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Joyce Rey: Real Estate Royalty & A Class Act

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In this Episode

Joyce Rey of Coldwell Banker in Beverly Hills has written the playbook on luxury real estate in Los Angeles and has been setting price records for over four decades.  With a client Rolodex that includes sales with celebrities like Sonny and Cher, Lionel Richie, and many more, her passion for real estate is still strong. Joyce Rey tells us about Owlwood and its namesake and the Chartwell estate. It’s a remarkable journey and one I’m sure you will enjoy.

Top Quotes

“Well, you know, when you make a deal and you know it’s the biggest deal that anyone’s made as a realtor, that’s your high. Right? You know, once you’ve done that, and I’ve had the good fortune to do it a number of times, it’s a thrill.”

“Marketing was non-existent those days. Our ads amounted to a two-line classified ad in the Los Angeles Times. We never photographed our listings. There was no real estate photography to speak of, and I never made a brochure in those days.”

“In the first month at USC as a scholarship student, my father died very unexpectedly of a heart attack, which was the, of course, biggest crisis of my life, and that really jolted me into the reality of the need to support myself.”

“No one could believe it at the time. And it was such a huge deal. And that’s what sparked Harley Sandler’s mind about starting a company that only handled million-dollar houses.”

Episode Resources

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Full Episode Transcript

Joyce Rey: [00:00:00] I think that’s the first thing that every young new agent tries to do because branding is kind of the thing, you know? I guess I never had to think about that because my business grew, you know, with my experience and my name got out there and so people knew me. I really never had to focus on a branding campaign.

But I know people do it now and you know their whole businesses, that’s all they do is try to brand you. I mean, obviously, it’s important that people know your name.

Warren Dow: [00:00:47] Welcome to Digs Influencer Podcast, the Titans of Real Estate. The show that provides direct access to the real estate industry’s top movers and shakers as they share invaluable insight on [00:01:00] how to best navigate and succeed in any market. I’m your host, Warren Dow, founder and CEO of media and publisher of digs magazine.

Our next guest is one of the most recognized and respected names in luxury real estate worldwide. Having represented some of the most significant distinguished and historical States from around the globe with four decades of experience over 4 billion in career sales and a revered industry status.

She continues to build upon her legacy in real estate with unwavering passion, integrity, and commitment. It’s an honor to welcome to the show, Joyce Rey.

Joyce Rey: [00:01:46] Thank you so much, Warren. What a lovely introduction.

Warren Dow: [00:01:51] So Joyce, we have a lot to cover and your distinguished career, but first I want to hear about your formidable years growing up.

Where did you grow up?

[00:02:00] Joyce Rey: [00:02:00] I grew up in Southern California. I’m a native through and through. I was born in Hollywood, raised in Santa Ana, California. My father was a wonderful lawyer, a pillar of the community, president of the board of education. And my mom’s sewed my cheerleading skirts, so I had the idealic middle class upbringing.

Warren Dow: [00:02:24] Wow, that’s cool. I mean, did you get any kind of trouble when you were a kid? Anything.

Joyce Rey: [00:02:28] No. As a matter of fact, I was eager to please and always to do the right thing, and I studied hard in school and earned a scholarship to USC.

Warren Dow: [00:02:38] So Joyce, did you have any early career aspirations early on before you went to school?

Like when I grew up, I want to be a so-and-so.

Joyce Rey: [00:02:47] No, I don’t think so. I know a lot of kids do make up their mind, but I never was sure what I wanted to do. I made a few speeches in high school. I was part of the speech club, I think, [00:03:00] and I was student body treasurer in high school and silver ball queen or something.

I really didn’t know. I’ve actually, I started at USC. With an undecided major. I had no idea. It was in letters, arts and sciences, and in the first month at USC as a scholarship student, my father died very unexpectedly of a heart attack, which was the, of course, biggest crisis of my life, and that really jolted me into the reality of the need to support myself.

So, I immediately transferred the next semester into the business school thinking that was the practical choice. And of course, in those days, in the early sixties very few women were in the business school at USC. I think there were only half dozen of us in the whole school, but I felt that was the practical road to supporting myself.

And in addition, besides being a business major. I minored in [00:04:00] education because of course all women in those days became schoolteachers. So, I felt that was the other important background for me to have. And at that time, there was a shortage of business teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District and so and throughout the state, and they were offering a special secondary lifetime credential.

To people who would teach business at the high school level. And so that was ideal for me because I could do it in a four-year time period because most secondary teaching credentials required a five-year studies. So, in four years I was able to teach high school, and I immediately went into South central Los Angeles and taught business law, business, English, and business principles.

Warren Dow: [00:04:43] So USC, here’s what’s interesting. Joyce. I’ve been in this space for about 10 years and working with the best agents like yourself, and here’s the commonality that I find a lot of the very, very top performers are USC graduates.

Joyce Rey: [00:04:57] Oh, really?

Warren Dow: [00:04:58] He really what? Like what’s the [00:05:00] deal with USC in, in being a top real estate performer.

Joyce Rey: [00:05:03] Oh, that’s interesting. I don’t know. I mean, I love my years at USC and I actually went, while I was teaching, I went to graduate school and got my master’s degree at night. So I do have a master’s degree in business education from USC, but I don’t know many other realtors who actually…

Warren Dow: [00:05:23] Yeah, it is very

Joyce Rey: [00:05:24] …went to USC.

Warren Dow: [00:05:24] when college comes up, a lot of them went to USC.

Joyce Rey: [00:05:29] USC is a great university,

Warren Dow: [00:05:32] For sure. For sure. For sure. So I love this story, and correct me if I’m wrong, but you met your former husband, Argentine-born movie star Alejandro Ray, while moonlighting as a flight attendant on a trip to Acapulco, right?

Are you doing like a little vacation?

Joyce Rey: [00:05:46] That is correct. You got it right, but I was not working the flight. I was working, I was teaching school and working the airline had a special program for school teachers to fly on a holiday, and so I [00:06:00] was part of that initial program …Chosen for that program, and I had earned a flight path, so I was not working the flight I was, it was Thanksgiving and I was taking the Thanksgiving holiday off and going to Acapulco for the weekend, and he moved his seat from first-class to tourist to sit next to me.

And asked me out and I turned him down.

Warren Dow: [00:06:25] So how did, when did you say yes?

