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You do not want to miss this episode of Titans of Real Estate as we sit down with luxury real estate’s true power couple, Branden & Rayni Williams of Williams and Williams Estates Group. Prepare to get an inspired look into their storied career as we discuss the ins and outs of selling A-list celebrity homes, working with Rock Legend Lenny Kravitz to design their personal residence, and hear lots of “can’t believe it’s true” stories from their Hollywood movie worthy real estate career.
Branden & Rayni Williams are luxury real estate’s true power couple – a perfect blend of style and sophistication. With career sales of over $9 billion and a never-ending A-List of celebrity clients, Branden & Rayni Williams are the closest thing to real estate royalty we have in the real estate business. With a keen vision and appreciation for fine architecture – Branden & Rayni Williams continue to redefine the luxury real estate landscape and represent some of the finest homes and estates sold anywhere in the world.
He like rolled down a little and I’m like, “Lenny (Kravitz), what’s up?” I was like, “funny enough, I Googling all your images of your design work,” and I said, “I’m building two homes right now. We have to work together.”Tweet
We talk about, “we are the algorithm. No computer is gonna take us out.” To do what we do, a computer doesn’t have a six sense, a computer doesn’t have relationships, can’t read people.Tweet
And I always say, “how much money do you make building bridges? A lot more than burning bridges.”Tweet
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Follow along with Branden Williams and Rayni Williams at thewilliamsestates.com
Full Episode Transcript
And he’s looking at me like I’m a hit man. I’m like, or I’m a crazy. And I’m like, roll down your window. And he finally rolled down. He like rolled down a little and I’m like, “Lenny, what’s up?” I was like, “funny enough, I was on your—Googling all your images of your design work,” and I said, “I’m building two homes right now. We have to work together.”[00:00:41] Warren Dow: Hello and welcome to the DIGS Influencers, Titans of Real Estate podcast. I’m your host, Warren Dow, and a brief introduction to our next guests. If the luxury real estate industry had a monarchy, our next guests would surely be considered the king and queen. With over 1.1 billion in sales just last year alone in 2021 and over 9 billion in their career, this Power Couple continues to write the book on selling one of a kind luxury homes in estates in Southern California with a-list celebrity clients like Jennifer Lopez, Bruce Willis and Angelina Jolie, Dr. Dre, Cher, and Jeremy Renner just to name a few. Please welcome to the show, two Titans of Real Estate, Branden and Rayni Williams.
Applause.[00:01:30] Branden Williams: Thank you so much for having us. It’s an honor and uh, we appreciate being here today. [00:01:34] Warren Dow: All right, likewise. So before we begin, I have a very, very important question I’m gonna ask you guys. Okay? Um, it’s a big one, so
Rayni Williams: I’m nervous, all right
Warren Dow: Don’t be nervous here. Here it is. Who wears the pants in the Williams family?[00:01:53] Branden Williams: Obviously Rayni. Um, I was just thinking about, uh, where my life would be without her. Uh, she really helps run a tight ship and lets me kind of be free and do my thing, but, um, she, she’s the, uh, the, the brains to the business. [00:02:10] Warren Dow: That’s a good answer, Branden. Well done. [00:02:14] Branden Williams: Well, he’s gonna get, [00:02:15] Rayni Williams: he’s gonna get a bonus later for that. [00:02:16] Warren Dow: Yeah. He’s in, he’s, he’s in the, he’s in the, on the good, the good, uh, list right now, right? Yeah. So Rayni. I’m gonna pick on you first. Okay.
Rayni Williams: Okay.
Warren Dow: So you were born, uh, in Pittsburgh, right?
Rayni Williams: I was
Warren Dow: Cool. And then you kind of grew up in different areas, right. Was in, even in Italy at one point.
Rayni Williams: That’s right.
Warren Dow: So tell us about that.[00:02:39] Rayni Williams: Uh, well, my, my parents are both Italian. My father was an Italian immigrant, and my mother was a first generation, so Italian culture, especially like in New York and East Coast, Pittsburgh, it’s very important, more so than here. And so I was always like told, you know, my neighborhood was Italian, my whole family.
It was just a very big thing. And I did, I actually had the opportunity to study there. So I moved there for college, during college, and it was an amazing experience. It was in 19, uh, was it 90? It was mid 99 or 2000 right around there when Americans were really revered by Europeans, especially Italians. So I was in, I lived in a small town called Orino, which was the birthplace of Raphael.
There was a lot of beautiful art and history as Italy has it, and there were. , just people loving this American girl. I was 19 years old and there was one Piazza and I came through it every day to go to class, and they’d be like, “Americana ragazza,” like here I come, the American girl. And they would ask me, what, like “what do these Red Hot Chili Pepper songs mean?”
Like, what does that mean? They would want me anything American like, tell us about American movies. What do you guys eat? You know, like anything that I would wear, they’d be like, where did you get this in America? You know? So it’s a different time now when we go to, you know, Europe, it’s, it’s so integrated because the, the world has become so global.
So we’re not that special anymore as America.[00:04:11] Warren Dow: How cool. What a, what a cool upbringing. So when did you get, get to back to the States then? [00:04:17] Rayni Williams: Um, well then I went back to college, um, a few years later, and then I graduated from Ohio State University and I came straight to Los Angeles. [00:04:28] Warren Dow: All right. And. And you were, did you, and you were, you did some writing, right?
You were a journalist for a while?[00:04:33] Rayni Williams: Yes. I had a journalism degree and I, um, I did some writing, freelance writing when I got to Los Angeles. That’s the reason I came here.
Warren Dow: Who did you write for?
Rayni Williams: Oh, I, I wrote for the E Network. I wrote, uh, freelance for a few different, um, publications. One was called The Domestic Time, domestic Staff Times or something.
It was, it was quite a wild ride because it was something that I could not support myself doing, but it was my passion and I had basically an ultimatum from my family around 25 that, you know, you need to figure it out. So I got into mortgages.[00:05:12] Warren Dow: All right. Well we’re gonna come back to the mortgage thing, cause it was a, it was a different kind of mortgage, right?
It was, it was, uh, what kind of mortgage?
Branden Williams: Subprime.
Warren Dow: Subprime, yeah. So, yeah. So Branden, I want to pick on you now. You were, you’re a local guy, right? You were born and raised in Beverly Hills, right?[00:05:30] Branden Williams: Born and raised. I was actually born in Tarzana, so Valley Boy.
Warren Dow: Valley Boy.
Branden Williams: And then I moved around four or five years old to the Fairfax district where my grandmother lived, and my grandparents owned a shoe store in downtown Los Angeles.
So realistically my roots are like around like between Beverly and Melrose and the Fairfax district. And then I used an address to go to Beverly Hills school systems because at the time it had the best school systems in special programs for a special guy like me, like learning, uh, education. Um, they called it learning improvement at the time.[00:06:12] Warren Dow: And I love the story about you. So you at like age, what? Seven.
Branden Williams: Yeah.
Warren Dow: Your your, your dad had a, a shop on, on Fairfax, right?[00:06:20] Branden Williams: Well, my dad, no, actually, my dad had sh uh, he had corners all over town, unpermitted corners that he would set up shop on fences and sell. He was an actor and out-of-work actor, and he would sell cow hides and sheepskins, which in the eighties, everybody had sheepskin car covers on their cars.
So we would set up all over town and we would sell on the corners. And if I wanted a skateboard, if I wanted a jacket, if I wanted anything, I would have to, you know, kind of earn it and, uh, and, and sell sheepskins. And I got very good at an early age sizing people up, because you literally had between five and 30 seconds on a corner, uh, to engage somebody
Rayni Williams: mm-hmm.
