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California's Top Real Estate Agent

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By Author: Residences at W Hollywood
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Luxury Apartments in Los Angeles home market shows no signs of cooling. The average luxury home sales price in the city grew 10.5 percent — to $7.4 million — during the second quarter of 2015, while the average number of days on the market fell 11 percent (to 88 days), according to a Los Angeles real estate agent. Witness record-setting sales in some of the hottest markets — with many buyers paying all cash. "It's a healthy market, and there's no better place to invest," says John Aaroe Group's Aaron Kirman, one of THR's top 25 agents — presented here in alphabetical order — selected for their client rosters and killer deals.

Josh and Matt Altman

These star real estate agents moved their business to Douglas Elliman in February after nearly a dec­ade with Hilton & Hyland. During the past 12 months, they have represented the unnamed buyer of Reba McEntire's Beverly Park home ($22.25 million) and Miley Cyrus in the purchase of her 5-acre vineyard estate in Hidden Hills ($5 million). Brothers Matt, a former talent agent, and Josh, who is writing a book about selling property, hold the listing for Denise Richards' nearly $8 million Hidden Hills home Residences at W Hollywood.

Santiago Arana

The Bolivia native, who moved to the U.S. short-term to learn English but decided to stay when he found his calling in real estate, was part of the team that sold author-screenwriter Victoria Foyt and director Henry Jaglom's Santa Monica home at 609 E. Channel Road — used in Beverly Hills Cop — in July for $23 million, one of the top sales to date in Santa Monica. "I'm having the best year of my career by far," says Arana. He also represented the buyer of Michael Strahan's $21.5 million Brentwood home and sold Dan Romanelli's Malibu estate to Lady Gaga for $23 million.

Joe Babajian

The hottest type of home right now is a one-story house on a flat lot with a promontory view over the pool, says Babaji. "You would think it would be common, but it's not," he notes. "That's been the formula for getting the top dollar." This year, he sold such a house in Trousdale Estates for around 3,000 dollars per sq ft — an original price per square foot on the Westside. He has a piece of land in Beverly Hills with an asking cost of $49 million in escrow, and he's listing Cheryl Tiegs' Bel Air home for $15 million. Previous sales also include Dean Martin's old home. "When I sold Nic Cage and Tom Jones' house owned before by Dean Martin, Nic walked through the house saying he had a vision of Dean in the house and that's why he wanted to buy it," Babajian recalls.

Ernie Carswell

"What I'm seeing built back up is a very different mountain than I've seen in my 30 years of business," says Carswell of the current real estate cycle. "This is a mountain of cash, not loans." He is representing Katy Perry in her high-profile attempt to acquire a former Los Feliz convent for $14.5 million. He also has begun working with a developer on Della Reese's old Bel-Air home, which she sold for $7.5 million in November. "Quickly built, fast money making doesn't interest me," Carswell notes. "Solid classics and something that will be here 100 years from now — that's what I want for me and what I want to represent when I represent someone else."

Chris Cortazzo

The Malibu dynamo, whose first client was Richard Gere, sold Gere's former $60 million Paradise Cove bluffs home to Jimmy Iovine in January. "That's a great way to start the year," jokes Cortazzo, adding that Malibu is only getting better: He auctioned a Frank Gehry-designed residence acquired by Patrick Dempsey for $15 million in June, and he's listing David and Yolanda Foster's Carbon Beach residence for $23.5 million.

Drew Fenton

Fenton, who has represented such clients as Christina Aguilera and the Osbournes, sold Calvin Klein a 9,350-square-foot view home in the Hollywood Hills for $25 million this summer. He also represented Nile Niami in his $9.5 million acquisition of Scooter Braun's Hollywood Hills home, and he's listing Simon Fuller's Beverly Hills house for nearly $19 million. His company is listed among the Top Real Estate Companies in California.

Josh Flagg

The Million Dollar Listing star says he has sold more than 20 homes at more than $5 million each this year. Among them is a Beverly Hills house on Tower Lane that he sold for $6 million — then sold again a month later for a million dollars more. Flagg, who remembers starting his career by putting together multimillion-dollar deals in his high school math class, also is preparing to list Andrew Getty's 8-acre estate in the Hollywood Hills.

Tomer Fridman

Fridman, who has a law degree from Loyola Law School, says much of his business has revolved around gated communities. "I think there's been a huge trend by celebrity buyers because of the privacy factor and the lifestyle factor," he says. "Their kids can ride their bikes in the street without being harassed by paparazzi." Fridman recently handled the $20 million sales of a Hidden Hills home to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West and represented Justin Bieber in his $7.2 million Calabasas sale to West's sister-in-law Khloe Kardashian. On the future of the Los Angeles market, he notes, "We've always been focused on the entertainment industry clientele, but we're seeing foreign buyers and investors and the need to have good access to an international clientele. Los Angeles is turning into an international market. There's a lot of spectacular new construction."

Aaron Kirman

President of global properties at his company, Kirman has shut down about 300 million dollars in sales this year and has a calculated $600 million in listings. He's listing the Danny Thomas residence with 360-degree views atop Hillcrest in Trousdale Estates for a rumoured $135 million. He also is co-listing Malibu developer and Sportsmen's Lodge owner Richard Weintraub's $60 million Malibu estate, La Villa Contenta.
About the Author
Led by Owner & Broker Yvonne Arias, The Property Lab (TPL) is an elite brokerage firm headquartered at LA Live in Downtown Los Angeles.
At TPL, we take great pride in our reputation, expertise & the range of work we have accomplished in the Real Estate sector. We have developed a vast knowledge of New Developments, Leasing, Property Management, Residential Resales, Hotel Residences & more. Few firms have this scope.
In working with TPL, as we continue with our day-to-day work, we consistently see the difference in working with our firm versus the others. It has become quite clear to the TPL team that few agents & brokers have our combined experience & professionalism. We take great pride in what we have accomplished & the service we provide to our clients.

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