Mauricio Umansky’s The Agency caters to the rich and famous. As CEO and founder of the billion-dollar brokerage, Umansky has built a reputation around flashy marketing, using storytelling techniques, videos and high-tech tools to garner attention for his A-list properties. His brokerage, which has been featured on several television shows, including “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles” and “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” is now the subject of a new Netflix series, “Buying Beverly Hills.” The show is set to premiere this fall.
Umansky reportedly holds the distinction of selling the most homes in the country priced above $20 million. He has represented some of the most noteworthy properties over the years, including the first house in Los Angeles to sell above the $100 million mark as well as well-known residences belonging to Michael Jackson, Prince and the Walt Disney estate. He also has represented major brands like The Ritz-Carlton.
Since its inception in 2011, The Agency has grown to more than 50 corporately owned and franchised offices and nearly 1,000 agents across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. REALTOR® Magazine recently caught up with Umansky to talk about what lies ahead for the housing market and his new buzzed-about Netflix series.
Q: What do you believe is in store for the luxury real estate market for 2023? Is the high-end market starting to slow like we’re seeing in the lower price points?
A: I believe we are beginning to see real estate markets across the country normalize. It’s important not to compare our current market to 2020 or 2021 because those years were an anomaly, and truthfully, the rapid pace of the market was unsustainable for the long term. The pandemic will likely be one of the most important events we’ll experience in our lifetime, when the home evolved even more into a personal sanctuary. So, it is impossible to compare this year’s market activity and predict 2023 in relation to these events.
I do anticipate that we will return to a new normal, yet the COVID experience is still behind today’s decision-making. Real estate will always be a sound investment and a safe bet when global markets are in upheaval and a recession is looming. Despite the market shifting, there is still so much global wealth. As the market slowed over these past few months, we finally began to see a return to real estate seasonality, which we have not experienced in the past two years.
I think a lot of buyers are still ready to buy and are collectively waiting for the next move once markets have stabilized. And, of course, now buyers can finally purchase a property at more realistic pricing without being completely outbid. As far as inventory, there’s definitely is still a dearth, especially in desirable markets and neighborhoods. I anticipate more inventory coming to the market in the coming months, but I predict it will still be slim across the board.
Do you notice any buyer or seller trends emerging that you believe could be even bigger in 2023?
People continue to crave outdoor space and desire turnkey living. They want more white palettes—simple and minimalistic—as more people gravitate away from heavy colors. When seeking a new home, buyers want more flexibility in a floor plan so they can use rooms for different functions, such as a secondary office, guest room for in-laws or playroom for kids. People also are prioritizing homes with accessory dwelling units that they can rent out for additional income or use for multiple purposes as needed by their families. Privacy and security also tend to be top of mind for buyers seeking a new home.
The Agency has long been known for its tech and marketing innovations. What technology lately has you the most excited for its potential in real estate?
In May, we announced The Agency’s acquisition of the tech-powered brokerage Triplemint, which is now The Agency New York. In tandem with the merger, The Agency has launched a new website and creative center for its agents, which further positions the brokerage for strategic and sustainable growth across the Northeast and around the world.
The Agency’s new website features enhanced functionality, making it easier for consumers to search and share listings and agents to receive client insights. The first phase includes new features such as a powerful universal property search, saved searches and property portfolios, tour sheets, expanded agent profiles, advanced lead generation and a redesigned, SEO-optimized blog.
The Agency Creative Center is the firm’s new fully accessible online marketing platform, home to its comprehensive marketing toolkit. The platform gives agents access to create everything they need to market themselves and their properties across print and digital channels. The Agency’s Creative Center offers more avenues and streamlined processes for collaborating, marketing asset creation, printing, and project management.
How will the acquisition of Triplemint help your company’s expansion efforts?
We’re thrilled Triplemint is now The Agency New York and to offer our agents an improved website and a new creative marketing suite as we continue to focus on streamlining our services with an emphasis on quality over quantity. We plan to continue our expansion using both our very talented and productive agents and Triplemint’s proprietary technology.
The Agency will continue to develop and enhance its existing full suite of cutting-edge tools, now powered by Triplemint’s predictive analytics and machine learning. These tools improve the agent experience and will enhance real-time communication between agents and clients while increasing productivity; automatically track the market and produce customized, real-time alerts; and foster lead generation to automatically capture, vet and convert leads.
Tell us about your new Netflix show, “Buying Beverly Hills.” What can we expect from the first season?
As the show’s slogan says: “We said no ass----s. But we never said no drama.” The new real estate “occu-soap” follows the agents and clients with The Agency. People will be able to see my role as CEO, working alongside my daughters, Farrah Brittany and Alexia Umansky, and our talented group of agents. The show highlights the high-stakes world of luxury real estate in Los Angeles. Beverly Hills is one of the most sought-after ultra-high-end markets in the world. This show provides a look inside the deals and listings of our agents, both newer and experienced.One of the standout elements of “Buying Beverly Hills” is the crew of newer agents we have working alongside the veteran agents. There is a lot of beautiful real estate, and we are also showing what it's like trying to break into the industry with the learning curves, the challenges, etc. Viewers also will be able to follow the market trends our agents navigate through the season.