Branden Williams: and really read them and see if you’re, if they’re real or not.[00:07:09] Warren Dow: Oh, cool. That so invaluable early experience on just how communication right. [00:07:16] Branden Williams: Yeah, communication. And I really think that was the base for my salesmanship and, and, and really being good at what I do now, which time is everything in real estate.
And I mean, clients could just waste and suck your time as we learn as new agents and, uh, and so figuring people out and sizing up and where to spend your time is, is, is very valuable.[00:07:44] Warren Dow: And you, so how did you get into acting? You were an actor for a brief amount of time, right? [00:07:49] Branden Williams: Oh, well, I still am. Don’t have an agent.
Don’t want an agent, but I still, um, I like to call it street creds. So, you know, I was just in the show called the Offer. I did three episodes. I played, uh, I played Gianni Russo’s character in, uh, in, um, in the, in the offer, which was the making of the Godfather. And I got a call out of the blue from a casting director and I said, why not?
So it’s the making of the Godfather. And I sold, um, to the, one of the executive producers of Entourage and they put me on five episodes. But in the, in the mid nineties, uh, I had an agent for about seven years and I made a living as an actor being in, uh, teen films like, Can’t Hardly Wait, Never been Kissed, Halloween H2O.
And I never really wanted to be an actor, but it was one of the best trainings I ever had. I studied method acting and I really use method acting in, in, in sales, in real estate because method acting is about how do you get to the truth the fast enough? And I really use that technique in sales, in real estate.
So I’ve had a, a lot of great training over the years that I never knew would before real estate, but it, it, it, it, it, it, it worked in my favor.[00:09:01] Warren Dow: That’s awesome. You guys are—There, there’s so much cool things about you and be, because you guys both bring so much individuality. Um, but together you’re like this potent mix of style, sophistication, communication, like all this cool stuff, you know?
Rayni Williams: Thank you.
Branden Williams: Yeah.
Warren Dow: Yeah. It’s really cool. I think it lends to your, uh, career success too, because you, you, you’ve got so many different tools, if you will.
Branden Williams: Yeah.
Warren Dow: Um, in your tool case, you know, that you can, that you can go to. Um, you guys wanna talk about real estate or should we just stick to the other stuff?[00:09:39] Rayni Williams: Just let’s keep getting comfortable. [00:09:39] Warren Dow: Um, this is, you know, we wanna talk a little bit about real estate. So you guys, the, the da—your, your numbers blow my mind. I mean, and I, we’ve talked, I mean, um, you know, with the, what I call the rap hack, we’ve, we’ve, you know, we’ve made the rounds with Santiago and Aaron Kerman and, you know, Joyce Ray, all, all the, like, so we like the, the numbers at some point don’t, don’t really daunt me or daunt us, you know, but your numbers are like, are, hmm.
I mean, did you hit 10 billion yet in sales or you just, just underneath?
Rayni Williams: Yeah. 10 bill.
Warren Dow: You’re 10 Bill, I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s off the charts. Last year, 1.1 billion, right?[00:10:20] Branden Williams: Yeah. This year, this year I believe we’re over 1.1 billion. But you know, to, for us, it’s just about staying hungry and doing the same things that we did when we started, and that’s constantly farming, constantly dialing for dollars, staying out there, looking at inventory and covering all bases and strategizing, you know, to basically get there before our, our, um, comrades or our competition. [00:10:50] Warren Dow: So what are dialing for dollars like look like to you guys because you guys have eight listings over 50 million right now. So those are [00:10:57] Branden Williams: Well dialing for is calling another agent and saying, this is the best, why aren’t you showing this property? I heard you have a client. And this makes perfect sense for your client and really strategizing and connecting the dots and putting deals together or, uh, uh, right now I just had one of my agents, I saw, uh, a new, um, development coming up and I’m like, you need to be there right now.
Show up with a package. Uh, I want you to be there. I want you to take a picture. Tell me who you met with. If you need me to show up instantly to meet with that developer. This is a new, great listing and I think we should have it. So it’s constantly coming up with new ideas, picking up the phone and using, uh, really using it.
I’m from the old school. I don’t like emails really. So I like to call people and I like to talk to people and stay connected and have them hear our voice and constantly strategize on what’s our next deal, how we’re gonna put it together. And uh, and I think that’s really the key to our success. And, you know, I work with an agent all the time, Chris Cortazzo, and I mean, I think he does that better than anybody.
Rayni Williams: Yeah, he does.
Branden Williams: So, uh, I like to not reinvent the wheel. I like to just, you know, stick with the wheel and, you know, I like to obviously put different tires on it and shapes and sizes, but like constantly creating and, and coming up with ideas.[00:12:13] Warren Dow: No, I love that. I mean it’s, it’s, I think that’s sort of the lost art in real estate.
Everyone, you, there’s so much new, shiny new toys in real estate with marketing, whatever. Everyone forgets the fundamentals, right?
Branden Williams: Yeah.
Warren Dow: And you, you go back what’s always worked, picking up the damn phone. It’s always worked style. Like, it’s not going out of style…[00:12:32] Branden Williams: Or showing up or meeting for meeting for lunch, meeting anywhere and just staying connected and, and we really say, you know, Compass has came up with, we have the algorithm, we have the technology and at our firm and at the Beverly Hills Estates and we’re a, a real estate club. We talk about, we are the algorithm. No computer is gonna take us out.
Warren Dow: Yeah. Yeah. I love it.
Branden Williams: To do what we do, a computer doesn’t have a six sense, a computer doesn’t have relationships, can’t read people. Okay. And you never know, picking up the phone and going, how are you doing today? And just checking in with somebody’s wellbeing.
Could, who knows where that goes. Oh my God, thank you so much for calling. You know what? Actually my friend’s looking at selling their house, or my friend’s looking at buying a house, let me connect you with them. Just doing the right thing and caring about people, uh, I, I believe grows our business.[00:13:27] Warren Dow: That’s awesome. You know, it’s, it reminds me, I was at my, my son, my 15 year old’s baseball game on Saturday and after the game, the kids are cleaning the field. It’s fall ball. Right. And one of the parents came up and how’s business, you know, knows I’m in the real estate business? And he asked a really profound question.
It was kind of like, ‘Hey, all these big agents that are in the, in your magazine and you talked to on the pocket, like what makes them so successful? Like what is it, like, what makes them, so what’s the, their secret sauce? Like what, what, what are they doing different?’ You know, and I, I thought about that for a second.
I said, you know, the, the cross, the, the one thing that, that, the similarity I’ve seen in all of ’em, it’s like they’re master networkers.
Branden Williams: Yeah.
Rayni Williams: Yeah.
And it’s communicate like, and, and for you guys, it’s the same with Cortazzo. All these guys, you guys have such a tight like network and circle and, and your combined Rolodexes are like crazy.
Who’s who, right? Those are the people that can afford these, these homes. So the, it’s the compounding of the network, right?[00:14:30] Branden Williams: It’s staying engaged. It’s really staying engaged and, you know, instead of looking at other agents as your, you know, as your adversaries or your competition. It’s, it’s, you never know where, when you’re gonna need a favor or you’re gonna connect a deal.
So it’s really trying to stay positive. How can we work together? And I always say, you know, uh, how much money do you make building bridges a lot more than burning bridges. So it’s, it’s constantly reminding yourself that.[00:15:01] Warren Dow: yeah.
Rayni Williams: Mm-hmm.
Warren Dow: That’s great. So let’s go back a little bit. Um, when you guys met, you guys started out at Norman, right?
Branden Williams: Yes.
Warren Dow: And were you, okay, was that your first stint in real estate, like your first brokerage you worked at, both of you?
Rayni Williams: Yeah.