Joyce Rey: [00:06:28] Well, actually it’s a funny story because I got off the airplane and went to my hotel and called some friends, and they were busy that night and he had asked me out and I had turned him down, but he said, well, “if you change your mind, you know, call me I’m at this hotel.”

And so since my friends weren’t available that night, and I was sitting by the bar in my hotel, a woman and her husband invited me to join them.

She said, “gosh, I saw you getting off the airplane with Alejandro Ray.”

And I said, “yes, that’s right. [00:07:00] He actually asked me out for tonight.”

And she said, “and you didn’t accept?”

And I said, “no.”

And she said, “why? He’s the most eligible bachelor in Hollywood.”

And so I quick ran to the phone. I called him.

He said, “you have to be here in 20 minutes. It’s the opening of the Acapulco film festival and the limousine is picking me up.”

And so I was at his hotel 20 minutes later and that was our first day.

Warren Dow: [00:07:24] Oh, what a great story. Now, here’s what’s interesting you. Is it true? So when you came back to LA with him, when you guys are looking for homes, your first home, that’s what sparked your interest in real estate.

That is

Joyce Rey: [00:07:36] true. We, he, while we were engaged, he’d actually bought a house. And so I was obviously a struggling school teacher living in a tiny little apartment, and all of a sudden he loved houses.

He had a great design talent, a great knowledge of antiques and art that was kind of his advocation. So he taught me a great deal and he [00:08:00] decided to make a move right away. And so all of a sudden, as a young bride, I was thrown into this house hunting process and I enjoyed it thoroughly. So, yes, it definitely sparked my interest and I actually studied for my real estate license with the thought that it would be a wonderful set of knowledge for me to have because we seem to be moving frequently.

Warren Dow: [00:08:21] It makes practical sense. Yeah. So when you started in 1973 your real estate career.

Joyce Rey: [00:08:26] Yep, that’s correct. That’s the year that I obtained my real estate license, but I officially went to work in 1974

Warren Dow: [00:08:34] Okay. Who did you, who did you hang your license with?

Joyce Rey: [00:08:36] The first five years of my real estate career was with a small boutique office by the name of Jack Cup, and he’s the man that wrote the code of ethics for the Beverly Hills Realty board.

He was president of the chamber of commerce and the rotary, and he was, he was a wonderful human being and he really taught me that real estate business.

Warren Dow: [00:08:56] That’s great. And your first sale was to [00:09:00] Christina Onassis?

Joyce Rey: [00:09:01] That’s correct.

Warren Dow: [00:09:03] That’s actually quite a first sale, Joyce.

Joyce Rey: [00:09:04] Actually it wasn’t to her. I sold her house to the former student body president of the USC Law School.

He’d gotten out of school and been very successful and was house sending, I think the house was $129,000 and I sold them the house.

Warren Dow: [00:09:22] So how do you remember how much business you did in your first year?

Joyce Rey: [00:09:25] Oh gosh, no, but not that much.

Warren Dow: [00:09:27] Was it a slow start for you, like, okay.

Joyce Rey: [00:09:29] Yes, it was very slow. I started out partnering with someone.

And I also worked another job at the beginning, and then when I went into it full time, I think that first year I hardly sold anything. I think at least a couple of houses. I hardly sold anything that first year. But what happened in that first year was that I made a lot of contacts. I showed a lot of houses.

Somebody would go and look and then decide they weren’t going to move, and then they’d recommend me to their friends or whatever, you know, whatever it [00:10:00] was. And then it started to snowball. And the second year, and I think it was the second or third year that I sold Lee Strasberg, Lee Strasberg was probably the most revered acting teacher at the time.

There’s still the, at least Rosberg Institute, where actors go to study acting. Lee was responsible for what they called the method acting, and he was very plugged into the Hollywood community and he, unbeknownst to me, had been looking for a house for 10 years or however long it was.

And of course, somebody said, “well, Alejandro’s wife is a new realtor, maybe you should call her.”

So I talk to them, I chit-chat. And by coincidence, I had just heard about a house that wasn’t on the market, and I took him there and I sold them the house, and he thought I was the biggest genius because I had shown him one house and it was a house of his dreams.

So you know that really propelled my career because all of a sudden everyone in Hollywood [00:11:00] thought I was the genius of real estate, and I was still really learning the

Warren Dow: [00:11:04] business. So that answers my next question, which was, was there a defining moment? Maybe that was your, Hey, this, this could work really well.

Joyce Rey: [00:11:10] No, it really was. And it was, I think I was maybe my second year, the end of my second year in the business, but it was just an his, he had a lovely wife on a Strasberg and a lovely young family. And. They still own that she still owns last to this day. That’s great.

Warren Dow: [00:11:26] So mid-seventies what does a marketing campaign look like for one and second would be what’s real estate like for your own personal marketing look like.

Joyce Rey: [00:11:34] Well, first of all, marketing was non-existent those days. Our ads amounted to a two-line classified ad in the Los Angeles Times. We never photographed our listings. There was no real estate photography to speak of, and I never made a brochure in those days. So branding, marketing, nothing

Warren Dow: [00:11:56] wasn’t, there, absolutely wasn’t. How would one figure out even what was for sale, I mean—

Joyce Rey: [00:12:01] we did have in multiple listing service in those days.

We had notebooks on our desks and each week we would get from the MLS, these little single small page fact sheets of whatever was new on the market, and then we would personally file them in the notebooks on our desk. 

Warren Dow: [00:12:19] It’s amazing. So just think, I mean, and how many years, how many decades? So what it’s like how much the world has changed now.

Joyce Rey: [00:12:25] And we had, we had these forms, I had this blank form and I would type the contingencies on that one form. And that was it with carbon paper. Cause we didn’t even have a Xerox machine at the very beginning. So, I would use carbon paper and I would, I would write the contract myself.

Warren Dow: [00:12:46] And I heard you did something very strategic back in the late seventies so didn’t you start like one of the first sort of luxury estates…million dollar plus

Joyce Rey: [00:12:53] I was approached, there was a, at the time in the late seventies there was one large, very large company on the West [00:13:00] side, and the name of the company was Harley Sandler Company, and they had offices everywhere and they really came up with the idea and Harley approached me because in 1978 I doubled the price that anyone had paid for a house and it was $4.2 million and prior to that, the highest sale was $2 million.

