What Hollywood Can Teach Us About Real Estate

For many years, Hollywood has been a major source of inspiration for people in the real estate industry. After all, who doesn’t want to live in a luxurious mansion overlooking the city or have a beach house where they can host parties?

While we may not be able to have our own personal Hollywood-style property, there are still some valuable lessons that we can learn from the film and television industry about real estate. From finding the perfect property to renovating and decorating it, here’s what Hollywood can teach us about real estate.

Real estate is a very competitive business, with everyone looking for ways to make the most money out of their investment. In order to maintain and increase their market share and customer base. It’s also an expensive business, even if it isn’t entirely. This week I have some advice on real estate that can help you get your foot in front of the door without overpaying your clients or losing them as clients—that’s right!

Here are two things I think you can learn from Hollywood: property management and negotiation

First off, let me say this. Property management is not easy work. You need a group effort, plus a lot of time and planning, all while keeping your sanity in check and making sure that everything gets done according to the contract. If I ever thought I was going to talk about managing a company, it would be the day before the pandemic hit full force. So trust me when I tell you, there are other days when I’ve found myself sitting alone at my kitchen table. Because I’m just too busy worrying about which house to move to or who will pay my bills and what else I should be paying attention to instead.

Also, when you hire a manager, you sign up your assets and liabilities on paper, which means you don’t usually know which one of those is which. In fact, unless you had to do something as they did at Universal Studios on the studio side. Where they had different people managing different properties depending on how many employees were in each division (let’s call this “Theoretical Assets and Liabilities”) I don’t know anyone who has ever actually known which asset was which until now.

We talked about these issues last week but I was afraid you missed the point for such a short story—a manager needs to know how to manage both tangible assets and intangible assets and negotiate both with his or her team. And that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have someone managing your property. But no, he should have more knowledge than any manager would have in the world of professional negotiations, which are usually pretty bad.

I get it because if I wanted to become a lawyer or anything. You wouldn’t expect an attorney to handle one-half of the equation while being good at negotiating. As we discussed last week, if I can talk about negotiation, I might start by explaining what a client does so you can understand what you should expect from either party (the seller or buyer). Then you decide when to do something specific to it that makes it more efficient and you do some research.

Don’t let a relationship or transaction end up costing you money, because the buyer or seller isn’t interested in spending money on what’s best for you. They want to get the deal done to maximize value and maximize profits, and that requires understanding many different factors and what each factor brings. So just go to the source of information. Come back to us and let us know what works for you to make the process more efficient.

Now, when I start talking about negotiation, the first thing I’ll talk about is using facts and figures. For example, what are the pros and cons of buying a multi-family home? Then a seller will probably talk about his history in selling and renting homes, so take that into account and try to figure out which one is better to buy. Don’t charge yourself for things you don’t want to do.

Buyers should go up and down every price range, starting cheaper than what they are asking for. When that happens, you will know which prices are not worth enough. Next, get yourself a number of people to represent you and a team to protect you. Finally, when you know why someone wants to do something. Put yourself in a position to understand what is important to the other person and what is in their favor.

That’s not always easy to explain, but when people hear it, they feel it a lot easier. There are other times we call ourselves real estate agents, and for those of you who love the movies but for real estate, it takes another degree of expertise. Not only should you never underestimate a person of influence and authority. Not only if you buy an offer from them but if they’re doing it to help you do just that. Never underestimate how long you have to persuade them.

My favorite example is when I bought my first condo, he was willing to rent it for less than what I paid to own it. Since I knew him and knew what he liked, his financial ability to do that I thought was really attractive to me. Of course, he had to meet a few requirements, but he went through all the hassle of meeting them. He told me that was because he was willing to put his personal feelings along with mine and what was best for me while still remaining ethical.

On top of that, he made it clear he could sell my place. Those two lessons are huge in how I got what I paid for my place. As I said, I bought a condo and paid $30k. Not as much as what I paid for its purchase, but not that far off for a three-bedroom condo. I purchased the house and it was sold just over a year later, which was the best decision for me. That wasn’t a great story for a friend, but what I learned on that trip was about life.

Be clear and realistic with what you’re trying to prove. The price should be low enough to attract potential buyers, but not too low to prevent them from rejecting it. Some deals are going to fit with your budget, but not all so. A good negotiator knows this and helps you get your deal done in a way the other bidder won’t be able to. Never forget to ask for specifics. Never assume everything is “fair” because some companies are willing to agree to certain terms.

Instead of assuming you could afford whatever the other seller is asking for. Ask them if they’ll give you detailed information about what they are paying for what they are offering. I used this to great effect with one of my sales. One of my best sellers bought the unit in question for more than it paid. So I asked to see more documentation, which meant I was telling them all kinds of stories. The answer I received was, yes, you can show it to interested parties on request.

Again, never assume anything. Tell them how you plan to pay for the other side to ensure you get what you’re asking for. If they say no, I won’t blame you for getting angry. Try to find common ground as much as possible, if you can, and stick to it. Do some homework on what you want to build and where you want it built. Every new building process is a different type of building and unique to its owner. So be mindful of how what you want where you are building it, and what they will pay for.

Always have contingency plans on what’s going to happen if things don’t work out in your favor. If it does work out, keep what you bought because you want it gone and save yourself some extra work. Do a little research on the builder and his or her past experience. Where what you’re buying is located now and how they have everything you need to do it successfully.

Even if it seems simple, there are lots of variables in buying a home, so if you need a pro on what to do with those, find them. Last but definitely not least, never overestimate anyone. Ask for references first. If he or she says yes, then I’d get that sale closed. Trust me when I tell you: they’ll come running for you with the cash to close that deal. Maybe his network of contacts is something they didn’t tell you?

Find someone you know or trust. Use them as leverage. Get an agreement, stick to it, meet deadlines, and be ready to leave what you bought. Be ready to get a bonus or treat yourself to a night at some nice hotel that will help your name go up on social media or that deal closes. All of these are important skills in real estate.

Be aware of both, make the effort, and never assume that talent is unlimited. Have patience and practice, and if you learn them along the way, it will make your life much longer. You will always need a team of people and the ability to get your deal done. Searching for a job online is easy and there are thousands of places to look for a job.

Whatever your niche, there will be jobs and sites of interest to fill you with content. Remember everything is for your good. If your dream is to write, produce, or host programming or shoot TV shows there are a ton of options out there. Start to search for a job that suits your aspirations. Keep learning and never stop learning in all areas. Your next article will include video calls. Like any other profession, it has changed since I wrote this post. But don’t fret and you’ll be on the same page with me soon enough.