Branden Williams: Yea, both of ours
Warren Dow: Okay. And so tell us how you guys, how you met. You go Rayni.[00:15:25] Rayni Williams: He told me he was gay and that I didn’t have to worry about him.
Warren Dow: That was his line, huh?
Rayni Williams: Very disarming.
So I thought I had a friend. Um, that’s a true story, but he, I was at the firm for maybe half a year or so and then I had a listing because I used to door knock and drive around and our boss, our mentor at that
Branden Williams: You used to, you still do.
Rayni Williams: Our boss told us to pick our target area, which is great advice. We tell our agents, pick your target area and become a specialist.
So I love Trusdale and funny enough, that’s our target area. Still to this day we love Trusdale, so we live there and we’ve sold a, a billion dollars just in that neighborhood. So back then in 2006, it wasnt, a place that you really, it wasn’t desired, right? So anyway, I got this. I would, I went to a construction site, I got a listing, and Branden joined the firm.
And I just had this one listing. And I had, I think I had closed one or two deals before and my cubicle was here and his was here. And I obviously thought he was so handsome and he had a suit on and he, he was studying flashcards, which I was very intrigued with because he’s a perfectionist and he’s a strategist and he has this method acting background, right?
So he takes every task very seriously, whether it’s, you know, taking our kids to something he wants to know, like what, you know, everything about where we’re going and the best way to get there and where we’re gonna eat it. Like the whole thing is everything’s strategy with Branden. And so I saw him studying these flashcards and I’m like, what the hell is this guy doing?
Like, why is he studying flashcards? Right? But he really was doing like sales tips and techniques. I guess you can talk more to that. And then my cubicle was here. I remember he came over in my cubicle, I had a picture of my mother and I, he commented that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I thought that was like, that was cute, but it was also an older saying that I, you know, and I was like this young guy like saying this, I was like, is he hitting on me?
Like, what is he saying? And then he said, but you don’t have to worry about me because I’m gay. And he scurried off. And I was like, okay. And I told some of the girls, I was like, you know that Branden Williams had just joined the firm? I mean, he’s, he’s so cute. You know the the gay guy that just joined and they were like, Branden Williams is not gay.
They’re like, that guy is not gay. And so anyway, he had a girlfriend, I had a boyfriend, and we became partners because he didn’t have anything. Didn’t have anything, didn’t have anything. And then he had six deals and they all popped at once and the manager said, look, Branden, I’m gonna pair you up with this older woman who’s gonna help you.
There’s a lot of minutia to these deals and moving parts, and you’ve gotta get with somebody because you don’t know what you’re doing. And I said, Branden, I’m looking at his clientele. And they’re all like young Hollywood guys like himself. I’m like, this woman’s not a good fit for free. I’m going to mentor you and do, I’ll do the paperwork essentially.
And he said, you don’t have to do it for free. I’ll pay you. But that sounds good. The next thing I know, it is all consuming because these deals and the clients and my manager said to me, Rayni, you can do this, but you will have no life and you will have no career. You’ll just have to be with Branden. And she wasn’t wrong.
That’s okay.[00:18:45] Warren Dow: Oh my gosh. Well this is real life. We’re we’re real. We’re live.
Branden Williams: That’s a client
Warren Dow: Sorry go ahead.[00:18:53] Rayni Williams: No. So that’s, so that’s how it started. And so we did these deals and you know, he’s, I, I said, whatever, give me like a referral, 20, 30%. He said, Rayni, I’m gonna give you 50%, because that was hard. And he saw, and our immediately, our yin and yang kind of kicked in and like, it, it just took over.
Where I’m more nurturing as a woman. It just is the way I am as a mother. I wasn’t a mother back then. I was a young girl, but I was like holding the hands of these clients of his, where he wasn’t gonna do that. But he’s the ultimate ex, uh, you know, exciter. He’s the ultimate, like, you want his energy. He, he sells something to, it becomes appealing.
And they, he got them going. And then he, he’s air, he’s a Libra, he’s an air sign. I’m a capricorn, I’m an earth sign. I bring him, I bring it down, he brings it up and we kind of find this balance. And that’s our dance. And that was in 2006.[00:19:47] Branden Williams: I, I’ll just a little more. Being more than an ultimate salesman, I think it’s about solutions and figuring out problems for realtors and how to solve and fix problems.
And I always say time kills deals and people think, ah, I don’t need to actually step up and move there. I listen. Most people have places to live and most people are trying to move up. But I’m really good at saying, you know, you worked this hard, this is what you dreamed of. You dreamed of having a pool you dreamed of living in a walkable neighborhood or being in this location.
Like, let’s go for it. You only live once. Like, let’s do it. And then figuring out all the minutiae and the problems and you know, all the, uh, inspections that come up when, oh my God, and all these red alarms that basically tell you don’t buy this property. You don’t need this extra headache. And a great realtor really helps push the deal along and says, yes, you do.
This is what you, this is what you started. Now let’s finish it. And, uh, going back to meeting Rayni. I was originally went to school for fashion. I love fashion. She has amazing style. And she was wearing a vintage dress and I was like, who is this cool girl? And she had this great attitude and she was super cool.
And I went up and started talking with her and she started, um, reciting Wedding Crashers, which is an amazing movie. And that’s how the lingo started. And it was kind of like peanut butter and jelly. It just worked and it meshed. And we started, she helped me with my first six deals. And then on the eighth month we met somebody at a restaurant because we would go to a lot of the hotspot restaurants and meet people and talk to people and engage.
And we’re doing real estate. People are like, when did you start doing real estate? Weren’t you an actor? And I was like, no, I’ve been doing real estate forever. This is what we’re doing. But we hit it so fast, we hit it so hard with so much energy and we dressed the part. And we basically said, let’s fake it till we make it.
And we believed it. And that’s what we’ve always done. And listen, we’re always learning. And we’re always trying to connect the dots. And, you know, being a realtor, it’s kind of like an actor. You’re only good as your last deal. And I hate to say that, but it’s like some days, you know, I wake up and I’m like, is this the end of the market?
Is this the end of the run? Just because we’re human and that’s what, how, you know, our, our brains go to that. And so you gotta stay fresh and you gotta just stay hungry and go, wait, let’s go back to the basics.
Rayni Williams: Mm-hmm.
Branden Williams: And the basics are cold calling, looking at inventory, being a specialist in your neighborhood.
And, and, and really living and breathing real estate. And that’s what we’ve done. We’ve put all our money back into real estate. We have tons of investment properties, we have homes and, and, and, and just staying hungry and staying, um, staying in the gratitude. And I really think that’s the, the power of our success and our comradery.
We just, we, we really attack it together. And I was just thinking about Rayni, how many deals she’s done in Montecito. She’s closing another deal in Montecito. And you know, I really knew nothing about Montecito except it was this beautiful place and it was really far away from, from where we really were.
And it’s like, I was thinking about what an amazing agent she was today. Like, wow, she’s out in Montecito. It’s like, she’s put like seven deals in Montecito together in the last, in the last year and I haven’t done one. So it’s, it’s, it’s pretty amazing like to have a partner and, and really realize that, you know, that kind of work.
And I get to also take credit for it.[00:23:16] Rayni Williams: I take credit for all your stuff. So, you know what I was thinking too, about the, the nuances that we were talking about. What Branden’s really good at is like, and, and I’ve learned, I’ve learned so much from him. Like he, you know, I met him when I was 25, so, and he had all this training.
He wasn’t that much older than me. He was 30. But he had, he grew up here. And he had the keys to the city, as I always said, because when you drove around with Branden, he knew the fastest way to get there. He knew the backstreets. He know he knew everybody, and he just, you know, he was born and bred. And so what this technique that I learned from Branden, which is part of his strategist mindset, is he finds the product right.
