Real Estate Insider: Giovanni Altamura of Altamura Real Estate Group

As told to Danielle Accovelli

Inspired by his father, a real estate acionado, Giovanni Altamura developed a passion for the business early in life. After earning a degree in planning and development from USC, Altamura applied the values he learned from participating in college sports to his work at the family rm. Soon, with his extensive area knowledge and dedication to delivering premium client satisfaction, Altamura became a top-producing agent.

Here, Altamura shares with DIGS his passion for Manhattan Beach, why an area’s school system is crucial to home sales, and the many benefits of working with family.

What makes you so passionate about residential real estate?

I feel that growing up in Manhattan Beach and watching my dad practice real estate sparked my interest in the industry and, over the years, as I learned the nuances of it and knew I wanted to live in Manhattan after college, real estate was something that made sense as a profession.

Given that you grew up in the South Bay and attended Manhattan Beach public schools, how is your area knowledge a competitive advantage?

I am one of the few who has lived in every section of Manhattan, from East, to the Sand, to the Trees and now the Hill. Manhattan is very unique in its sub-areas, and that knowledge is key to separating myself from the next realtor. Being a lifelong resident, I have the sort of information a buyer can’t find online.

Why do you consider an area’s school system the single most important factor in determining a home’s value?

When my father started back in the late 1980s, the land and beaches were the driving force for our real estate market. Flash forward 20 years, and the inclusion of Prop 13 has  really transformed Manhattan Beach real estate to where the schools are no. 1, then the land, then the beach. The reason is that you are starting to see new money come down this way from the Westside and outlying areas, where parents want to keep their children in public schools and let them play with their classmates, rather than trek them hours each way. You can also give credit to the expansion of the 105 freeway. This allowed businessmen to work downtown and still live here by cutting down their commute 30- plus minutes each way. In addition, the schools have become such a hot commodity here, that they are restricting the amount of permits issued to account for all residents.

What are some of the other major factors that affect home value, specifically in the South Bay?

Whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market, or it’s in an upswing or downswing, there’s no denying that location is key. If the market trends up, it’s the first to profit, if the market starts to trend down, it’s the last to take a hit. Another factor is timing. You can’t predict it and some owners have really profited from making a move and not hanging on the fence since 2010. Premiums are also a big factor in determining value. If a home or lot has something unique to it, an unobstructed view, or it’s oversized or on a corner, something that separates it from others in the area, that will affect it in a positive way. There are plenty of buyers who are willing to pay extra for something that no one else has.

You played on multiple sports teams in high school and college. What values do you feel come from participating in sports, and how have they influenced your real estate career?

I was taught this at an early age, but sports really do shape who you are in your growth and development as an adult. I feel that playing team sports taught me core values and life skills, like communicating with peers, time management, dedication and accountability. No matter what job you have, these skills are a part of it and are essential to succeeding in life.

Selling real estate isn’t for everyone. If you can’t talk to strangers, this isn’t the job for you. It’s a people-person job, and you have to be able to talk and convince your clients why properties are worth ‘x,’ using experience and knowledge to back it up. I was captain of all of my teams and leadership was something that I developed and try and use to assert myself in this field. I also enjoy meeting new people through work and the same went with playing sports. You develop friendships from team to team.

Describe your work in planning and development.

My emphasis in college was planning and development, and the LA Live project downtown was just getting underway during my junior and senior years at USC. Following my father, my brother and I now are into the development game, whether building SFRs and townhouses or multiple townhouses. We currently have 20 townhouses being built in Redondo Beach, two in Manhattan, four SFRs in Manhattan and three more townhouses in Hermosa.

What are some advantages that clients gain by choosing a family-run firm, such as Altamura Real Estate Group?

Our group consists of my father and brother. My father has been here since 1967 and my brother and I were born and raised here. We are not a fly-by-night brokerage. This is our only job and we only sell what we know! In a market like we are currently in, buyers need agents who are dealmakers and can get them properties others can’t. Relationships with other agents and overall knowledge are crucial in achieving this. We belong to the best networking group in all of the South Bay and that alone sets us apart from everyone else.

In what ways has your father inspired your real estate career?

My father has been my role model since I was a little kid. I see how much fun he had and still has coming to work every day. Being able to work where you live and meet new people is also a perk that you just don’t find with many other jobs. He taught me that work should be hard but fun, and if you cant have that balance or achieve both, then you should be doing something else.

You credit your current success to understanding what “real value” is in today’s market. Will you expand?

Real value in real estate is a tricky concept. To me, knowing value is putting a client into a property where they have the best chance at acquiring equity without having to do anything. Letting the land appreciate where they can depreciate the home, making their home purchase one of their biggest vehicles of equity. To achieve this, you need a little luck with market conditions, but it’s also determining what is a good buy or when it is the right time to sell. Top agents can sell in any market and sustain through the rough ones, like 2008-09. I am very fortunate to have learned from my father and through my networking group.

Words to live by when selling real estate?

My father’s famous quote: ‘My knowledge is my only source of income.’ I guess that would be a good start!

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