Warren Dow: [00:13:19] How did you do that?

Joyce Rey: [00:13:21] Well, I sold the Sonny and Cher mansion in 1976. And I sold it for $1.2 million, which was huge news back then

Warren Dow: [00:13:30] 1.2. The median price of a

Joyce Rey: [00:13:33] 1.2 million 1976 now, those people made some renovations to the Sonny and Cher Estate, named it Owlwood, and then put it back on the market, but they put it back on the market with the proviso that I was to tell no one about it.

No other agent should know that it was on the market. And of course, there wasn’t much advertising we did in those days anyway, but it certainly wasn’t to go in the MLS and [00:14:00] I was to sell it for four, 4.2 million. And I thought they’d lost their minds because nothing had ever sold for 4.2 and I w I was supposed to keep this house top secret and sell it at the biggest price in the world at the time.

I mean, nothing gets sold for 4 million dollars. So, by coincidence, along comes. A buyer and this buyer, he was from the Mid-East, the first Mideastern buyer that I had ever met. He came in, he fell in love with the property, and he bought that property in 1978 for 4.2 million.

Warren Dow: [00:14:35] Amazing.

Joyce Rey: [00:14:36] So no one could believe it at the time. And it was such a huge deal. And that’s what sparked Harley Sandler’s mind about starting a company that only handled million-dollar houses.

So, he approached me because I had done what no one had ever done in the world, and he said, “I want you to start this special company. [00:15:00] We’ll name it Rodeo Realty, and we will only handle million-dollar houses.”

“Will you leave Jack Cup and come and work with me and build this company?”

Well, it was an unbelievable offer, and I was really hesitant to go because I was so fond of Jack, but I had made some suggestions about changing the office and making it more progressive and getting a public relations firm to kind of advertise what it was we were doing.

I mean, I had a lot of ideas at the time and you know, he had been doing business his way all these years. And you know, change was not on the horizon. And when I realized that, I decided to make the move and start this new company, which I did in 1979

Warren Dow: [00:15:47] Very strategic and really innovative at the time. I mean, no one was thinking…

Joyce Rey: [00:15:51] It made worldwide news. I mean, there was actually a photograph of me and the London Times saying, there’s a company that only handles million dollar—I mean, no one in the [00:16:00] world could believe there was a company that was doing this.

Warren Dow: [00:16:02] Oh, that’s so cool to hear. Speaking of Owlwood. It’s remarkable that you’ve represented some of the most iconic and landmark properties ever sold in the US I mean, Owlwood, Pickfare and you sold was that to the late Jerry Buss?

Joyce Rey: [00:16:15] that was probably represented the Mary Pickford estate and yes, I sold it to Jerry Buss, I believe that was in 1980 right after I started rodeo Realty.

Warren Dow: [00:16:25] And you ended up selling Owlwood twice, right? Both for records.

Joyce Rey: [00:16:28] Yes.

Warren Dow: [00:16:29] histori—

Joyce Rey: [00:16:29] Well, the first time I sold it, it belonged to sunny and Sharon. It was not titled Owlwood. It was the people that bought named it.

Warren Dow: [00:16:38] …And then green acres. The Harold Lloyd estate.

Joyce Rey: [00:16:40] Yes. I sold that to what Ted Field

Warren Dow: [00:16:43] which is God.

I mean, these homes were just so fabulous, so fabulous and amazing lay bell Belvedere. You sold twice, right?

Joyce Rey: [00:16:51] Yes. I sold, well, when I sold it in 2010 it was the highest sale in the United States at the time.

Warren Dow: [00:16:56] Which was

Joyce Rey: [00:16:57] $50 million,

Warren Dow: [00:16:59] and [00:17:00] then the famed, of course, Chartwell’s state, just to name a few of Joyce. It’s like, so,

Joyce Rey: [00:17:05] Oh, the Chartwell estate.

I must say that was an extraordinary—working on that property. Every time I drive in the driveway, my heart would just sore, because it was the driveway in was almost a quarter of a mile. So, you know, you drove this winding and then all of a sudden this magnificent limestone Villa appeared. It was just

Warren Dow: [00:17:27] the stories these homes could tell, right?


Joyce Rey: [00:17:30] if the walls could talk.

Warren Dow: [00:17:32] If the walls could talk, Oh my gosh. She’d be, we wouldn’t need anymore like TV series. We could just watch endless. With all the notable figures that built these and, and, and, you know, live there. Do you have any memorable stories in selling these or representing them or even just touring them for the first time where you, were, you always all struck, was it always like a blown away experience? “Oh my gosh, this house, this house.”

Joyce Rey: Well, you know, when you make a deal and you know it’s the biggest deal that [00:18:00] anyone’s made as a realtor, that’s your high. Right? You know, once you’ve done that, and I’ve had the good fortune to do it a number of times, it’s a thrill.

Warren Dow: It’s like winning an Oscar. You could be like called the Meryl Streep of a real estate, Joyce.

What do you think? Can I claim that kind of coin, and this is probably unfair, but do you have an all time favorite or they’re all your favorites?

Joyce Rey: [00:18:23] It’s hard really for me to say because they’re like your children almost. Cause you, you show them many times and you love every inch of them. And I don’t know, I really, I couldn’t say that I have a favorite.

Warren Dow: [00:18:36] So all these homes, you’ve stepped inside and had the pleasure of representing either a buyer on the or sell side, and you’ve been doing it for many years. Does it ever get old? Do you ever walk into a

Joyce Rey: [00:18:46] no, it really does. One of the great advantages of the real estate profession is that each day is different.

And it you really live by your wits. It’s, you’ve got to know the inventory. You have to know the clientele. You have to know what they [00:19:00] want. You have to always be available to them and always put their best interest first. It’s always a challenge and for me it’s always fun. I mean, if you don’t love what you do, that’s the great gift.

And Steve jobs said it, but I knew it long before Steve jobs came along and I really lucky that I stumbled into this business. Really, I’ve just loved every moment of it.

Warren Dow: [00:19:27] It’s such a great story, and I’m just curious, for owners of these homes, these mega historic homes, when they’re hiring an agent to represent them.

Do they care more about experience? Like your marketing plan?

Joyce Rey: [00:19:42] Your plan is very important today. There are very few sellers that don’t ask for that.

