“I have a very casual way about me,” says Dan O’Connor. “I think it has a lot to do with growing up in a family where real estate was the lifestyle.” While growing up in Manhattan Beach with a successful mother and stepfather, both in the business, real estate was all around him. Later, it was the place to which he would happily return.
“My mother, Lorie O’Connor, got into the real estate world in her early 20’s, and her career just took off from there,” he recounts. “Watching her go to work every day, weekends included, and having a passion for what she does, really inspired me.” After college, her son moved back to the Beach Cities with a business degree in hand, and a job offer from his mother.
Familiarity links hands with comfort, and O’Connor was blessed to start his career with plenty of both. This combination of confidence and experience was an additional boost that, in a short period of time, helped his business boom.
“I am drawn towards homes, design and construction” he says. “All aspects of residential real estate.” O’Connor loves the fact that as an asset class, property is tangible. Not surprisingly, his company is comprehensive, from residential sales and leasing, to property management and finding plum lots for builders whose homes he then sells when completed.
But what cinches it for O’Connor is the human element. The connection that happens when you find a home for a client that they’ll spend their days in, raise their family in, and experience the big and small moments of their lives. “I get to be a part of that,” he explains. “It really draws me in, and appeals to me on so many levels.”
Because of this, O’Connor purposefully keeps his business small. He is with Strand Hill Christie’s International Real Estate, chosen for its global support and embrace of the changes in the industry, particularly with technology. But when it comes to his office, it’s just O’Connor and a full-time assistant at a welcoming office on a corner of Manhattan Avenue.
“We have never gone in the direction of having a real estate team,” he explains. The reason is simple: “I want people to use me because they want to deal with me directly and because I add value. It’s important to me, and it seems to be important to my clients.”
The result is that nearly all of O’Connor’s business—85 percent—is either from existing clients or referrals. People who won’t do real estate with anyone else. “That’s our core group,” he says. His marketing is a combination of traditional and new: Each month he checks in with his clients, sending a postcard or an email, while also managing a social media presence (Instagram is a focus), along with a slew of O’Connor-hosted videos, including a five-part series that chronicled his home remodel project.
The power of likability is not lost on O’Connor, whose lifelong real estate expertise is supplanted by a magnetic calm and affability that brings clients back, and summons like-minded new ones. “I attract people who have similar values,” he says modestly. “Am I the biggest agent in town on a numbers or volume basis? Probably not,” he says. “But I might have the happiest client base out of anybody.”
DAN O’CONNOR PROPERTY GROUP
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF DAN O’CONNOR PROPERTY GROUP