Meet the mystery go-to agent for Palm Beach billionaires
Lawrence Moens brokered Larry Ellison's record-breaking purchase and many others. But he's nearly invisible.
“I’m not commenting on that guy.”
“Great to hear from you. No comment.”
From those responses, you’d think you were asking about the Pope or Johnny Depp’s private life, rather than about a top residential broker. In the publicity-hungry world of luxury real estate, Lawrence Moens’ invisibility is not just unusual – it’s downright bizarre.
There are no photos of the Palm Beach superagent on the internet. His “about us” page returns an invalid URL. His profiles on listings websites are mostly blank. And yet, his dominance of one of the country’s richest real estate markets is total: He has represented everyone from Donald Trump and Netscape co-founder Jim Clark to casino mogul Steve Wynn and hedge fund titan Ken Griffin, and of course, Oracle founder Larry Ellison, for whom he brokered the record-smashing purchase of an ocean-to-lake compound in Manalapan last month.
The $173 million deal for the property, sold by Clark, broke a Florida record set just last year, when Tiger Global Management partner Scott Shleifer paid $123 million for an oceanfront home developed by homebuilder Mark Pulte. Moens was the listing broker and also owned a stake in the property, located at 535 North County Road.
Show, don’t tell
Moens, 65, has been in Palm Beach for decades and has run his eponymous firm since the early 1980s. He’s been a fixture in the area’s priciest residential deals, and ran rampant since the popularity of the Palm Beach market skyrocketed during the pandemic.
Since 2021, Moens has been involved in on-market sales totaling more than $650 million, according to Zillow. That figure does not include off-market deals, including the two record sales totaling nearly $300 million, which means Moens is likely around the $1 billion dollar volume mark over the last 18 months.
Moens represented both buyer and seller in nearly all of Griffin’s buys in Palm Beach, a decade-long acquisition tear totaling at least $350 million. He represented Trump in his sale of a 6-acre oceanfront property to Russian fertilizer billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev in 2008 for $95 million, also a record at the time. That estate was razed and subdivided, and one of the lots is the property that Shleifer bought from Pulte.
Moens represented Clark in his purchase of the sprawling former Ziff estate – a 15-acre ocean-to-lake compound at 2000 South Ocean Boulevard – for $94 million in March of last year, only to go to work for him again – and also represented Ellison – in the $173 million transaction.
He has sold his own properties, including his seven-bedroom lakefront home in 2018 for roughly $27 million, which resold to Sylvester Stallone about two years later. He also served as Wynn’s agent in his flip of a five-bedroom waterfront home in Palm Beach in April for $32 million. Wynn made a 33 percent return in just one year, an illustration of just how frenzied the local market has been.
Those kinds of deals are usually done by brokers who are near-celebrities themselves. But that’s not the case with Moens. Beyond his deals, for which he’s received ink in the Palm Beach Daily News, TRD and other publications, and his political donations to Republican politicians such as real estate favorite Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio, there’s not much to be found on him. He’s not on the Wall Street Journal’s RealTrends ranking or any other broker-submitted list of top real estate agents. He doesn’t grant interviews. An exhaustive Google search reveals only that his father, Armand Moens, is a Juno Beach artist and Moens himself is an avid art collector.
It’s a carefully constructed persona of someone who is expert at what they do and that’s it, leaving no opening for anything else. It may not sound odd to people outside of the real estate industry, but for insiders, it’s more than rare. Agents are, typically, easily reachable, eager to be photographed and hungry for the opportunity for press. Even the ones who say they hate press will eagerly tell a reporter how much they hate it.
Still, if you’re the top broker in such a hot market, people talk. Speaking under the condition of anonymity, Moens’ industry colleagues called him a master of off-market deals, and described him as everything from cutthroat to easy to work with. Nearly all industry professionals reached by TRD first asked if Moens was participating in the profile – he was not, of course.
Kerry Warwick, a managing director of Corcoran Group who worked with Moens in the past, kept it simple.
“I have utmost respect for him,” she said. “He’s an excellent agent and that’s all I want to say.”
Some chose to take the high road – common in the clubby world of Palm Beach – saying only: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
One of Moens’ competitors, who agreed to speak, later balked.
“Thx. I’ll pass. I misread your text.”