Warren Dow: [00:19:47] and I know it’s changed obviously over the years. Right? But like experience. Marketing plan and like your network. What do you think is today is the most important to them?

Joyce Rey: [00:19:54] The network is important and I think the reason that many people call me and want me to [00:20:00] represent them is that I do, I mean, I’ve built a network over 40 years and.

Exactly. And I, between the, the worldwide reach of Coldwell banker and the strength of our company and the fact that I had the luxury division here, those who are a lot of strengths that I offer a seller and my track record,

Warren Dow: [00:20:20] which is impeccable. It’s remarkable. And really, I mean, it’s. Just preparing for this podcast and just reviewing sort of some of your history.

I was just like still maze. I mean, you’ve got four decades of experience in selling real estate. You’ve really seen it all. I mean, if you think about it, you’ve gone through, you know, with real estate, at least five recessions.

Joyce Rey: [00:20:42] Well, the toughest one was in the 80s with the 15% interest rates

Warren Dow: [00:20:46] just crazy high interest rates.

Joyce Rey: [00:20:48] You couldn’t sell a house unless the owner carried at a decent rate and the decent rate back then. Seven, 8% I mean, today people would have a heart attack and say

Warren Dow: [00:20:57] that was a killer rate. I got seven and a half,

[00:21:00] Joyce Rey: [00:21:00] but that was attractive because the banks were charging way more.

Warren Dow: [00:21:04] You know, you should, here’s, you could go back to teaching and you could teach real estate if you get bored, Joyce.

Joyce Rey: [00:21:09] I could,

Warren Dow: [00:21:10] I mean,

Joyce Rey: [00:21:11] and then the savings and loan crisis to also, you know, in the 90s was a really tough time

Warren Dow: [00:21:16] in the year. And then you had the mortgage

Joyce Rey: [00:21:18] meltdown at the

Warren Dow: [00:21:19] 9/ 11

Joyce Rey: [00:21:20] the 9/ 11 we didn’t sell a house for 30 days. And then the most recent big recession was also very painful.

Warren Dow: [00:21:28] One today, not to get too timely.

Um, but it’s, the coronavirus is obviously

Joyce Rey: [00:21:33] making headlines and is too sure what that’s going to look like or be like, but we’re obviously concerned and trying to hope for the best and plan for the worst.

Warren Dow: [00:21:45] Absolutely. And today, just for context for our audience today is February 26 2020 just for context, there’s a lot of Chinese investment. A lot of international buyers that come to Southern California. Are you starting to hear or feel. Things are going to [00:22:00] change rapidly because of the Coronavirus and just, you know, not today and next week

Joyce Rey: [00:22:04] for two months and years that the Corona virus has largely hit mainland China and that those people have been having trouble getting their money out.

Anyway, any sizeable transfer out of mainland China has been pretty difficult for a while. Hong Kong, Chinese generally are, are better able to move their money out and they’ve been experiencing problems with the democracy movement there, but they are a good part of our buying community. I mean, I think they’re the single largest foreign, but the majority are Americans that buy.

I think we calculated on properties in excess of $20 million. 70% were local and 30% were foreign, but that was Europeans, mid-Eastern, Chinese, Malaysian, all over the orient.

Warren Dow: [00:22:54] Very interesting statistic. Yeah. Talking about all the change in the industry, I mean, I’ve been doing this for [00:23:00] 10 years and from my vantage point, which is not near where yours is.

I look at like, I mean, I think real estate has changed as an industry more in the last 10 years, probably than the last 30 combined

Joyce Rey: [00:23:12] Oh no doubt about it, its exponential. You know, the change is so rapid.

Warren Dow: [00:23:15] What’s sort of the good, bad, and ugly? What do you think has been the most dramatic change or that has affected? On the real estate side and the seller or buyer side.

What do you, what do you think anything come to mind that’s been,

Joyce Rey: [00:23:28] well, the avalanche of paperwork. I mean, it’s digital, but it’s still, you know, it’s astronomical. And then of course, social media. Which I have fun with because I love my Instagram account. Joyce Ray real estate. Can I make a plug?

Warren Dow: Do it.

Joyce Rey: Joyce Ray real estate is my Instagram 

Warren Dow: [00:23:46] Joyce and all her loveliest dates on

Joyce Rey: [00:23:48] Instagram.

I’m hoping to get 100,000 followers. I think I met around 82,000 right there.

Warren Dow: [00:23:54] After we share this podcast, you’ll be there.

Joyce Rey: [00:23:56] Good.

Warren Dow: [00:23:56] We’re good. The digital disruption is obvious, [00:24:00] the implications, but I’m just curious. From the client’s side to have their needs change cause they’ve gotten more sophisticated, obviously

Joyce Rey: [00:24:07] Much more sophisticated.

I mean a buyer comes to you today and they, half the time they know more than you do. I mean, they’ve looked at their, whatever it is they’re looking for, specifically everywhere. And often buyers will come and say, here are the five houses I want to see. Well of course that never used to happen.

Warren Dow: [00:24:23] And you mentioned marketing plans being important today, but like.

In the seventies eighties and probably early nineties sellers probably didn’t say, let me see your marketing plan. Right. They probably were just more like, get my household.

Joyce Rey: [00:24:33] Not as much, not as much, but now of course, photography has become critical because how the house looks on the internet is one of the most important things.

Yeah. So you need a really good photographer and you need to be very selective about your photography, and you need to make sure that it’s on every Avenue.

Warren Dow: [00:24:52] Your testimonials are very impressive. By the way, I mean, not only in what past clients are saying about you, but, but who is saying it. I mean, [00:25:00] a few of your past clients include Grammy award winning artists Lionel Richie.

Joyce Rey: [00:25:02] Lionel is one of my favorite clients

Warren Dow: [00:25:06] and the former chair, CEO of paramount studios, past president of Playboy, inc. Chairman and CEO of colony capital and award-winning producers, just to name a few. It’s crazy that you work with that a list type group, right? I mean,

Joyce Rey: [00:25:21] I am so fortunate, Warren, to have these great clients, you know?

And that is what makes my work a joy is lovely, sincere people that are just a pleasure.

Warren Dow: [00:25:33] Are they this group though, very select, very. A fluent, obviously celebrity. Are they more demanding to work with?

Joyce Rey: [00:25:40] I don’t think so. Sometimes they are way nicer than people that aren’t celebrities.

