The Agency places bet on Vegas

Franchise latest in expansion flurry for LA luxury brokerage

The Agency CEO Mauricio Umansky and agent Zar Zanganeh (Getty, Luxe Estates)
The Agency CEO Mauricio Umansky and agent Zar Zanganeh (Getty, Luxe Estates)

The Agency has moved into Las Vegas.

The luxury brokerage is partnering with Zar Zanganeh, an established Las Vegas agent, to open its latest franchise, the firm announced. The Nevada push is the latest in a flurry of geographical expansions for the Beverly Hills-based firm.

Zanganeh and his team officially came into The Agency fold this week.

“We found a great guy,” said Mauricio Umansky, CEO of the brokerage, adding that the timing of expansions into several markets farther afield over the next year will be determined by personnel rather than geography.

“The way that we expand is not always territory first,” he said. “It’s primarily people first, and then we analyze the territory, and in this particular case we found an extraordinary partner.”

Zanganeh has been selling luxury homes and condos in the Las Vegas area for over a decade, most recently leading a brokerage called Luxe Estates & Lifestyles. Among the shop’s current listings are a 39-acre ranch formerly owned by legendary Las Vegas headliner Wayne Newton, with a price tag of $27 million. The brokerage also is handling a 10,000-square-foot, seven-bedroom new development for $9 million; and a 7,400-square-foot estate with a view of the Vegas Strip for $4 million. Earlier in his career Zanganeh leased a 15,000-square-foot mansion to Michael Jackson and his family, and eventually sold the home for $3 million.

In recent months Las Vegas, like many relatively affordable markets around the country, has seen a pandemic-driven real estate frenzy. Last month the median price of existing single-family homes in Southern Nevada hit a record $407,000, more than 20 percent higher than a year ago, although the market also appears to be stabilizing.

“Prices are still increasing, but they’re going up more gradually than in previous months,” Aldo Martinez, the president of a Las Vegas realtor association, said recently.

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Umansky is focused on the upside.

“I love the Vegas market,” Umansky said. “It’s growing extremely fast — the projections are that it’s going to keep growing.”

The Agency was also interested in setting up in Las Vegas because of the influx of Californians to the area, Umansky added.

“Part of the way we look at our expansion is we follow our clients, we follow the money,” he said.

Umansky, a former top broker at Hilton & Hyland, cofounded The Agency in 2011 with an eye toward disrupting the brokerage landscape by focusing on sleek marketing and centering attention on star agents. His firm has grown rapidly, emerging as a serious global luxury player with over 800 agents, although it’s also struggled with broker attrition and legal dramas.

“I believed that the brokerage model was sort of broken, and I thought there was an opportunity to start a company that sold real estate differently,” Umansky told The Real Deal in 2019. “The mission was to create a boutique firm with global reach.”

Zanganeh’s personal background––he’s a native of Iran who grew up in France and Spain––seems to fit with The Agency’s expansive outlook. The brokerage now counts 46 offices in nearly 30 markets, including Mexico, the Caribbean and Amsterdam. It has maintained an aggressive expansion pace, announcing franchises in Maui, Boston, Long Island, Calgary, Vancouver and greater Toronto, among others.

The firm will make more expansion announcements in coming months, Umansky said, and for next year is looking at new pushes into Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

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