As told to Danielle Accovelli | Photographed by Andrew Kraus
With over 40 years of combined real estate experience, Nick Peters and Ben Larson decided to take their South Bay market knowledge and expertise and join Engel & Volkers Realty. The result is a winning combination: the firm with an established local and international reputation and the duo dedicated to providing premium client-based services, which have earned them a steady flow of referrals and new clients for a promising future.
Here, Peters and Larson discuss their new Redondo Beach location, numerous charitable involvements and what’s ahead for Engel & Volkers.
When was Engel & Volkers Realty—EV—established and what is it known for?
Engel & Volkers started in Europe in 1977, and now has over 650 locations in 39 countries around the world, and almost 7,000 Advisors (i.e. agents). EV’s reputation is built on being a classy, highly respected, client-oriented real estate firm. Quality of agent, rather than quantity, is a consistent theme at EV.
Why did you close your own firm to join Engel & Volkers?
Dozens of family members, friends, clients, and even competitors, said we would regret not doing it. We were honestly shocked at the consistency of their encouragement and support. We have noticed that more clients, and agents, prefer to work with an international brand rather than a South Bay only firm. We can see it happening and we think it is a permanent trend. Also, we loved the international boutique model—and EV is the only firm of its kind in that regard.
Tell us about your new location in Redondo Beach. Why is it the ideal address for the business?
First, EV calls its offices ‘shops,’ a term that pays homage to the original goal of each location being designed as an inviting place for the public and clients to stop by, and for Advisors to prosper and enjoy working. People can comfortably check out listings from around the world and from local neighborhoods, or just pop in to say hi, grab a coffee and a homemade treat.
We love that ‘vibe.’ This shop is in a great location, looking out into the heart of the Riviera Village. It’s also a conveniently central location in the South Bay, with our plan to open an additional three shops along the South Bay coastline by 2020. This will allow Advisors to serve our key cities—from El Segundo, through the beaches, to Torrance, San Pedro and the entire Palos Verdes ‘Hill.’
What distinguishes your firm from others in the same market?
Our small office environment consisting of serious, producing agents. We purposely don’t have big offices, so we have to be selective with the agents that we invite to come on board. Everything about the firm reflects premium service, so we have to have premium agents. EV has also always had a focus on great service and market knowledge. We strive to continue that tradition by continually providing useful education and concierge-level services to both our clients and Advisors. For sellers, we have a deep international reach, with marketing materials and special marketing opportunities in premium publications. Through a combination of local expertise and an established international network of Advisors, we sincerely feel that our company can service a seller like no other. For buyers, we are the only firm with its own website for off-market properties.
The two of you share 40 years of combined real estate experience. What are your specialties?
Ben: Besides residential brokerage, I have an expertise with trust sales, probates, flip deals, short sales and apartment buildings.
Nick: I have sold over 150 income properties, and have handled literally hundreds of remodels and ‘flip’ deals, plus developments. I am also an expert on short sales and foreclosures.
Describe your involvement with the community and charities?
We have always been heavily involved with local charities. It’s a passion, not a business tactic—we want to emphasize that. The organizations range from the YMCA, Pediatric Therapy Network (Nick is on the Board of Directors), Walk with Sally, Education Foundations, numerous local schools, the VA in Los Angeles, countless cancer events, Children’s Miracle Network, Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, etc. As you can tell, this is a serious portion of our lives.
Any pleasant surprises with Engel & Volkers?
Yes. We have already received a lot of referrals, and new clients coming to us that we were told only happened because we were specifically with EV. This includes some significant homes and projects that will be coming on line in the near future. We did not expect that kind of windfall business, but we are really happy about it happening!