Two Top Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles brokers discuss the luxury market. James Harris and David Parnes are long-time cast members of Bravo’s hit reality real estate show. They sell high ticket properties that define Los Angeles’ luxury market. As Principals at The Agency in Beverly Hills, their current listings include a nine-figure Bel Air estate. The pair also sold the noted Holmby Hills Aaron and Candy Spelling 56,000 square foot mansion for nine-figures.
The British business partners grew up together in London as their Mums were best friends. They started their Los Angeles real estate careers knocking on doors around Bel Air and Beverly Hills while leaving their business cards in mailboxes. Fast forward to today.
It’s no surprise well-healed sellers and developers entrust their multi-million-dollar properties to Harris and Parnes. These days the pair are listing and selling homes and estates around Los Angeles’ moneyed enclaves in just days. Most often for well above asking prices. Their secret sauce is a combination of in-depth market knowledge, a deep client base combined with the fact these Brits are simply nice guys.
Here’s their take on why Los Angeles’ luxury market is commanding top dollar and why homes are selling faster than ever.
EP: How are the current luxury market dynamics different from other markets you’ve seen?
JH: We’re seeing a lot of movement in the high-end market, with some transactions happening quietly off-market. While COVID-19 has had an impact on many industries, in some areas of the country, real estate has been one sector that saw a decline earlier in the year, but then bounced back rapidly. This is due to more people being able to work remotely paired with a desire for more room. Amenities such as home offices, media rooms, and larger kitchens with expansive pantries are among the items buyers are now searching for since the rise of the pandemic. Additionally, there has been a significant uptick in higher priced rentals for people who are planning to sequester through the winter into 2021 in a beautiful home in Los Angeles.
EP: What are the differences in what people want in certain areas?
JH: There is a high demand for homes in Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, Hollywood Hills, Sherman Oaks, to name a few. Each of these sought-after neighborhoods have very strong market activity. For the foreseeable future, as people will still spend time at home, these areas will continue to be in demand, especially for those seeking sunshine and space coming from large urban areas or colder climates. Each of these areas offer a unique lifestyle. As an example, Beverly Hills and Bel Air offer expansive homes and land so families can spread out and enjoy a true indoor, outdoor lifestyle while being close to the beaches and outdoor shopping and dining districts. Alternatively, Sherman Oaks offers a bit more bang for the buck for price per square foot.
EP: What are the hottest areas right now?
DP: Encino and Studio City’s new construction sales are booming with some recent, record-breaking sales. Additionally, Pasadena has also been a very competitive market since COVID. Pasadena is celebrated for its stunning building preservation and sense of community. Due to the pent-up interest in this area, we’ve partnered with Gus Ruelas, Managing Partner of The Agency Pasadena, and local agent Danny Cerecedes. In partnership with Gus and Danny, we’ll be able to fully service our clients seeking homes in the Pasadena region, especially since we’ve seen so much activity and an influx of buyers in this region.
EP: Talk about the buyer profiles you are seeing?
DP: Interestingly we are seeing many well-to-do parents buying homes for their children in all-cash deals. Family is more important than ever and having everyone close by and in a safe haven is the new norm.
EP: Are you seeing multiple offers, bidding wars, and properties selling above asking price?
DP: Yes, we’ve had a few recent multiple offer situations and bidding wars with properties selling over the asking price as a result. The demand is outweighing the supply in many areas and in certain price points.
EP: Advice for sellers and buyers in this market?
JH: For buyers, make sure you are pre-approved and have financials ready to be provided with an offer to make a strong argument. Short contingency periods and all-cash deals are always desirable. A strong cover letter with your offer that personalizes you and your family is also helpful since selling a home is a highly emotional and personal process.
For sellers, ready the home by decluttering and staging if necessary, use professional photography to show the property at its best, and make sure to price accordingly to elicit the strongest response when the listing launches. The highest price is not always the best offer in a multiple offer situation. Look at all terms and the big picture. Who is the buyer who is the most likely to close the escrow?
Good advice as the Los Angeles market continues to surprise.