Warren Dow: [00:25:46] Is there any other distinguished qualities among them? Like anything else? Are they lower stress or higher? So you’d think it’d be higher stress and more demanding just because. They’re busy, they’re in demand there. It seems like

[00:26:00] Joyce Rey: [00:26:00] it is sometimes hard with some of my well celebrated clients is true to get them to focus and to get in on their schedule.

That is true.

Warren Dow: [00:26:10] So what kind of advice would you give? I mean, getting to this level, it takes a lot of, obviously tenacity experience. All these things, but there was a new agent starting out saying, “Hey Joyce, I want to be just like you. I want to represent Lionel Richie and all these alias people.”

What would you recommend for them to do? Like if that was their thing, they wanted to be this a list agent.

Joyce Rey: [00:26:31] Well, I can tell you the story of how I met Lionel. Please. I was with a colleague at, I believe it was Teach for America, which is a wonderful organization that takes college graduates that did not study to become teachers and allows them to teach in slum areas and in rural areas where they have a shortage of teachers.

It’s called Teach for America. And you agree, I think to teach for several years. It’s a wonderful, and [00:27:00] I’m involved in a lot of philanthropy, and this is something that I’ve supported over the years. So they had closed down rodeo drive and there was a huge event for teach for America. And I was, had supported that and attended that.

And I was waiting for my car at the conclusion of the event. And Lionel was standing next to me and we started chatting and he talked about how he might want to move. And I said, well, “that’s fantastic. I’m a realtor and I’d love to help you move.”

So the next day we were looking at his house and the rest is history.

Warren Dow: [00:27:36] Fortuitous to say the least. Right. Timing is everything. Well, here’s what we’re connected to, Lionel, I have seen his house from, I forget which hole of, but yeah, that’s, that’s my only claim to Lionel. But yeah, it’s magnificent from, from the golf course view. Right. So let’s talk about these crazy deals that have been happening in LA recently.

I mean, there’s been a slew. [00:28:00] Of mega deals recently. I mean, even just a couple of weeks ago, Jeff Bezos and Geffin this state for $165 million, which is a new record.

Joyce Rey: [00:28:08] Yes. That’s the new record. I found over the years that whenever you make a record, it’s broken often very quickly. In this case, it was really fast because we closed Chartwell in December and it was barely two months later

Warren Dow: [00:28:22] And that was a record, right.

Joyce Rey: [00:28:24] For one record at the time.

Warren Dow: [00:28:26] And that was what, $135

Joyce Rey: [00:28:27] will, I’m not supposed to say, cause I signed a nondisclosure. The list price was $195

Warren Dow: [00:28:33] so I won’t say either. But then you had the spelling Manor for what was 120 million I think.

Joyce Rey: [00:28:37] No, I didn’t sell that personally. Our company did, but I was not personally involved

Warren Dow: [00:28:41] in speaking generally of just all these deals and market. Yeah. And you had the Malibu state, the Ron Meyer for $100 million. The Bellaire spec home that was one solicited for 250 million. That’s sold for like $94

Joyce Rey: [00:28:52] correct.

Warren Dow: [00:28:53] Bezos just bought another parcel of land. Right. For $90

Joyce Rey: [00:28:56] days. Paul Allen property, which was the whole top of Benedict [00:29:00] Canyon.

Warren Dow: [00:29:00] Wow. And then you’ve got this, “the one.” Which is being developed.

Joyce Rey: [00:29:05] Yes. That’s a spectacular .

Warren Dow: [00:29:07] Where do you think the price is going to be on that? Like are they still talking about 500 million, but what’s

Joyce Rey: [00:29:12] officially set the prices yet on that

Warren Dow: [00:29:15] and are you who’s getting listing as Joyce, where you’re getting your listing

Joyce Rey: [00:29:18] Well needless to say, I would love to represent ot

Warren Dow: [00:29:20] How do you set the price on something like that?

Joyce Rey: [00:29:24] Well, when you’re an uncharted territory, it’s obviously. Difficult. You’ve kind of feel your way and you look at all the other sales and you try to be as realistic as possible, but you never know, I mean, back when I sold that house in 1978 for 4.2. No one would have thought I could do that.

So it’s always hard to know.

Warren Dow: [00:29:47] Yeah. I mean the comps really don’t factor in at that level. I mean, cause there’s so few number one and the few that sell, it’s really not what’s really relative worth, when somebody wants something, it’s like a piece of [00:30:00] art, like an auction. If they’re going to. Pay 50 times what the last person paid for it because they want it, then that’s the value.

That’s the market value because someone bought it. Right?

Joyce Rey: That’s right.

So it’s interesting, but I, it’s, this is why I think at this level, what you guys do is, is very difficult. It’s a whole nother degree of difficulty that’s entered in because you, you sort of become, you’ve got to create the need around the price, like the story behind the price.

Cause you’re. It’s impossible just to analytically come to a conclusion.

Joyce Rey: [00:30:33] You just don’t have the logical process that an appraiser goes through.

Warren Dow: [00:30:37] Right. That’s what I meant to say. Interesting. On the Bezos-Geffen deal, they didn’t use a real estate agent.

Joyce Rey: [00:30:43] Well, apparently they knew one another,

Warren Dow: [00:30:45] but do you think there’s anything more to it?

Do you think that. If other big players know each other, do you think they’re gonna want to go without a real estate agent?

Joyce Rey: [00:30:52] It happens rarely. Very rarely happens occasionally. In fact, when David bought the property from the Warner [00:31:00] estate, he bought it direct, ironically, but I don’t know of another major deal that’s happened like that.

And of course, David bought that back in 1990 so

Warren Dow: [00:31:12] it’s an interesting, I just thought that was like, huh, that’s interesting. Not that it’s going to set a precedent or anything? We just thought it was interesting cause they’re at this end, this high end there. I’m sure they’re negotiating. It’s a flat fee type thing.

Commission or how does it work?

Joyce Rey: [00:31:24] when you get to, there’s a commission percentage. Paid commissions are negotiable. So the one part I don’t like negotiating. I don’t like to negotiate my commission. Yes, we have it in bold print in our contracts.

Warren Dow: [00:31:41] They are negotiable. Would don’t mess with Joyce. How negotiable was it back when you sold Sonny and Cher’s house in the 70s not at all.