If it’s this phone, if it’s this, you know, case. And he really embodies it and he takes it in and he takes it and he touches it, he feels it, he uses it. So when he walks into a house, he really knows every material he knows about the fireplace. So when I say he’s the ultimate salesperson, it’s because he can break that down in a different, like he, he’ll walk in and open a house up and light it up in a way that, you know, sometimes you go in and agents have the doors closed or the blinds closed.
They don’t have the right music on. He sets the tone, the music, the scent, the touch feel every sense. And I learned that from him. And it, it, it is something that I didn’t really have in me, but it’s, it’s a deeper way of living life. Because if you do that in your business, in your career, and it also rolls over into your life, it teaches you to just not eat your food but taste the food.
And that, you know, it’s like a whole experience. And that’s what makes a great salesperson, because I can tell you we’ve pulled people out of sake if it was a shitty property, bad location, something that, you know, we didn’t believe in. But even though they were kind of like, we love this and we want this, we tiptoe around it.
We go there with them, we sit with them for a minute and we’re like, guys, we hate to break it to you. And I, you probably remember this one particular young couple, remember Danica and what we’re sitting there, this has been multiple times and we’re like, we hate to break it to you. We are not letting you buy this.
We’re gonna only sell what we believe in. And early on in our career, we were like, we can take everything that comes our way, or we can take on what we believe and we can go on brand. And then it, it hurts a little bit more, right? Because you’re really putting it out there for this particular brand and, and, and holding out for it.
But that’s what we did and that’s how we created the respect of our, our our clients and friends. And also the brand Williams and Williams, which you know, is still us. We’re just under the brokerage of the Beverly Hills Estates. But that’s how we made Williams and Williams was by believing in it.[00:25:54] Branden Williams: I, I think going on that the ultimate salesman doesn’t mean selling everything.
The ultimate salesman means having integrity, working with others, doing the right thing, and then really selling what you believe in.
Rayni Williams: Mm-hmm.
Branden Williams: And what you believe in is, is, is great homes and great deals or great locations.
Rayni Williams: Great locations, yep.
Branden Williams: And architecture and, and lifestyle. And that’s really what we do. And you know, I look at myself much bigger than a realtor.
I look at myself as like a, a, a massive film director or producer where you’re wearing so many hats and you have to really, you know, set the tone. And, and, and o obviously my favorite directors are Scorsese and Kubrick. And it’s like when you watch their movies, there’s filled with so many. There’s so many gifts in these movies.
Rayni Williams: Right.
Branden Williams: So it’s like, how could I bring this in? Uh, or, or my favorite band is Led Zeppelin. How could I bring this kind of this art into selling? And, and really, I believe when you come into one of our homes, like I’m not turning on lights and the, it’s already all done. The tone is set. I want to be able to sit back and relax and let people really embody the space and feel the energy and the flow.
And then just help point out the positives. And if they have negatives, really talk about the negatives and explore them.[00:27:19] Warren Dow: This is what’s profound. So, so this is what’s profound, like just hearing you guys describe how you work. And what I find really, really cool is Branden, your acting career. Like you approach these homes as Rayni said, like, like the home is the character that you’re gonna play, if you will.
You’re gonna get into that head space so well that you are the home…in a, in a sense, yeah. You’re embodying the spirit and the vibe and the structure and the emotion, and the energy and the whole thing. And you’re, so when people come into that zone and you’re representing that zone, it’s like, it makes perfect sense where that, that energy just, you know, is unleashed.
Um, that’s really cool, and you guys, what you’ve done amazingly too, and you, and it’s not by accident, is the way you go to market and all the things that you embody, like the music, like the, the, the aesthetic—
Rayni Williams: mm-hmm.
Warren Dow: —the sophistication, the style that you look at it like movies, right? It’s like so in, in embodying that in the market, when you, I call it like market positioning.
When you, when you reflect that back out into the market, that’s what comes to you. So you wonder why all your homes that you list are, they’re all, one of a kind. Oh, my OMGs. They’re all like, these homes are off the charts, you know, and, and because they’re magnetized to you guys because of your, you follow, you follow one of them.[00:28:51] Branden Williams: Yeah, of course, of course.
Warren Dow: Same sort of—
And listen, it’s not about the number and it’s not about the price. Honestly, people all the time I— I love million, $2 million homes. I love $600,000 homes. I love, my dream is to own a little 800 square foot a frame somewhere in the, like, I love all different homes and everything, but you’re right.
It, it, it homes really are the movie and it’s how do you tell that story and what is this story gonna tell for your family or your lifestyle? I mean, the home really says a lot about you. And the more you embrace it, the more, I mean, if you look at our homes, you’ll be like, wow. Like you guys, people, we just had a birthday party for our kids and they, they came over our home and we live in this really cool mid-century that it’s a brand new home that we built in Trusdale, but we basically gave it the ultimate homage to Trusdale.
In Trusdale is where—[00:29:42] Warren Dow: The Home— Yeah.
Branden Williams: What?
Warren Dow: That’s Jack Charney, right? So,
Branden Williams: Yeah.
Warren Dow: But we, I did my research, you guys, but. I want to hear the story cause I love your home. Saw pictures of it. It’s, it’s, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s absolutely Williams and Williams like—
Rayni Williams: Thank you
Warren Dow: Right. Um, but what the cool thing about that, the story was who’s your interior designer and how did you meet that person?[00:30:06] Branden Williams: Okay, so the story, this is a great story. I went on a journey of, of stylistic, and I have an eclectic style. And if you study Trusdale, Trusdale was full of artists, full of entertainment, full of producers and, and these artists and entertainment and producers. And it was mixed between, you know, entertainers like Elvis Presley or Frank Sinatra or Danny Thomas.
With all of these different colorful characters, you know, Ringo Starr and all these people that live there with the producers and the directors of Hollywood, which, you know, um, were these really cool people. And they went on all these different safaris, uh, uh, wherever it was, if they were filming a movie in or going on a show in Asia or if they were going to Africa.
So if you looked at a lot of these old homes, what we were showing them, they still had all of these nuances of these different places that they brought home, all these different artifacts with this mid-century style. So I was going on a journey on who, what interior designer could help me, you know, bring this to life.
And I came and this one interior designer was like, oh, you would love Lenny Kravitz. I’m like, Lenny Kravitz, the musician. He’s a, she’s like, yes, you would love his style. So I went on and I was on his, and I was googling his stuff for three hours, four hours until 2:30-3 o’clock in the morning. The next day I’m driving through Beverly Hills and literally from a block away I see the profile of Lenny Kravitz and start driving this really cool Mercedes.
And he is just looking, Lenny Kravitz cool. And I see him from a block away and I’m like, oh my God, I gotta catch up to this guy. So I did about three illegal moves, pulled on the illegal on the other side of the street and pulled right up to him and I’m like, roll down your window. And he’s looking at me like I’m a hitman.
I’m like, or I’m a crazy. And I’m like, roll down your window? And he finally rolled out and he like rolled it down a little and I’m like, Lenny, what’s up? I was like, funny enough, I was on your Googling all your images of your design work. I said, I’m building two homes right now. We have to work together. And I said, I’m building real two really cool things.
And he was like, call Kirsten right now, who runs his whole firm. Text her, run the profile. If it makes sense, let’s do it. I call her, I tell her where the locations were at, tell her the idea, everything. And she was like, okay. And Lenny was in town for the Hunger Games and he was like, let’s meet up at the sites.
And I showed him the sites to my one in Trusdale and our Stanley house, and he was like, let’s see if we can work together. And I thought he was gonna send me, and you know, I’m a, we’re, this was our first home and we weren’t, we didn’t have a lot of money. I mean, and we were like, and he gave us a really reasonable number, you know, it wasn’t cheap, but it wasn’t like, I thought he was gonna charge us for like doing a rock show for like $3 million
Rayni Williams: Exactly.
