“This house is for sale,” realtor Josh Altman reminded the room full of colleagues who’d just previewed the eighth season of Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles” from inside a contemporary five-bedroom property in Doheny Estates on Wednesday night. “It’s $10 million, and you can have it tonight!”
That gumption is perhaps why Josh and his (three-year) older brother and business partner, Matt Altman, set annual sales goals of $300 million and have a glitzy roster of clients that range from Kim Kardashian to Michael Strahan to Denise Richards, whose home is currently on the market. “We just sold Reba McEntire’s house in Beverly Park about a month ago for $22.5 million. We sold Miley Cyrus’ house this year, three to four months ago, in Hidden Hills. This was like a musical year for us,” Josh joked.
These gains didn’t come without challenges. “The market has continued to go up the last three years, and because of that, we’re dealing with unrealistic sellers,” Josh explained. “Everyone’s a developer! Now we have everybody from other careers, who are taking whatever extra money they have to develop houses, because it’s such a hot market. So that’s kind of what we struggle with this whole season: beautiful homes, but unrealistic expectations.”
Something he’s also seeing more of this year are off-market deals. “These are houses that are not on the MLS, but they’re available for sale — they’re called pocket listings. So a lot of deals get made off-market. And that’s because there’s such a lack of good inventory; if I have a great listing, sometimes I’ll just call up my own people and be able to get it done,” he said.
Many of said people come by way of Matt Altman, who formerly worked as a talent agent at CAA before he began flipping houses with Josh in his spare time, and the two decided to make their hobby a day job. “Most of our clients are the young celeb clientele,” noted Matt, who deals with “people’s emotions” while Josh manages the financial aspect for the team now working under Douglas Elliman. “A lot of these are new money people — young actors, young celebrities getting their first big movie deal, or young athletes getting their first big playoff deal.”
What does this clientele particularly want? “View properties are getting the most price-per-square-foot than any other properties,” said Josh. “Places like Trousdale and the Bird Streets are absolutely on fire. You’re paying the highest price-per-square-foot in Trousdale than anywhere in all of Los Angeles,” he added, noting that Los Angeles is still cheap, globally speaking. “If you want a beautiful house in Beverly Hills, although it might seem expensive, it’s cheap, because if you want a beautiful house in London or Paris or these other big-time major cities, you’re paying twice, three times as much.”
And while he’d classify the market as “a seller’s paradise,” L.A. homes are now expected to come equipped with features like movie theaters (“we’re in the movie business!”), wine cellars (“that you can eat dinner in”), pools, smart home systems with remotes that are programmable from abroad and a more-than-two-car garage. (“Because if you’re up here and you’re spending millions of dollars, chances are you have really nice cars,” Josh said.) He’s even seen plastic surgery centers, weed growing plants and car elevators.
“You never know what’s going to happen,” Josh exclaimed — though real estate fans can find out more in his book “It’s Your Move,” out September 29, or on what he terms the “most intense” season of “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles,” which premiered this week. “We have the greatest job in the world, and I tell people this every day.”
Josh Altman’s Real Estate Tips:
1- Selling a house, you want to make sure that when you put it on the market and you get an offer, don’t take anything personally. I’ve seen some of the best deals come together, and they started off horribly.
2- You want to depersonalize and de-clutter your property. That means that whoever walks in is going to feel like this could be their house. So you want to get rid of all of your personal stuff — stage it, and you get your money back by 10x sometimes.
3- If you’re buying, write multiple offers. Don’t be afraid to offer on a property. I throw it against the wall and I see what sticks. And if nothing sticks, no big deal, but if something does, I just got a great deal.