Was it 7% back then or?

Joyce Rey: [00:31:51] Oh, no, no. We never got 7% at the beginning of my career, there were 6%

Warren Dow: [00:31:55] commission. So six it’s always been,

Joyce Rey: [00:31:57] but I, I, you know, I, it’s funny, that’s so [00:32:00] long ago. I don’t really remember. I do remember in 1978 we started arguing about a statue and I ended up buying that statue in order to close the deal, but that was the only concession that was made on the commission

Warren Dow: [00:32:16] back to these prices.

Like. It’s hard to say what the new norm is like. We keep breaking in and we’re in a bit of a bubble here in LA, right? Beverly Hills, and I mean the where we are. We’re in Beverly Hills right now. We’re on Cannon and golden triangle. Right. Beautiful. In your new office Joyce.

Joyce Rey: [00:32:34] We have a gorgeous new office!

Warren Dow: [00:32:35] The pricing seems, I mean, I’m getting numb to the fact that like this deal, I’d like 20 million used to be pretty cool.

25 30 35 50 what am I? Gosh. Now we’re over a hundred and coming up on the one which is going to be probably North of 200 right. Who knows where, like what are your thoughts there?

Joyce Rey: [00:32:54] When you look at the tremendous rise in real estate values, it is [00:33:00] staggering. I did a news interview, I think back in the 90s and the interview was said that the $10 million house, as if that was unbelievable, and one of the news people made the comment, well, one day a house will be worth $1 billion.

And they thought that was a big joke.

Warren Dow: [00:33:21] Well, maybe no so—not so far off. Not so far. We’re definitely heading that way. In the market seems to be strong so far.

Joyce Rey: [00:33:29] Yes. Very good. It’s started the last quarter was very strong for luxury real estate. We started off very strong the beginning of this year.

Warren Dow: [00:33:36] What’s the coolest international home you sold?

Joyce Rey: [00:33:39] I don’t know that I’ve ever actually made an attempt, but I’d have never actually closed a house outside of the United States.

Warren Dow: [00:33:47] That’s something I wouldn’t have guessed.

Joyce Rey: [00:33:49] No, I haven’t. I, I worked on a beautiful property on the Mexican coast. A beautiful acreage near an area called courageous Mexico, [00:34:00] an estate called Los Rosadas, which was incredible, and it also had a subdivision and it is right near this shovel blank that Louis Vuitton plans to build down there and it was just a spectacular place.

I have not been successful. I’ve not been at the right place at the right time. Properties that I’ve worked on outside of the United States.

Warren Dow: [00:34:23] Well, it must be difficult.

Joyce Rey: [00:34:24] I mean, just cause, well, you’re, you obviously sell what you know best, which is obviously for me, Southern California.

Warren Dow: [00:34:32] Yeah. Mexico, by the way, Mexico’s got some crazy nice developments going on too. I mean, a lot of wealth moving, moving there as well with real estate marketing and branding and real estate joys. That’s one of my favorite topics. What are your thoughts on personal branding for agents and its importance?

Joyce Rey: [00:34:48] today? Well, I think that’s the first thing that every young new agent tries to do because branding is kind of the thing.

So, you know, I guess I never had to think about that because [00:35:00] my business grew, you know, with my experience and my name got out there and so people knew me. I really never had to focus on a branding campaign, but I know people do it now and you know, their whole businesses, that’s all they do is try to brand you.

I mean, obviously it’s important that people know your name.

Warren Dow: [00:35:20] Well for sure. Well, it’s funny you say you’ve never had to do a branding campaign. You’ve been doing a branding campaign for 40 years, Joyce. This is what brand, this is what successful branding looks like. So no to agents out there, it takes time. It takes patience. It takes a very long road traveled. But when you do it and you’re consistent and you’re frequent. And you repeat it. The market comes to you. You know, you get into this very special place where your name in the market proceeds itself, your reputation, and they associate the market with, I’ve got a mega listing, historical iconic listing.

Who should I call? Who does this? Oh, Joyce Rey, [00:36:00] let me call her. You become synonymous with that demand, so, yeah, you’ve done a remarkable job. And it’s uneasy. I mean, despite, I mean, you’ve gone through literally four distinct decades of your world had completely changed on how to do it like four different times at least,

Joyce Rey: [00:36:20] you know, in 2010 I was the first realtor, at least on the West side of LA, to go to China.

That was a remarkable experience, and I had a press conference. And I had an event at an art gallery where I projected photographs of all my listings on the walls of the art gallery. And it was a very successful trip and generated business from the Chinese community for me.

Warren Dow: [00:36:44] That’s awesome.

Joyce Rey: [00:36:45] And from the press conference, they called me the first lady of luxury real estate in the United States.

Warren Dow: [00:36:49] You got a fancy name,

Joyce Rey: [00:36:51] so it’s got a very fancy name out of their press conference

Warren Dow: [00:36:54] I like that. Going back, I mean, we talked in the, when you started, it was almost impossible to do marketing because there was [00:37:00] no. There was no distribution or access to do it. You could buy a bus bench or

Joyce Rey: [00:37:04] you know, some people even did that,

Warren Dow: [00:37:06] some direct mail, but I’m just saying it wasn’t an opportunity to do any of that come full circle in 2020 there’s too much access and too much distribution and what agents are falling prey to I think is because it’s mostly free.

You can get online for free. You can start a blog for free. You can get on Facebook and Twitter and YouTube. So everyone’s sort of overindulging in their branding. They’re just pushing too hard to be everywhere, not realizing that there’s no quick fix, no shortcut. And it can actually damage your brand by putting too much sort of noise out in the market without a strategy and a purpose.

Joyce Rey: [00:37:44] Yeah, I hadn’t thought about that.

Warren Dow: [00:37:46] Well now you will, but you’re, you’re already safe Joyce, cause you’re, you’ve got a brand. So, but I’m having fun with it. But it’s true. I’ve seen it cause I, this is. This is what I love about being, doing what I do, and being in the marketing side of, I’m on the opposite side [00:38:00] of the coin, but we’re together in a sense that we’re in this together.

So I’m always fascinated by the challenge of building a business in real estate. I’m always fascinated by that challenge. I sold insurance out of college for three years, so I know what it’s like, and I’ve been in sales all my life, so I know what it’s like to have to figure out a business every week.