Branden Williams: And he gave us something that was, you know, reasonable and super cool. And his firm was in New York. And Kirsten who was running the office and running all his design firm was amazing. And we instantly vibe and we were like, let’s do this. We’re in. and, uh, did it have its challenges with working with a rockstar and working with a firm out of New York City?
But we made it work and I think we came up with two incredible, incredible projects and one of them being at our home.[00:33:24] Warren Dow: What a great, great story. I know you guys, do you guys do other projects together as well? [00:33:30] Branden Williams: Uh, uh, Lenny? we did it, the, the Stanley house, which we broke a record. It was 10 blocks east of Fairfax, and we sold it for 33 million, which was our development.
It’s 1894 North stanley.com, if anybody wants to check it out. Sold a few years ago, but it was spectacular. It was everybody’s favorite, favorite home, and it was a modern home, but very organic, Brazilian, organic modern, and I think everybody saw that home and now is doing more woods, more organic materials instead of the, you know, the shiny, you know, stones and the shiny chrome and the very, you know, kinda in your face, modern.[00:34:08] Warren Dow: the luxury market has been, the last five years, just over the top.
Right? Like crazy. Right? Look at the developments and stuff. So, and you guys represented the one, right?
Branden Williams: Oh yeah.
Okay. Oh yeah. So let’s talk about the one, because the one was, was supposed to hit at 500 million or it did hit at 500 million, right? Did it, did it actually hit the market?[00:34:27] Branden Williams: It never actually hit at 500. It was never actually on the market at 500 million there was talks of it being 500 million and then it went to, was it 250 or 300? [00:34:38] Rayni Williams: It was so many different numbers. I think it was 288. [00:34:40] Warren Dow: 288. And then it, it ended up with the, it’s a long and sort of, you know, the saga. But it went to auction, right? It sold for 141. [00:34:48] Branden Williams: It sold for—
Rayni Williams: 141.
Branden Williams: Was it?
Rayni Williams: Yeah, 141.
Branden Williams: I thought it was 147.
Rayni Williams: No, 141.
Branden Williams: Okay. So the problem with the one was, is incredible, but it had no CofO, certificate of occupancy, and it, uh, it was, you know, a couple years from being, and people were, you know, the Bel Air community. So we were selling, come to find out the certificate of occupancy was a much, you know, it was much longer, uh, uh, and it was gonna cost a lot of money to get there.
So we could have achieved, I believe, the 250 mark. But, you know, it, it was just, who wants to buy a house with all the unknowns? And that’s why it went down to 141, which was still the second largest sale of the time. And it was an incredible property, but it still wasn’t completely finished.[00:35:38] Warren Dow: What’s the largest sale right now? [00:35:40] Branden Williams: 177 in Malibu. [00:35:43] Warren Dow: In Malibu. Was that last year? [00:35:46] Branden Williams: Yeah, that was last year. And then we currently had the sale before that, which was 110.
Warren Dow: Right.
Branden Williams: Um, the Peter Morton property in Malibu, which was only around 8,000 square feet.[00:35:56] Warren Dow: Do you think, do you think like, where does this end, like do you think these mega estates is there, like, is there a ceiling where it’s just like, okay, really a single family home, no matter how big and how lush and lavish is like, is gonna top out at 200 million? Is there is or is there, is this sky the limit? [00:36:16] Branden Williams: Well, there is rumors right now of a sale going down and I don’t want to say, cause I don’t wanna spoil anybody’s, and I’m hoping it goes through for 265 million
Warren Dow: On the, here in SoCal?
Rayni Williams: Yeah.
Branden Williams: Yeah, here in SoCal right now.
Warren Dow: Wow.
Branden Williams: With, uh, uh, an incredible property. And people go, oh, is it worth 265? And I go, yeah, it is for what this guy went through where the property is and the architect and, and all the colorful characters involved in it. Yeah, it’s worth 265.[00:36:45] Warren Dow: Yeah. Well, it’s funny, uh, price is what you pay. Value is what you get, right? Warren Buffet.
Rayni Williams: That’s right.
Warren Dow: And the thing is with, if you’re a billionaire, like price is totally not even relevant to the conversation. It’s like, If this is me, if this is the one, like I’ll pay what, what I’m gonna pay. And if it’s 300 million, 350, it doesn’t matter. It’s like, I’m gonna get it.[00:37:13] Branden Williams: Well, I think people that have been very successful understand it better than ever. And it’s basically, you know, it’s, it’s about, it’s, it’s the time you have in life and when somebody has worked on a project, let’s say this one that’s going for 265, for 11 years, 12 years, it’s been a 12 year project and probably cost them 150 million and now they’re selling it to, it’s like the amount of work, plus it can never be done again.
It’s really quality of time. And I think wealthy people understand like, God, okay, I understand why they’re asking a premium. I mean, you could, you could work on an app for a year or two, have no inventory. Not really build a master structure and sell your company for 4 billion or whatever it is.[00:38:02] Warren Dow: Well, yeah. And what, what’s, what’s the value of 12 years of time, headache, hassle, dealing with the city, dealing with the permits, dealing with the back and forth, like 12 years of complete and total utter migraine. What is that? [00:38:18] Branden Williams: And you could go bankrupt during the property. Yeah. It’s like you have to put
Rayni Williams: During the process.
Branden Williams: Yeah. During the process, it’s, you have to put up so much money. I truly think you’re not gonna see these big of homes in the future. First of all, Los Angeles and Southern California’s cutting down on the size you can build on. And with inflation and the cost of these homes and the time and the brain damage, it’s just, it, it, it really doesn’t make that much sense anymore.
The homes aren’t catching up to the values of, of most of these properties, what it really costs and really the time it takes. And that’s how I sell. I always say, well, let’s look at it. Okay, so if you were just to buy this property, it’s, you know, the property is a 10 million property. If you were to build this home, just hard cost, not soft cost and not cost of money, just hard cost.
Let’s say it’s a thousand dollars a square foot and it’s a 10,000 home. Now you’re at 20 million. Now, let’s say soft costs for architecture fees, permits are $1.5 million. Then the cost of money, cuz you probably have a loan, let’s just give it another two to 3 million. Okay? You’re at now 23-24 million and they’re asking 30 million for them, plus the time it took six years to build it.
Like yeah, if you really break it down that way, yeah. I mean it, and you’re like, and then this person’s sold their tech company or in financing or with, you know, X amount of dollars, you’re like, come, uh, do you not want them to make money too? You know?[00:39:47] Rayni Williams: Yeah. And the risk, and also, you know, like Branden said, you can lose it all during the process. So the person at Taylor as residential builders, since we’ve crossed over that line and have done it, you realize the big profits don’t come from the residential developers unless they’re doing it in big numbers. Like Nile, Naomi was doing it in a time when he was doing it in bulk.
Warren Dow: Mm-hmm.
Rayni Williams: And, um, you know, and then, and, and, but now with the taxes, even, even if you’re 1030-ing, you’re getting majorly hit on the, on the resale of it.
Because let’s say it takes you all those years to build great, you’re past the two year mark, but you’re still paying 30, you know, 40% in taxes[00:40:30] Branden Williams: with California state taxes.
Rayni Williams: You’re, you’re—
Branden Williams: And now they’re trying to implement the homeless tax over 5 million. Do you know about that?[00:40:37] Warren Dow: No, I didn’t hear about that. So what, what is that? [00:40:38] Branden Williams: Yeah, it should be on the bill. Over 5 million of 5% homeless tax of anything over 5 million sale. [00:40:47] Warren Dow: Wow. At one time or, [00:40:49] Branden Williams: Yeah, on every sale and [00:40:50] Rayni Williams: Yeah new, new tacked onto every sale. So on top of your 13.3 state plus your capital gains, I mean, yeah. [00:40:57] Branden Williams: Anywhere in Los Angeles County. It’s very serious.
