible real estate experience, so he told me to go for it. My mom was the same way, she said ‘you have the people skills and personality for it, plus you love to help people’. They’ve always supported anything I was really passionate about.
Let’s say Drake came to you and said – ‘I want something amazing overlooking the ocean’ – where would you put him?
I probably would say Malibu or Pacific Palisades. He could go out and run normal errands because Malibu residents aren’t phased by celebrities. My dad did Baywatch for 11 years in that area, I spent summers there during that time. Drake could escape his fame to an extent while remaining close enough to LA for business and pleasure. He would enjoy the freedom from his fame.
Let’s say Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady, who live in both New York and Massachusetts, approach you and say – ‘We want to be in the city, near the LA mix but anonymous enough to accommodate our fame’ – where is the perfect place for them?
Hollywood Hills, specifically The Bird Streets neighborhood. I just did a showing there today, close to Doheny right off Sunset. They would be minutes away from Hollywood’s craziness, and it’s peaceful up in the hills. Really quiet, spacious homes, and you get those nice ocean views. Perfect for them.