Our own Jonathan Nash recently spoke with BBC News about his career and the differences between selling luxury real estate in Los Angeles verus the UK.
“It’s a wonderful life and totally incomparable to being an agent in the UK,” says Jonathan Nash, a native Brit now based in LA.
After making a “last minute” decision to move to LA from St John’s Wood, west London, in 2013. He had always wanted to live in the US, and had friends working in real estate in LA.
Jonathan is now half of the top performing team of Resnick & Nash at Hilton & Hyland. Together with partner Stephen Resnick, they have amassed an incredible sales record in excess of $450 million, and both rank among the top 1% of agents in Los Angeles.
Jonathan has sold properties for up to $56m, and represented buyers for sales including TV host Elle DeGeneres’ Beverly Hills home, and an opulent estate built for property developer Mohamed Hadid – dad of supermodels Gigi and Bella.
“There’s always a Hollywood story when you’re in prime LA, it’s always the former home of [someone],” he says, noting another sale last year that had been previously owned by both Gwen Stefani and J Lo.
“In England, it’s all about kings and queens, royalty, whereas here the historic figures are the who’s who of film, music [and] entertainment.”
However, Jonathan does recall the “pleasure” of working with homes in London that had “centuries of history and fabulous old world architecture which does not exist en masse in LA”.
While he has only dipped his toe in the world of US property TV, making appearances on Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing and NBC’s Open House, Jonathan says such shows often form part of the job in LA.
“A certain segment of the client base absolutely love that and want to be involved in it,” he explains. “Because at the end of the day – it’s Hollywood. It’s one of the many factors that makes LA real estate desirable and exciting.”
In the UK, Jonathan worked for central London estate agency Aston Chase, before setting up his own real estate development and property auction firms.
Comparing the real estate industry in the two countries, he says their fundamental differences are in the regulation – agents in the US are professionally qualified, in contrast to the UK – and the earning potential.
An agent in LA could earn commission of about $1m for selling a $40m home, says Jonathan. This comes from a typical commission of 5%, split in half equally between the agents representing the buyers and sellers of the property.
In the UK, estate agents charge between 1 and 3% of the agreed selling price for a home.
There are also some differences in the way homes are sold, with networking and home furnishings both playing a key role in LA.
Tuesday mornings in LA are reserved for open houses, where agents are invited by brokers to view new listings across the city, and then there’s “a lot of lunches and dinners” with clients.
“It’s a social business,” says Jonathan.
Decor is “crucial” when selling real estate, according to Jonathan. This Hollywood Hills home, listed at $6.5m, was fully furnished by a homeowner with “an extremely high taste profile.”
Landscaping that allows for an indoor-outdoor lifestyle is also important.
SOLD | Rising Glen | Sunset Strip
Homes might also need “staging” – furnishing. “We get to set-design the house if you will,” says Jonathan. “It really helps to sell real estate.
“Showing vacant houses with no furniture does happen [in London] and it doesn’t show a home in the best light.”
There are two predominant staging companies in LA, Meridith Baer and Vesta, that each have a “signature look”, he adds.
“A lot of the homes do end up with the same pieces in them, but it’s as much about creating the right sort of look as it is creating warmth in the house.”
Jonathan also covers Santa Monica and Malibu, selling homes such as this $12m property with ocean views.
For Jonathan, the US way of working and the lifestyle in LA is the selling point.
“I really feel that I’m in one of the best businesses to be in because we’re all self-employed. Our days are so varied. We’re running around town meeting great people,” he says.
There’s also a lot to do off-duty in the city, he adds. “We’re very lucky in LA because, in one direction, we have mountains and in the other direction we have the ocean.
“In one day, I’ve gone from skiing in the mountains to having Nobu [a Japanese restaurant] by the ocean.
“It’s a great life out here.”
Jonathan’s tips for selling your home the LA way
- Find the right agent with “a track record of selling similar properties”, and “trust their advice”
- Pricing is “everything” – people know when something’s too expensive
- “Staging is very important, candles are very important, flower arrangements are very important”
- Landscaping is also key. “Those that pay as much detail and put the same money into the landscape really benefit from it on the back end”
- And make sure you’re not at home for viewings. “Agents are employed to keep an arm’s length between buyer and seller”
Original article written by Ella Wills for BBC News featuring Jonathan Nash of Hilton & Hyland Real Estate Inc.
For Sale | 5944 Filaree Hts | Malibu | $12,000,000 | View Listing