Rayni Williams: It’s very serious.
Branden Williams: It’s pretty crazy.[00:41:01] Rayni Williams: It’s, it’s really scary times and, and right now, if you really look at the big mega homes that are being built, there aren’t very many over 30,000 square feet anymore. And there were a lot of them that were being pumped out. The 924 Belaire Road, you know, the Bruce McKowski house and the next door to that 908 be Air Road, the Dr. Raj Ken’s house, which we have both of those.
And there have been, you know, the one on Shalon that the, became famous for Dan Bilzerian living. There were a lot of these homes with that kind of square footage. And now, you know, first it was the hillside. First it was the, uh, mansionization, then it was the hillside ordinance, and now there’s, you know, then it was the, the, the, the dirt haul away.
You know, that they’re, they’re cracking down and you’re really not seeing homes over 17,000 square feet anymore. So these, these one-offs and the, the one and these other very big homes are gonna be like Picassos because you just can’t, you really can’t build it.[00:41:55] Warren Dow: Yeah. They’re, they’re fine art. And there’s one, they’re one of a kind and they’re the, the, the, you know, the, the values in the, the eye of the beholder.
Right. So it’s, it’s, yeah, absolutely. What question for you, what’s the difference? Um, selling like a 5 million listing. Okay. And a 50 million listing. Like this is more to the agent who are agents who are listening to this, who are scratching the head with these numbers, talking about a hundred million, and they’re, they’re in Dallas or something, and their markets topping out at 900 or a million.
Um, what’s the difference like selling a 5 million home or a 50? What, what’s the difference?[00:42:34] Branden Williams: Well, a a f a 5 million home, they’re probably not gonna cut your commission. You’re not gonna have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in marketing, potentially get fired. Uh, and I mean, I love 5 million homes. I love million dollar sales.
I love 2 million. When you take on these big homes, it take, it could take years. It took us three years, uh, to work on, on, on 924 Bellaire Road. It took us years to work on the one, and we put so much money and time and investment. It’s almost like a big trophy with not a lot of money behind it. So it’s not as glamorous as everybody thinks it is.
But does it help your resume? Does it help? Like you’re the guy that sold that? Sure.
Warren Dow: Yeah.
Rayni Williams: Branden’s right and—
Warren Dow: It’s the equity—
Rayni Williams: Go ahead.
Branden Williams: And, and they, you know, everybody tries to cut your fees down. There’s several brokers usually involved. There’s a referral fee. I mean, the list goes on.
Warren Dow: Interesting.
Branden Williams: It’s not, it’s not as glamorous as every—[00:43:34] Warren Dow: it’s interesting. Yeah. Yeah. It’s great for the brand, right? It’s brand equity. Yeah. It’s, it’s cache, but it’s not where the money is and yeah, it’s more trouble almost than it’s worth at the end of the day. The balance sheet at the end of the day is like, Hmm. Yeah. Yeah. You get a lot of earned media, a lot of . [00:43:51] Rayni Williams: Well, yeah, it’s a lot of fun.
It’s a lot of fun. And you, you get jaded. You get spoiled because you see the best of the best and you know, it’s like, so you kind of sort of don’t get as excited when you see other things, but we still get very excited to see pure architecture or beauty in any level. Um, but, but it is interesting why 1% of us do a hundred percent of the high end, because you have to have the capital to back a listing like that. Yeah. And brokerages aren’t gonna do it for you. We spent, what did we on the Minecraft house, we spent $300,000 marketing it.
Branden Williams: Yeah.[00:44:24] Warren Dow: So interesting. So, question for you on this. So, and what did that sell? That was like a 77 million? [00:44:30] Branden Williams: 70 million sale in 2014, which was huge. [00:44:33] Warren Dow: Are you guys impressed with my, uh, my knowledge here on these? [00:44:37] Rayni Williams: I’m blown away. I’m like—
Warren Dow: Come on man.[00:44:39] Rayni Williams: How do you know all of this?
Branden Williams: Are you a Realtor?[00:44:42] Warren Dow: I’m a, what’s that?
Branden Williams: Are you a realtor?
Warren Dow: No, I’m a, I’m a media hack. I, I, I have to be, you know, my knowledge is my source of income, you know what I mean?[00:44:55] Branden Williams: So, do you ever wanna, if you ever wanna come join the team, we’d love to have you. [00:44:59] Warren Dow: Hey, don’t, don’t, uh, don’t tempt me. Okay. Might, might be there.
Branden Williams: We are, we love it.
Warren Dow: I could just move the media side of, of, you know, my company and just, we could just be
Branden Williams: Let’s go. Let’s go.
Warren Dow: We could go. Be rockstar. It’s funny, I’m a musician myself. Um, I wanna ask you guys about music and bands cuz I look at the same thing when I started this company.
Branden Williams: Yeah.
It was all about music. It was like creativity.
Branden Williams: Amazing.
Warren Dow: Gotta have that vibe, gotta have that soul. Um, you know, most of our, our guys here are musicians that, you know, our team
Branden Williams: Oh yeah I see the guitar in the background.
Warren Dow: Yeah see—[00:45:34] Branden Williams: Yeah. It makes Our office is Caddy Corner to the Whisky a Go Go.
Warren Dow: Oh dude—
Branden Williams: The Sunset Strip. I got to experience it since I was a kid and I got to see the Real Sunset Strip in the late seventies, the eighties, the nineties.
And to me it’s kind of the holy grail of Los Angeles. So I, you know, our firm is called the Beverly Hills Estates, but we’re on sunset in West Hollywood, catty corner, the Whiskey a Gogo. And I tell people like, do you even know what’s gone down on these streets? The history that was made?[00:46:08] Warren Dow: My gosh, so, so guess— [00:46:08] Branden Williams: the doors were broken right there at the Whiskey a Gogo. [00:46:12] Warren Dow: I, I used to sell ads for BAM Magazine.
Rayni Williams: No way.
Warren Dow: Yes way back in the heyday of BAM, Gazzarri’s, that whole, whole thing.[00:46:24] Branden Williams: Oh yeah. I went to Gazzarri’s [00:46:25] Warren Dow: I’ve got that cool poster and I have a little studio in my garage, um, where it’s Gazzarri’s, it’s Tower Records, you know that sunset? That, that thing It’s so cool. Oh, yeah. That’s a whole nother podcast.
We have to do another podcast about the strip and the good old rock and roll LA Day.[00:46:41] Branden Williams: Rayni. Never. She kind of, she came here in 2001. One. Well, she got to kind of experience it, but I mean, ugh. It was just like, it was so beautiful, man. It was such a beautiful— [00:46:52] Rayni Williams: We, we play a video of the strip on our— [00:46:55] Branden Williams: Yeah. Back in the sixties on our, one of our TVs of a car driving down the strip and all the, you know, music clubs and, [00:47:03] Warren Dow: and I, yeah, I got a million stories with being with BAM, when I was in school. I went to Santa Barbara. We, we used to drive down to the strip to see bands. And when Guns N Roses came out with our first record, okay in ‘87
Branden Williams: Appetite for Destruction
Warren Dow: Appetite, we were at, we were at Gazzarri’s and we walk outta Gazzarri’s, Axl Rose comes out of the door, um, and I, we go, dude, your Axl Rose.
Yeah. And I go, your record just came out like that week. And he, I go, it’s, it’s huge. Love it. Can I get a photo with you? He’s like, normally I’ve got a a photo guy I don’t let anyone take. So, yeah.
