PHOTO: Josh Altman, Matt Altman, Cindy Ambuehl COURTESY OF SUBJECT (3)
Top brokers are seeing record sales as wealthy entertainment-industry clients trade up for more space amid the pandemic: “It’s as active a year as we’ve ever had.”
“It’s not for the timid,” says Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties’ Elisabeth Halsted of L.A.’s supercharged market, where many agents are on track to have their best sales year ever and buyers “need to have a strong stomach,” she adds, given the premium prices that blue-chip houses are commanding. Malibu’s average sales price, for example, jumped to $5.5 million in the second quarter of 2021, up from $3.4 million in the same period a year earlier (per Douglas Elliman), while the greater L.A. region hit a new record high median sale price in July of $682,000. “It’s as active a year as we’ve ever had,” says Westside Estate Agency’s Kurt Rappaport. Adds Coldwell Banker’s Joyce Rey, “People have wanted to move up and have a house with a gym, a house with dual offices, have a garden where they can spend time out of doors.” For this list of the top 30 agents in L.A., THR looked at overall sales volume, MLS-listed sales to Hollywood clients and media visibility to make its selections.
Josh and Matt Altman
In the past 12 months, dynamic duo brothers Josh and Matt Altman of Douglas Elliman completed deals for Norman Lear, James Cameron, Kathy Griffin and Justin Bieber (who bought a $25.8 million house in Beverly Park). Their advice for marketing high-profile homes? “Get your own TV show! LOL. We are selling a lifestyle, and that lifestyle happens to appeal to Tinseltown,” says Josh, star of Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles. Adds Matt, “We are having our best year, forecasting to close over $1 billion in sales.”
“It’s a race,” says Compass’ Cindy Ambuehl of the market, which has seen her increase the size of her team as well as bring what might have been off-market sales in years past to the MLS. “The higher the exposure, the higher the price,” she says. Such was the strategy for David E. Kelley and Michelle Pfeiffer’s Pacific Palisades property, which she sold for $25 million in August.
In his 17th year in real estate, Bolivia native Santiago Arana of The Agency (who came to America with only $120) has closed deals totaling $310 million for clients including Anthony and Stella Hopkins, Jennifer Grey, TMG Fresh and Vice Media’s Shane Smith, whose Santa Monica estate sold for a jaw-dropping $48.6 million. He says, “The market has been and will continue to be a seller’s market and very active.”
Rochelle Atlas Maize
NOURMAND & ASSOCIATES
Nourmand & Associates’ forward-thinking agent Rochelle Atlas Maize started in real estate as a hobby. Fast-forward to 2021, and Atlas Maize is embracing technology while closing $121 million this year. “I began to dive further into video coverage and VR while exploring other avenues that had untapped potential,” she says. Her standout project: a listing in Santa Monica where she invited TikTok creators to film content. The gambit resulted in multiple offers within two weeks and a final sale of $5.1 million for a house that had sat on the market for eight months. She notes, “Publicity brings more eyes onto listings, which then translates to sales.”
Over his career, Ikem Chukumerije has cultivated a coveted list of clients like Ava DuVernay, YouTube beauty guru Jackie Aina, journalist-host Elaine Welteroth and NBA star Chris Paul, with a focus on athletes constantly on the move. “I obtained my California license in 2006 and quickly expanded my reach by earning licenses in Nevada, Texas, Georgia, Florida, Washington, New York and Utah,” he says. “Why work to obtain licenses in these other states? I wanted to build a lifelong connection with my clients, no matter where they reside.”
Jordan Cohen is RE/MAX’s No. 1 seller out of the company’s more than 135,000 agents worldwide. Known for his sports clientele — “I’ve repped about 125 pro athletes,” he says — Cohen specializes in the Westlake Village/Calabasas area. “I work by myself with two assistants. Last year, I closed over $295 million,” says the agent. Among his recent deals: sales for Shark Tank‘s Robert Herjavec, Lakers star Anthony Davis and Poison’s Bret Michaels. In April, Disney CEO Bob Chapek, as previously reported, spent $12.5 million on a six-bedroom residence in Westlake Village listed by Cohen. He also has a strong social game with 527,000 Instagram followers. In 2019, Cohen sold a $6.4 million mansion to WWE star The Miz after the athlete reached out to him via DM.
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