“Selling LA” star and broker Kofi Nartey on emotional agents and selling Michael Jordan’s house

Agency managing director says the uber-luxury market is slowing

Mar.March 02, 2016 02:30 PM

The life of broker Kofi Nartey, managing director of the Agency’s Beach Cities office in Marina del Rey and director of the company’s sports and entertainment division, has been anything but dull. He’s acted in commercials, films and television shows, including “True Blood,” “Modern Family,” and “Psych.” His acting and real estate careers have converged with his frequent screentime on HGTV’s “Selling LA.”

In his twelve years selling luxury L.A. properties, his client list has included basketball great Michael Jordan; recording artist Iggy Azalea; and NFL veterans LaDainian Tomlinson and Marcellus Wiley.

He’s currently trying to sell, along with Agency CEO Mauricio Umansky, Jordan’s Highland Park estate, which is listed for just shy of $15 million. (It was knocked down from its original asking price of $21 million when it was listed by another agency several years ago.) Both Nartey’s acting and marketing experience shine through in the listing for the property: he narrates the promotional video from the perspective of Michael Jordan’s home, cracking jokes like “You think you’re big, well I’m bigger,” and pointing out all of the compound’s bells and whistles.

The Real Deal sat down with Nartey to chat about Jordan’s property, his biggest pet peeve and more.

DOB: July 21, 1975
Hometown: Los Angeles
Family: Married. 2 children

The video of Michael Jordan giving a tour of his own property went viral. How did the idea for the video come to be?

So my goal was to a do property video, which we often do, but not to do it in a traditional way. So I put on my ad agency hat and we decided to do an ad campaign which captured the essence of the house. The essence is that it’s the Michael Jordan estate that was built on hard work and championship.

And he was game for that?

I didn’t think he knew exactly what we were gonna do at the start, but he agreed to it. The proof was in the pudding, because it was the most viral real estate video campaign ever.

The house has been listed since 2013, but it still hasn’t sold…

It was listed for a couple of years before (the Agency) took it over last year. Our biggest marketing push was at the end of last year. We get calls from people who have seen the video and a portion are just interested out of curiosity, but some are serious, which is a good sign.  

What’s your favorite area of Los Angeles?

Anywhere that gives you the combination of city and ocean views. Water views are great, but they disappear at night. I love when you can get the water during the day, but you get the twinklies at night.

Which way is the L.A. real estate market going?

It’s a tale of many markets at different price points in different neighborhoods. The $1 million to $2 million market is still very strong. We’re seeing limited inventory, so the properties that come on are selling pretty quickly. The $2 million to $5 million market is also relatively strong. The uber high end, $20 million-plus, is slowing a little bit.

What’s your biggest pet peeve about selling real estate?

Agents that have a tough time managing their own emotions. The clients have a right to be emotional. It’s our job as agents to help them manage their emotions. It’s tough when you are dealing with an emotional agent.

If you weren’t selling real estate, what would you be doing?

I would have a marketing firm that works with startup companies, helping them figure out their brands, helping them go to market, helping them come up with their creative ads. A lot of small to medium sized companies or startup companies miss the mark when it comes to marketing. That’s something I know pretty well and feel like I could help with.

Who’s your favorite type of customer?

A motivated customer. If they’re not motivated, you can do a bang-up job, give them 110 percent, but at the end of the day, they still may not want to pull the trigger or sell the property.

Who’s your customer from hell?

I have opted not to work with some people because it’s not a right fit and that avoids the customer-from-hell scenario. I can smell it out upfront and say, ‘I may not be the right fit for you’ and then we don’t have to go down that road.

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