Branden Williams: Yeah, yeah, yeah
Warren Dow: He goes, yeah, you’re cool, man. I’ll let you do a photo. So I got a cool photo of me and—in 80, in 87, like when appetite was hit.
It’s just like, that’s what the Sunset Strip was. You’re gonna meet all these crazy cats. Just, just cruising around. Right.[00:47:49] Branden Williams: Uh, everywhere. I remember growing up in this area and seeing Billy Idol riding around on his motorcycle. No helmet, bleach, blonde hair on his Harley, the strip. I remember seeing Mötley Crüe on their motorcycles driving around as abusing it as they’re, as they’re, this is where they were going, running errands.
It was insane.[00:48:10] Warren Dow: I know. It’s, it’s [00:48:11] Branden Williams: I missed those stage, man. Don’t get me started. Seriously. Don’t do it. I’ll start crying [00:48:15] Warren Dow: Me too. I know. Me too. Me too. So you okay. Zeppelin, Rayni. What’s, what’s your vibe with music? Are you a rocker or what are you? [00:48:23] Rayni Williams: I, I love, I love rock. I love everything. Uh, from rock to rap and everything in between. [00:48:30] Warren Dow: So, hip hop, old school, new school, which, which one? [00:48:33] Rayni Williams: Old school.
Warren Dow: Yeah.[00:48:35] Rayni Williams: Old school and new school when I’m working out.
Warren Dow: Nice.
Rayni Williams: But I love I, Branden and I love all the same things. So that’s one of the things that brought us together. We always said we love the same fashion. We love the same music. We love the same architecture.
We always have music playing in our clubhouse, in our office, our house, our home always has music. And every time we’re selling a property, we have the right music that fits that property[00:49:00] Warren Dow: Here’s what we have to do. We have to evolve. We’ll, uh, we’ll co-promote this. Okay. Your next big bomber that you bring out, let’s get a really cool band and throw a party with a, with a ki killer band.
Branden Williams: I love that.
Warren Dow: Right?
Branden Williams: I love that. Yeah.
Warren Dow: And it’s invite only, and so this is, oh, don’t tell anyone. Oh, we just did, did well—We’ll talk about it later. We’ll talk about it later.
Branden Williams: Maybe we can get Lenny Kravitz.
Warren Dow: Yeah, that’s a good one to start. Totally. Um, how you guys on time by the way? I wanna be sensitive.
Rayni Williams: We’re fine.
Warren Dow: We’re getting close.[00:49:37] Branden Williams: What time is it? I have to be in— [00:49:37] Rayni Williams: It’s 10. It’s five to 10, 12. [00:49:38] Branden Williams: Ooh, I have like 10 more good minutes. [00:49:42] Warren Dow: Okay, cool. So we, we can, um, do you guys have, oh, I’m just in terms of like, I got a million questions we could go for forever, but obviously we can’t, um, tell us a funny, can’t believe it happened type story that with, in your career with real estate, this is what like, [00:50:06] Branden Williams: There’s so many funny stories that happen every single day where you’re just like, and I think really the key to life is recovery and how we recover and how we act. And obviously there’s times where like you’re like, uh, like so many times with me is the weather. Like I’m going to Malibu to show these properties right now and it’s overcast in Malibu right now.
And I’m just like, Ugh. Drives me crazy. Like, I want to do this beautiful sunny day and it’s like this June kind of gloom weather right now. Yeah. Yeah. And I’m just like, it, that weather for some reason really affects me and it drives me crazy and I like, but I know I just have to show up and like, you know, be the ray of sun.
But I mean, In terms of, and, and I think recovery is the key in life with anything and, and making it a positive and not, you know, letting this bum you out. Cause you know, there’s a million different things that could go wrong where you think these people, it’s the perfect house, they’re gonna buy it and they walk in, they go, it’s not right.
And they walk right out.[00:51:03] Rayni Williams: I mean, I had, we, we have a great classic story of, we couldn’t believe it was happening, was like one of our first big deals. We were just going to lunch with a friend that had invited us to kind of network a little bit and we were at the Beverly Hills Hotel at the pool. And, um, the three of us are eating.
And I look over and I see these, um, like a big, like bodyguard looking kind of guy, like a really beautiful woman. Looks like maybe a model. Some children that are of Asian descent and a, and a and a man who’s kind of like rocker looking and cool, like funky. But you see it in LA so it wasn’t, he wasn’t that distinct, but they had set up sheets in their hands, MLS set up sheets.
And I’m like, Branden, They got set up sheets because Branden is so outgoing and he’ll talk to people. And that’s how we’ve made a lot of our business is just by talking to people. So he goes over and starts talking to them, go ahead, take over.[00:51:54] Branden Williams: I just was like, where are you guys from? Because I’d love to know where people are from, whether it be, uh, a part in Los Angeles, whether it be, you know, in, in, in, in the country, whether it be, you know, overseas.
And they said France, Paris. I said, oh my God, I love Paris. It’s my favorite city. I was just in Biarritz surfing in France. Uh, what are you guys doing? And they’re like, we’re looking at real estate. And it was so obvious, but I set ’em up because, you know, I, I like to create a story. I said, looking at real estate, oh my God, that’s what I do. I’m a realtor. And I work in here in Beverly Hills.
Where are you looking? And they said, we’re looking at this house. We’re devastated. We just lost it. We told our realtor to offer full price. They didn’t offer full price. They offered a hundred thousand dollars below. We lost the house. I said, what house?
They said, it’s on Kip Drive. I said, the orange Mediterranean, 7,800 square feet on a 21,000 square foot lot. Seven bedrooms. They said, how do you know that? I said, I told you, this is what I do. Being a realtor, you gotta know the inventory. You have 30 seconds to know your pitch and engage your client. And if they think they know more than you, then you’re out.
And they’re like, oh my God, is this kid a whiz kid, genius knows everything on the market? and that I know, and lucky enough, I knew the house. And I said, you like that house? I said, there’s something coming up. It’s not on the market, cause we knew the inventory and this was early on in our career. And he was like, let’s go see it right now.
We literally jump in the car, show it to him, the guy walks around, looks around, looks at the living room, looks at the kitchen, sees an el—elevator, throws me a thumbs up sign, sits on the couch. Lights up a cigarette, lights up a cigarette and says, “shut it down, offer full price.” I said, “dude, you can’t smoke in here.”
“You’re literally gonna get his banned from the real estate market. You can’t smoke in the house.” He goes, “Listen to my lips. Shut it down. Offer full price.” At the time, I didn’t even know what that meant. I’ve never shut it down offer full price. And, and he goes, go write a full price offer right now. This is my house and it happened to be Johnny Holiday, the Elvis of, of, of, of Europe.
And you know, that was ma, one of the many stories. And that was our first big deal of five and a half million dollars of us being in the real estate market less than a year. And that’s kind of what blasted us off, and propelled us. And there were so many colorful characters. I mean, right now, when you ask another story, one time I get a call from, cause I got referred through from Bruce Willis.
And Bruce Willis was like, “meet me off of Mulholland.” I’m like, okay. He’s like, meet me off Mulholland and Coldwater. I’ll be on the side of the road. I want to show you this 30 acre property that I own, but you can see it best for Mulholland. So I’ve never met Bruce Willis before. I drive up there. And Bruce Willis is just, he’s like waiting on the side of Mulholland, like this is out of a movie.
Right. And he’s just like this, right? He’s like, And I’m like, holy shit, this is Bruce Willis. And I love Die Hard. Die Hard is one of my favorite movies ever. And I love Moonlighting watching it as a kid. So I’m like, dude, this is Bruce Willis. You’re so badass. And this was like, I mean, this guy’s a true movie star character.