Every day you get up, you’re out of business. You have to start it over.

Joyce Rey: [00:38:21] You have to start a new.

Warren Dow: [00:38:23] So it’s, it’s, it’s not for the meek and it’s hard.

Joyce Rey: Yes, it isn’t easy.

Warren Dow: We respect it. What do you think is the biggest failure or mistake or lesson learned in your career? You got to have a few.

Joyce Rey: [00:38:33] My biggest mistake, I don’t know that I can name my biggest mistake.

Warren Dow: [00:38:39] Any lesson learned or, oops, I wish I didn’t know I would’ve done that differently.

Joyce Rey: [00:38:44] Well, I remember once saying to another person in the real estate business, one of my competitors that a certain client was rather difficult. Well, he immediately repeated that to the client, and I thought to myself, [00:39:00] that was foolish of you to say that in the first place.

Yeah. So now I never describe a client is difficult.

Warren Dow: [00:39:07] Yeah. Yeah. It’s interesting how competitive you bring up a point, how competitive LA real estate is. I mean,

Joyce Rey: [00:39:15] It’s extremely competitive

Warren Dow: [00:39:16] and it’s, I think it’s sort of funny that, you know, you’ve got to. Play along and you’ve got to be friendly cause you’re, you’re doing deals with, with your peers.

Joyce Rey: [00:39:25] One minute you’re competing against someone for listing and the next minute you’re trying to make a deal together. So it’s a fascinating balancing act,

Warren Dow: [00:39:33] it’s a new world of frenemies, right? So hard to navigate. What would your competitors say about you?

Joyce Rey: [00:39:40] Well, that I don’t know, but I always try to live by the golden rule I have all my life, and I think that’s really paid off.

Warren Dow: [00:39:48] If you could define your success in three words, what would those be?

Joyce Rey: [00:39:52] Hard work integrity and strategy.

Warren Dow: [00:39:57] I like that. So let’s talk about you for a [00:40:00] minute. Enough about real estate. Finish this sentence for me. I like to do this to kind of have, you know, lighten this up a bit. If I wasn’t in real estate, I would love to.

Joyce Rey: [00:40:08] Change the world.

Warren Dow: [00:40:10] I could ask how, but I’ll ask the next question. If you could invite three people to your dream dinner party. Who would be there and what would you serve?

Joyce Rey: [00:40:18] Let’s see. There’s so many people I’d like to invite

Warren Dow: [00:40:22] and with your Rolodex who you might offend, right? Because we can move on.

Joyce Rey: [00:40:28] I have to, you know, it’s hard to narrow it down because there’s so many people that I think the world of probably the number one person would be Gandhi.

I probably would like him as a number one.

Warren Dow: That’s cool.

Joyce Rey: I also would like to talk to queen Elizabeth.

Warren Dow: [00:40:47] What would you ask them? We had one question to ask. One dinner question aloud. Joyce, what is it?

Joyce Rey: [00:40:52] I’m trying to think of who else I would love to invite.

Warren Dow: [00:40:56] Yeah, the third

Joyce Rey: [00:40:57] probably Albert Einstein.

Warren Dow: [00:40:59] I don’t know how [00:41:00] much fun he would be, but he would be certainly interested.

Joyce Rey: [00:41:04] Well, they’re just, those are three, but I guess a good dinner party is based on the camaraderie of the group you put together. So probably I’d like to have each of them in a separate dinner party and then. Figuring out the people that would match

Warren Dow: [00:41:20] ying and yang perfection of a, of a party. Answer this question.

It’s Friday and you have no previously scheduled plans for the evening. What are you doing?

Joyce Rey: [00:41:31] I usually always have plans. I’m much too overbooked, but if I didn’t have plans and it’s a last-minute thing, I probably would try to find a yoga class. I always keep my yoga clothes in the trunk just in case.

Warren Dow: [00:41:45] Yoga to go. You’re, you’re on the go.

Joyce Rey: [00:41:48] That’s probably what I would do. Or I might go to a spa and get a massage.

Warren Dow: [00:41:54] It always sounds good. What about your favorite place to have dinner in LA?

Joyce Rey: [00:41:58] That’s impossible. There are a million [00:42:00] fabulous ones.

Warren Dow: [00:42:01] Yeah, it is. Huh? Do you have a go-to cuisine though. Do you like Italian? Do you?

Joyce Rey: [00:42:05] Oh, I like everything. We’re right down the street. We have the Baldy, which is sensational Italian. And a few blocks away. We have the temporary headquarters of  that many people feel is one of the finest Italian restaurants here. Craig’s is a popular watering hole, and all the movie stars go there and they have that wonderful honey truffle fried chicken that I love.

I love crustacean and the tuna cigars. Oh, they’re out of this world. And mr Chow’s is, it’s been here for decades and decades, and it’s always such a fun spot. And of course I love the Soho house at the beach. Oh my gosh. To go there for brunch is fabulous. And of course, Nobu everywhere is sensational.

So I don’t know. I mean, it’s impossible to say. And Giorgio Baldi is another spot where it’s delish so there, there’s [00:43:00] so many wonderful spots.

Warren Dow: [00:43:01] So those of you that gang, you

Joyce Rey: [00:43:03] can’t beat Wolfgang’s Cacique cuisine.

Warren Dow: [00:43:05] We could go on and on. And for those of you who are traveling or don’t live here, you just got the Traveler’s guide that you just got Joyce raise, uh, for doors.


Joyce Rey: [00:43:14] and there’s a new restaurant in Gucci that’s just opening up. So I haven’t tried that yet.

Warren Dow: [00:43:19] Outside of real estate. Joyce, what are you most proud of?

Joyce Rey: [00:43:22] outside of real estate and what am I most proud of? Probably the eight years I spent mentoring a young man from South central Los Angeles who gave me credit for saving his life because he was about to join, and when he was 10 years old and he was about to join a gang.

Warren Dow: [00:43:38] Wow. That’s powerful. That’s great.

Joyce Rey: [00:43:41] And I met him through a wonderful charity, children uniting nations where they have a carnival every year with foster kids. And this kid was in foster care and he’s grown up today, first person in his family to graduate high school, and he has a job. He’s about to have a baby.

Warren Dow: [00:43:58] Wow. What a great [00:44:00] story. Kudos to you. That’s great.

