Locale MagazineMatilda Bress, Editor
Nov. 6, 2014
Less than 10 years ago, some of the most famous and successful real estate agents opened offices in the most profitable and beautiful places around the globe. Today, the star-filled firm is called Nest Seekers. Typically, you see real estate agents faces on bus benches, shopping cart advertisements and billboards, however Nest Seekers is not a typical brokerage company. Their agents are constantly featured on CNBC, BBC, Bloomberg, and real estate reality shows.
Being a world famous real estate company, it’s no surprise that two of Nest Seeker’s top Beverly Hills agents have ties to Hollywood royalty. Sisters Leyla Blumenfeld and Marisa Zanuck joined together in 2009 and have been running the LA market ever since. Both women grew up in “the 90210” and can provide an insider’s perspective into the subtle differences between neighborhoods and the hidden values of the greater Los Angeles area.
Zanuck (married to producer Dean Zanuck, son of Richard and grandson of Darryl F. Zanuck of 20th Century Fox fame), was a cast member of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” but is more house- seller than house-wife. Over the past 14 years, she has sold properties to the A-list and the average family alike. Zanuck has always had a passion for high-end homes (check out her first sold properties), but sells to both young homeowners as well as business executives. Over the past decade or so, Zanuck has become one of the top referred agents in the place to be, Beverly Hills. Her sister Leyla has over 15
years of experience as a realtor and is a dominate force in the marketplace. Known for her out-of-the- box techniques in finding the perfect home, Blumenfeld is one of Nest Seekers most valuable agents. Blumenfeld’s mantra is “No deal too small, no dream too large.” Together these sisters are unstoppable. With almost two decades of experience, jaw dropping looks and a lifelong commitment to the city, it is no surprise that Zanuck and Blumenfeld stay on top of the LA real estate market.
Q: LA has such diverse neighborhoods. Which is your favorite to sell in?
Marisa Zanuck: I like making my clients happy. I go where the business takes me. If they want the Hills, I take them to the Hills. If they want tree-lined streets, I take them there. I don’t have one specific neighborhood that is my favorite.
Leyla Blumenfeld: The Beverly Hills Post Office area. I love the neighborhood for many reasons: It’s perfect for families, is a pretty area, and you can leave your house and be at arm’s reach to some of the best places.
Q: Many joke that LA has no seasons. Is that a plus or minus for potential buyers?
MZ: I definitely feel that LA having no seasons is a plus for buyers. People come from all over the world to California to buy houses because of the weather. Who wouldn’t want to live in sunny weather all the time?
LB: I believe that no matter what the weather is, rain or shine, people are looking for houses.
Q: What’s the key to “sealing the deal” ?
MZ: The number one key to “sealing the deal” is price. Getting my client the price they are looking for.
LB: The key is making sure both the buyer and seller are happy. You aren’t just working for the buyer. You are working for the seller too. Everybody has to be happy for a deal to be sealed.
Q: Did being born and bred in LA make you want to become an agent?
MZ: Growing up in LA, I do know all the neighborhoods like the back of my hand. This has been my playground for years and still is.
LB: Yes, because I know the neighborhoods in-and-out and I know where to place buyers to make them happy.
Q: What’s the first thing you look for in a property?
MZ: How well it’s priced in accordance with the market as well as location and neighborhoods.
LB: It’s all relative. It all depends on their needs and what they’re looking for.
Q: Can you give readers and potential homebuyers a tip?
MZ: Buyers really need to know exactly what they’re looking for. It’s also important to know what neighborhood you’ll enjoy and want to live in. Pick a neighborhood, the type of home you’re looking for, and convey all of that to your real estate agent.
LB: People should always buy in the best neighborhood, even if it’s the smallest house. Neighborhoods are key. It’s better to get a small house in a great neighborhood than a big house in the wrong neighborhood.
Q: What was the first property you ever sold?
MZ: A Venice house to Eric Clapton.
LB: A condo in West Hollywood for an eligible bachelor.
Q: What makes LA the perfect place to live?
MZ: Undoubtedly the weather. I can go to the beach with my kids in the winter!
LB: That’s a loaded question. There’re so many factors: weather, location, people, neighborhoods, food, etc.
Q: Do you mostly cater to families or singles?
MZ: People of all walks of life, no particular family type. LB: Singles are attracted to me and I like to cater to them.
Q: What is your favorite part of being an agent?
MZ: Finding people the house of their dreams. I love the art of making and completing a deal.
LB: Putting someone in a home that makes them happy. That smile after someone purchased a home is incredible.
Q: Name one stereotype about LA that is “totally like so true” and one that is definitely not.
LB: One stereotype that definitely is true about Los Angeles is that we are very health conscious here. Working out and being fit is definitely a priority for us Angelenos. A stereotype that is not true I feel is that we are not all laid back individuals as people think. There is definitely a very strong work ethic here and it depends on the person.
Q: Are there any trends or new features that are popular with your customers right now?
MZ: A new trend right now in real estate is development. A lot of clients are either doing remodels or wanting to get into flipping houses!
Q: Would you advise young people to seek a life in the real estate business?
LB: Life in the real estate business is tricky. It depends on the individual to become successful. If you are a self starter, ambitious and ready to work seven days a week, then real estate could be a good fit.
Real Estate Sales Person