Agent Spotlight: Brendan Brown | Westside Estate Agency, Beverly Hills, CA
From renovating and designing investment properties to opening his own real estate brokerage in Newport Beach, CA at the young age of 21, Brendan Brown’s real estate career has covered Los Angeles, Malibu, Orange County, New York City, and San Diego. Outside of real estate, Brendan has written and served as a contributor for the Huffington Post, GQ, HYPEBEAST and Men’s Fashion Post, and is a GQ, Mr. Porter, and Travel + Leisure Insider.
Having collaborated with many publications, fashion, and lifestyle brands throughout his career, Brendan was named as one of New York’s Men About Town. An avid world traveler, he traveled to over 33 countries before he turned 30. Brendan co-founded the Gabrielle's Angel Foundation for Cancer Research's Young Professional Committee, as a way to encourage young entrepreneurs and professionals to get involved in philanthropy. His most memorable endeavor was his first visit to South Africa, where he volunteered with Africa's wild lion population hands-on.
How did you get into real estate?
I started managing investment apartment buildings in college and began renovating them to increase the rents for my then-boss. After seeing that potential, we both got our licenses, and we sold them off at a much higher value, and because of that I moved back to California for my senior year of college and finished college online at night. That was the only way I could work full time, open and run my own brokerage at 21, was by finishing school at night and online. Easily one of the best things I ever did, because I got so much direct hands-on experience.
Tell us about one of your most interesting deals.
I had a client who had lived in an oceanfront mansion in Newport Beach since 1936. They bought the property for $38,000 and it was located right on Newport’s famed beach, The Wedge. When I came into the picture, the home had become a dilapidated $8 million, oceanfront property and hoarder’s den. Everytime I came to the house, before we spoke about any business (she didn't want to learn email, nor had the patience for text), she would ask me, "Where were you this weekend? Have you been traveling? Tell me about your clients that are giving you trouble. Didn't you think that new film was great?" She was 99 and she spent everyday under her umbrella on her back porch, reading Vogue & Harper's Bazaar and drinking tea like she used to before the war. The last thing you would ever imagine about her from me telling you about her, was that she was a double amputee, type 2 diabetic, and a Holocaust survivor. At 99 years old she still had so much life in her, and I always looked forward to my meetings with her because they always gave me such insight, but she also always made my day. It definitely made the deal a little longer and harder because there was no such thing as a quick drive by, and DocuSign was a word she banned, but I find myself thinking back to her often when I am working on certain projects or with certain personalities, and it’s always great for me. Her memory always brings me joy but also shows me how much someone can go through, and still maintain a great outlook on life.
What are your daily “must-do(s)”?
I start my day doing my affirmations right when I get up, but more often than not it’s in the car on the way to the gym because my puppy is jumping on me because he has to go outside and is hungry. Then I work out, and I try to not look at my phone as much as possible until I'm done with that. Because once I start with the phone, it doesn’t stop. No day is the same as the next in real estate as everyone knows, and I am always doing something. More often than not, there’s a client dinner, an event, or it’s date night. Client events and dinners are always important, not just from a business vantage point, but also because I value the relationships that I build with my clients and colleagues. That’s really important to me, I’ve never been the transactional agent where we do a deal and then it’s over, I find that to be a flawed business model. I'm also constantly checking in with my partners Andreas and Ryan, as we all have such great insights and always get each other's ideas.
Making time for your work-life balance is something that can be difficult in real estate because you’re always meeting new people and need to be available; but at the same time you have to know when to shut it off. After I'm done working or need a break, I always make time to read. I have one of the biggest coffee table book collections of anyone I know, actually that I have even met. What I can tell you though, is I have read every page in each one of those books, so they aren’t just for decoration! It’s hard to shut my mind off, especially in this business, but one thing that always does the trick is a good infrared sauna session where you just sweat it out and are locked away! I am also not one of those people who “doesn’t watch TV…” I love watching TV! I have to fall asleep with the TV on. I'll sleep on the couch before I fall asleep to no tv or silence.
How do you like to spend your free time?
Spending time with fiancé, brothers, family, and friends. Traveling as far and as much as possible. Doing things with our rambunctious puppy Harry, he’s a mini goldendoodle so he looks just like a teddy bear, which makes training him hard. I love writing and reading, watching TV and films; those are things that have always been a big part of my life. I love design books or books highlighting architecture or a moment in history. I am a huge history buff, you name it. History draws me in, which explains why I lived in two of the places in Los Angeles before I fully moved here that have the most storied histories, Chateau Marmont and Sunset Tower Hotel. If those walls could talk, I couldn't stop listening.
I love meeting new people, connecting with people, and sharing memorable experiences with friends, family, and co-workers alike. My business partners are like family to me, Andreas Elsenhans and Ryan Murphy. Not only does everyone bring such different and huge things to the table, and there’s a lot of love there. It’s just like with my brothers, except we get to build out our futures and our business visions together, and that’s a really special thing. I also find myself sometimes driving down the streets of Beverly Hills and Bel Air and just imagining what this place was like in the 1960s.
Brendan Brown volunteering with wild lions in South Africa
Share one thing on your bucket list.
To bring my fiance back to Africa, and show him all of the wildlife, people, and culture that I am so used to and have always loved, and that I know he would love. I’ve volunteered in South Africa for a month each year since I graduated college, and I haven’t been back since the pandemic hit. I can’t wait to not only be back but also see again kind of for the first time through his perspective.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself or your business?
I am a firm believer in you don't get what you don't ask for, and that's something I apply to every aspect of my life. If someone's answer is no, you are no worse off than you were before asking. You’re also probably asking the wrong person, or need to reframe it. So I'll ask again, and If the answer is still no, I will re-strategize. That's the same mentality I take with me when dealing with getting my clients. what their wants and needs are, and getting them taken care of. That’s the mentality that I use to make sure I deliver that to them, and also for myself and how I approach situations in my own life.
To connect with Brendan
Visit his website.
Follow him on Instagram @mrbgb.
Follow him on LinkedIn.
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