Real estate agent Ari Afshar has set his course with brokerage firm Compass, which merges technology and real estate in a way that allows him to parlay a stint working with startup companies to optimize the client experience—and the real estate industry as a whole. Here, the Beverly Hills-based, tech-savvy agent on upping the luxury real estate game.
As Told To Amy Adams | Photos Courtesy of samidrasin.com
Ari, how did you get started in real estate?
I got started in 2006 as a loan officer for a mortgage brokerage. I was prospecting for new clients and helped them refinance their existing loans, and financed their new home purchases. I was working directly with the largest financial institutions in the country and it taught me a lot about the back end of the real estate deal. In 2008, when the market crashed, I started a residential real estate brokerage that later merged with Coldwell Banker in Beverly Hills.
What distinguishes your brokerage firm, Compass, from the competition?
Compass is a technology company that specializes in real estate. It’s that approach to the product and user experience that has made Compass into the success it is today. The engineers and support staff on the tech side make everything from listing presentations to marketing personalized, at the click of a button. What they can do is quite amazing; it also provides me the time to concentrate on the fundamentals of networking to find the right buyers for my clients’ properties.
What attracts you to luxury real estate?
Property is the building block, literally and figuratively, of our whole economy. Luxury real estate is the pinnacle of that system. Everything else, from your Valentino suit to the Ferrari Cabriolet that you dream of buying, is stored on a property. Luxury real estate is more than bricks and mortar; it’s brick, mortar and everything else that goes into the home.
What do you credit for your success?
I owe most of my success to my wife, for allowing me to continue to aim high and go after my targets. I would imagine most partners would not want to be around for the roller coaster I’ve continued to put us through. She has, and I’m very grateful for it.
Describe your real estate philosophy.
Strike while the iron is hot. Remember that everything is about momentum, and if you don’t use it while it’s on your side, it will slowly fade away, and it’s very challenging to bring back.
What are some exciting changes you see in the market right now?
The most exciting change is the global view of Los Angeles as a premier location for real estate. Before, we experienced a second class or backseat to attention given to markets like New York, Shanghai, Tokyo, London, Paris, etc. Los Angeles has now established itself as one of those markets.
You are heavily involved with the Brent Shapiro Foundation. What attracted you to this charity?
The Brent Shapiro Foundation was created by Robert, Linell and Grant Shapiro after Brent’s parents lost their son, and my best friend, to a drug overdose. The Foundation is committed to helping save potential lost lives due to drug and alcohol-related causes. A saved life is priceless.
You’ve also been involved with startups.How did that experience affect your real estate business?
I worked with a series of startups between 2011 and 2015, and I feel like that experience was like earning a PhD in real world marketing, organization and innovation. While I was still brokering deals during that time, those startups gave me the opportunity to work side by side with graphic designers, computer scientists and engineers. So now, working with a tech-driven brokerage like Compass is the perfect fit because it’s like I have lived through the rough draft of that process. Everything from 3D models, mobile-friendly websites, custom listing presentations and internal organization feels like second nature to me now