And when you meet Bruce Willis, he’s like, what he is in the movies and he’s just this badass, cool movie star. And we’re literally on this like right off Mulholland on, on this little side road, and he is showing me the property there. And like one car would come by and he’d be like, step outta the way and kind of go, like go through.
And like he’s just like looking at me like almost like he’s about to say “Yippy cae motherfucker” out of Die Hard. And I was like, holy shit. He’s like, okay man. Okay. Yeah, you get it. You’re cool. So here’s, I want you to sell this property for me and you know, to so and so told me you’re a good guy. And it was just, you know, those crazy characters.
Another story, when we were negotiating with J Lo, I got her to spend more because the sellers weren’t ta taking it. She literally pushed me in the chest, in the driveway when she first came up. And so I had no idea. She was like, you, she was like, I can’t believe you got me to, to, to make me, you know, pay more than I wanted to pay.
And she pushed me in the chest and it was just like, and there’s so many crazy stories of what we do or there’s another crazy story and I just have to tell you cause I know people like these stories. One day we go into a house off the Sunset Strip and we’re Sun the House third showing we walk down the stairs, it’s like a 10 o’clock showing about to sell it to this guy who wants to buy it.
And the guy is laying there on a big oversized rug with five girls, four girls wrapped in a rug with him in the middle, and they’re all naked.
Warren Dow: Oh my God
Branden Williams: It’s a true story. And I literally, and the guy looks at me and obviously had a long night and the girls and they were so tired and you know, they were up probably up drinking all night and he looks at me and I go, don’t worry about us guys, we’re gonna keep moving through the house.
I go, so here’s the kitchen over here. And I just kept going. I’m like, check out the scale of this living room. And I just didn’t make it a big deal. Like, holy shit, there’s five, five naked people in this living room right now cause we had a job to do and that sell is property. And I was like, hey, this is kind of the lifestyle on the Sunset Strip, this is the allure of it.
And uh, cause it was like another young guy looking at this like ultimate bachelor pad.[00:56:58] Warren Dow: Oh, I love it. Uh, these are great.
So, alright, well let’s, let’s uh, get some closing thoughts here and give it a wrap. Oh, I’m gonna[00:57:11] Branden Williams: Oh I’m going to tell, I’m gonna tell one more guys.
Warren Dow: Please, please.
Branden Williams: Just cause I like, and this is a story too, so.
I meet with Steven Tyler, he always calls me cause he potentially, uh, thinks about selling his house. And he spent so much time, so much money, and it’s kind of his dream house with the most incredible view. And he’s like, “everybody’s telling me to take a loss on this house and sell it.” And I’m like, “Steven, first of all, where are you gonna go?”
“What are you gonna do with the money? And you can never replace this again. And whatever these other realtors are telling you to take, don’t do it. You’re gonna lose money. It doesn’t make sense. Hold onto this property because over time it’ll, it’ll, it’ll grow.” And if you look at the 5,000 year gap of real estate, sure it goes down, but then it goes like this and then, but it usually grows up.
It doesn’t, it never, you never see it just tanked.
Warren Dow: Stable the market.
Branden Williams: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Or like boats or cars or you. Uh, uh, airplanes. It’s the one thing we’re selling that usually over time, if you buy a good property, it goes up. And that’s the, that’s the amazing thing about selling homes. And so, you know, I go to, and, and Steven’s the coolest guy, and of course I wanna sell, you know, Aerosmith’s house, but I’m like, “don’t sell it.”
Keep this property. So we do that all the time where we try to, and I say, but hey, if you really wanna sell it, obviously we’d love to sell it. Obviously we don’t wanna lose, have you lose any money, so we’re gonna go, you know, try to get you the most amount of money. But, you know, and I get random calls from Steve Tyler all the time.
Like, Hey man, thank you so much. I’m gonna refer you my daughter, I’m gonna refer you this person because, you know, you were the only realtor telling me not to take a loss.[00:58:52] Warren Dow: You’re playing therapists some almost, right? Like, it’s okay. Okay. Yeah, yeah. Is, and he, he’s, uh, is he Westside? Steven, Tyler, all these guys. [00:59:02] Branden Williams: He’s, he’s, uh, he’s, you know, right around the Sunset Strip. [00:59:05] Warren Dow: Is he okay? That’s her. Yeah. Yeah. All those guys. Uh, Jean Simmons is still what? Beverly Hills. All those. There’s so much. Yeah. It’s just wild that the, the a-list celebrities that live in… [00:59:17] Branden Williams: Oh, oh. Well, we’re also selling my idol, one of my favorite rocks.
I probably think one of the best rock stars front men of all time, Ozzy Osborne’s house right now on
Rayni Williams: Hancock Park, yeah
Branden Williams: in Hancock Park. And it’s a gorgeous house. Do you want to,[00:59:32] Rayni Williams: uh, put out? Yeah, it’s, uh, 501 Hudson and it’s an amazing, um, Spanish, um, completely redone. His wife Sharon, has incredible taste and it’s on the market for 17.5M guest house,
Warren Dow: It’s a steal
Rayni Williams: Big flat piece of land. It’s a steal—[00:59:49] Branden Williams: And it’s got gorgeous. It’s the character of Hancock Park and just, it tells a story and you could see Ozzy and the Osborne’s living there. And I mean, I don’t know about you, but I don’t th I mean, I think Ozzy Osborne, first of all, is one of the best musicians, one of the best front men of all time.
I mean, Black Sabbath is just like, I—
Warren Dow: yeah, exactly
Branden Williams: I just, I try, every time I put Black Sabbath on my mind gets blown every time I hear Ozzy or see him. And so to work with these people for us is like, it’s the ultimate kind of, it’s the ultimate kind of like, you know, nod from God, like, you know, keep, keep doing the right thing and keep having fun.
Rayni Williams: Yeah.[01:00:30] Warren Dow: That’s, that’s awesome. Are they, are they moving, like are they bailing California? Have they had enough? [01:00:37] Rayni Williams: They’re going to London. They’re gonna go to their, they’ve spoken about this, so we’re not speaking, you know— [01:00:42] Branden Williams: I hope they’re, I hope they’re not hate to lose Ozzy, but in a, he might wanna go, you know, retire in England. He’s supposed, has a really cool castle in England. [01:00:54] Warren Dow: Yeah, I’m sure. I’m sure he does. Or a few. So guys, thanks so much for spending time. This is, we have to do this again because there’s, there’s more to cover and you guys are awesome. I’m fascinated.
Rayni Williams: We’ll do it anytime.[01:01:09] Branden Williams: It’s a, but I, I, I think too, if, you know, I always like to inspire agents and I like to help other agents out and I love to give back.
And our motto is, you can’t keep it if you don’t give it back. And it, we’re not trying to hold stuff close to our chest. You know, we try to help people and we help people in deals all the time. And, and, and, and really, you know, I believe it’s, you know, overall it’s about being of service, helping others and having fun.
And I think that’s what why we’re so blessed and get to work with so many great clients is because they want to hang out with us. And they’re not saying, we’re just some greedy realtors just thinking about, oh my God, we’re gonna sell your house. We’re gonna make this amount of commission. It’s like, we’re gonna go on the ride and we’re gonna figure it out.
And sometimes it doesn’t always work. We take on so many listings that we don’t sell or people go, oh my God, thank you for bringing this unbelievable offer. But we decided we didn’t want to sell. And you know what? I’ve never said to anybody, a bill. Well, like, here’s my time. Here’s how much we spent on marketing.
Like, we’re hoping, Hey, by the way, if you ever do decide to sell, hopefully you’ll use us and we’ve done a great job for you. But I mean, that’s. You know, that’s, that’s the ups and downs of real estate. So, you know, um, anyways, thank you so much for having us.
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