Joyce Rey: [00:44:02] Thank you. I could also add my position on the executive board for Southern California for UNICEF. That’s another passion of mine helping children around the world.

Warren Dow: [00:44:12] Good stuff. You know, you sell real estate for a living. I always like to ask people that, do that, where they live, what’s their home?

Joyce Rey: [00:44:19] That’s a great question. I love my house Warren, I bought it before I became a realtor when I was married to my husband. I’ve owned it for, I think it’s going on 48 years, and I was a person who said I’d never live in a modern house, and I bought. At the time. It was a mid-century house. Of course, when I bought it in the 70s the mid-century, they didn’t refer to it as mid-century cause we were still almost in the mid-century.

But I walked into this house and fell in love with it. It was a, it had won an award, an architectural competition when it was built in the early fifties my husband and I bought it out of the estate of the man who had passed away, who built the house. And [00:45:00] it’s an exceptional house and it’s one of a kind.

There’s nothing like it. And it’s kind of a tree house with walls of glass and it’s surrounded by trees and it has 14 foot ceilings and it’s just really unique and I love it

Warren Dow: [00:45:13] cause it sounds like the Ray Kappe almost

Joyce Rey: [00:45:15] kind of know the architect was Smith and Williams and they were a case study architects.

But my house was not a case study house

Warren Dow: [00:45:22] in Beverly Hills

Joyce Rey: [00:45:23] or in the Beverly Hills post office, we call

Warren Dow: [00:45:26] it. Okay. That is remarkable. You’ve lived in the same house.

Joyce Rey: [00:45:29] I’ve lived in the same house. I’ve remodeled it several times. Yeah, but I’ve lived in the same house.

Warren Dow: [00:45:34] That’s cool.

Joyce Rey: [00:45:35] That’s where my clients were like me I’d be out of business.

Warren Dow: [00:45:38] Yeah, that’s true. Don’t do what I do. Sell sell. Buy buy. What’s your favorite nook of LA or city or neighborhood?

Joyce Rey: [00:45:46] Well, I feel so much at home in Beverly Hills, you know, offices here, and you know, I love it here.

Warren Dow: [00:45:52] There’s so much to do here. There’s so many good restaurants and things. I mean, this is really in the beaches, CLO.

I mean, it’s just,

Joyce Rey: [00:45:57] and I love going to Malibu. [00:46:00] I feel completely relaxed when I look at that ocean. Yeah. So I enjoy that a lot. But I, I don’t get out there often enough, frankly.

Warren Dow: [00:46:08] So tell us a funny, you can’t believe it happened story in your career. I’m sure you’ve got a million of those, but like do any any come to mind where just a really funny sort of random story?

Joyce Rey: [00:46:21] I’m trying to think of a funny story. I should have…

Warren Dow: [00:46:24] be funny or weird.

Joyce Rey: [00:46:27] I should have a basket of funny stories right?

Warren Dow: [00:46:28] And some of these back in like the Sonny and Cher back then, was it, did you meet the actual celebrities? So it’s not like, was it different than today where they have their agents or their attorneys or their, you know, like you deal with their people, quote unquote

Joyce Rey: [00:46:43] no, they always had, they always had advisors and business managers and so forth,

Warren Dow: [00:46:49] but were they

Joyce Rey: [00:46:49] lesson and share house?

It was supposed to be top secret at the time. I’ll never forget and we hadn’t even closed escrow. And in those days we had the scandal [00:47:00] sheet called the Inquirer, and it was always at the checkout stand at the grocery store, and I was checking out at the grocery store and I looked at the cover story and there was Cher announcing that she had sold her house.

We weren’t supposed to talk about it.

Warren Dow: [00:47:14] That’s great. All right, so some closing thoughts. I could do this the rest of the day, but I want to be sensitive to your time. We have to do it again though, for sure. So closing thoughts. What’s two pieces of advice you would give your younger self.

Joyce Rey: [00:47:28] Don’t take yourself so seriously.

And I think I was more patient when I was younger, so I need to practice more patience. I feel I, as the decades have passed, I’ve gotten a little more impatient, and that’s not a good thing. I think patience is a key to success in real estate

Warren Dow: [00:47:46] and marketing too in life, really. I mean, in life it helps with stress and everything else, right?

Joyce Rey: [00:47:52] But business is really based on relationships. I mean, that’s what it boils down to. And you know, I’ve had so many [00:48:00] wonderful relationships with my clients over the years.

Warren Dow: [00:48:02] Absolutely. If you could have one super power, what would it be?

Joyce Rey: [00:48:06] One super power to get everyone to be kind to each other

Warren Dow: [00:48:11] I like that.

What could you tell the audience? We learned that you were, you’re yoga on the go. You’re always ready for some yoga.

Joyce Rey: [00:48:18] Unfortunately, it’s not very often.

Warren Dow: [00:48:21] What else could you tell the answer? They’d be surprised to know about joy story, like, Oh my gosh, I woulda never imagine Joyce.

Joyce Rey: [00:48:27] Well, most people don’t know I’m adopted.

Warren Dow: [00:48:29] Oh, okay.

Joyce Rey: [00:48:30] And that’s a whole story in itself. But I’m exceedingly fortunate because I have two families. I have the wonderful family that I grew up with, and I have a wonderful family that I found as a result, I appeared on 60 minutes. Searching back in was right at the time. I. Started in real estate. I think it was around 1974 so I was asked to be on 60 minutes as the principal person who was searching for their roots, and at that time, of course, it was very uncommon to do that.

Of course, there were [00:49:00] no computers and 23 in me, et cetera. Anyway, I did successfully seek out information about my birth parents and found a half-brother as a result and, and I’m very close to his entire family. So I have my birth family and I have my adoptive family, so I’m really lucky

Warren Dow: [00:49:18] I really liked it. Cool. What a great story I had no, I, no idea. That’s amazing. Very cool. Well, Joyce, on that note, I want to thank you so much for spending time with us today. Of course, you are a true class act and you know, I’m so proud of you and what you’ve done and continue to do it. So we’ll talk and we’ll do this again soon. Thanks again.

Joyce Rey: [00:49:38] You’re welcome.

Warren Dow: [00:49:50] And that wraps up this episode. Thank you for tuning in and we hope you found some value. Please share, subscribe, and leave a review. Find us on iTunes and your favorite [00:50:00] podcast provider. Until next time.

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