Bennett Hirsch and Nick Sandler, a pair of top-performing agents with luxury brokerage The Agency in California scored back-to-back sales in Los Feliz, Los Angeles, and Sherman Oaks in the San Fernando Valley, but what’s notable is how fast they sold — and for just how much over the asking price.
Both multi-million dollar luxury properties — one at 2420 Glendower Avenue in Los Feliz, the other at 4091 Deervale Drive in Sherman Oaks — sold for a $1 million over their original asking prices and just over a week after they were listed, Hirsch told Inman earlier this week.
“If you were to ask us two months ago if Glendower would be selling with a ‘5’ in front of it and Deervale would be selling with a ‘4’ in front of it, I’d say you were out of your mind,” Hirsch told Inman in a recent conversation via Zoom.
To understand what he and Sandler did to nail the transaction, Hirsch took Inman behind the scenes, for an anatomy of the deal, so to speak.
Hirsch and Sandler credited their success to three main factors: sophisticated marketing, pricing the properties well and the heat of the current market.
“So much of our brand that we’ve built over time has been about the way that we market our properties and try to create something that actually has some feeling and emotion,” Sandler told Inman.
“It’s always been a priority for Bennett and I both to just make sure that when we market our properties, they’re done in a very sophisticated manner and they showcase the house in a very sophisticated way,” he added.
The pair works with a professional staging company and, occasionally, a professional art staging company (for both deals, they used stagers and art stagers) in order to showcase a property at its best.
Since the clientele interested in these kinds of properties are typically collectors of high-end art, Hirsch added that it’s important the quality of art staged in the home be on par with the quality of the furniture used to stage it, and that it all evokes an emotional connection within potential buyers.
“Having pieces on a wall that have texture and color and are real art pieces and are not only aesthetically pleasing, but you can see the strokes of the brush, elevate the [home’s] overall feeling,” Hirsch said.
“What goes for a premium in Los Angeles is emotion,” he later added. “It’s what surpasses price-per-foot, it’s what supersedes lot size, and if you have an emotional product, you’re set up for ultimate success in terms of getting the highest number.”
After the duo sets the scene with the right staging, they move on to what they call the “one-two punch” of their top-notch videography and photography of the property to market online across multiple platforms.
Unlike some photographers and agents who use a wide-angle lens in order to capture every nook and cranny of a home, Hirsch and Sandler said they go for a more natural shot that they said ultimately feels a bit more nuanced. And it leaves room for the imagination to explore.
“We give you little tastes for you to flip through these photos and say ‘I need to see this house,'” Hirsch said.
Likewise, property marketing videos are meant to serve as teasers while leaving an air of mystery so that potential buyers are left wanting more. They’re also perfectly scaled to be put into Instagram Stories and are cultivated to appeal to the kind of buyer who might be interested in that particular property.
“We’re trying to make it like a movie trailer and you want to come see the film, and if you feel like the trailer tells you the ending of the movie, you’re probably less likely to step foot in our door or go to the theater,” Hirsch explained.
Pricing it right
After earning a $1 million premium for their sellers on two properties, Sandler said he was certain that some agents were probably thinking that they intentionally and severely underpriced the homes. But, he stressed to Inman, that wasn’t the case.
“A lot of people, unfortunately, in this business, oftentimes they see that and think, ‘Oh these guys must have grossly priced this way, way under what the market value was,'” Sandler said. “I think the interesting thing for both of these cases was, that was not the strategy at all. We evoked the strategy where it was priced probably a hair under what we thought market value was to attract attention, but it was really just the natural buildup of the market doing its thing that created this frenzy.”
Instead, Hirsch and Sandler’s quality marketing and a lack of inventory carried a fair price to new heights in both cases.
“The market’s crazy, so to say that it’s just us doing this magic obviously wouldn’t be realistic,” Hirsch acknowledged.
Like many Realtors across the country, Hirsch and Sandler are battling a severely low inventory market. So, when they get listings that have been recently renovated and are in good condition, the market brings them plenty of eligible buyers.
On both deals, Hirsch and Sandler said they had what they saw as equally attractive back-up offers in place, also at $1 million over asking.
“These weren’t unicorn buyers,” Hirsch said. “That alone gave us a little position of power to know that there were people sitting in the wings willing to pay the same price.”
In both cases, the buyers were all-cash buyers and because of the other competition, they were both “basically a kind of take it as-is situation,” Sandler said. But, because both properties were in good condition anyways, there weren’t many other contingencies to consider.
“In as competitive of a landscape as it was on both of these, it was sort of just common knowledge without having to state it that, if you were buying at this premium, they were [going to be] super quick closes and just easy — easy for everyone all around,” Sandler said.
A breakdown of the deals
The property: 2420 Glendower Avenue, Los Angeles
The ask: $4.2 million
Days on market: 10
Number of offers: 10
What it sold for: $5.24 million
The property: 4091 Deervale Drive, Sherman Oaks
The Ask: $3.2 million
Days on market: 10
Number of offers: 11
What it sold for: $4.12 million