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Ahead of the launch of Selling The OC, Features Editor Jenny Proudfoot sat down with Jason Oppenheim to talk business lessons, what you should look for when buying a house and where he would buy in London…
Jason Oppenheim is a household name, rising to fame with his Netflix reality series, Selling Sunset.
The fan-favourite show follows elite agents at The Oppenheim Group – a famed real estate brokerage founded by Oppenheim and his brother Brett. And they’re not slowing down soon, with the brothers starring in a new spin-off series launching today, Selling The OC.
It’s hardly surprising that Jason was named as a Showbiz Real Estate Elite for 2022 – he knows real estate and business.
As The Oppenheim Group prepares for the launch of Selling The OC, Features Editor Jenny Proudfoot sat down with Jason to find out more. Together, they talked what to look for when buying a house, the tricks to selling a home and where he would buy in London…
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in business?
I think you need to follow the type of person you are if you’re an entrepreneur. You need to follow that path and start your own business. I tried working as an attorney and working at another large real estate brokerage, but I think that following my heart and recognizing that I’m an entrepreneur and that I want to be able to make all the decisions encouraged me to go start my own business. That was an important lesson for me. I think I made the right decision although I also realize how much more difficult, time-consuming, and expensive it is to run your own business than I would’ve ever imagined.
Do you think mistakes are key to progress?
I don’t think mistakes are the key to progress. I think they’re likely inevitable to progress but I’m not certain they’re key. I hear a lot about people saying you need to fail and that “failing up” is important, but I’m not so sure I ascribe to that. I don’t want this to come off the wrong way, but I’m not certain I’ve made an essential mistake that I can think of off the top of my head that’s been important in my career. I take a lot of time before making decisions and I think I’ve avoided most mistakes – certainly most large mistakes. I also just really don’t believe mistakes are necessary to become successful – I suppose if you do make a mistake you can learn from it but I certainly don’t think it’s necessary.
What is your secret to success?
I don’t think there are secrets to success. I don’t ascribe to one-line answers as to how to become successful; I think that success just comes from ambition, dedication, and tons of hard work.
What is a golden rule when selling a house that everyone should do?
Oh presentation – I think that people sometimes don’t understand the value and the importance of presentation and every last detail when it comes to presentation.
Where do people often go wrong with selling houses?
I’d say over-pricing; so many sellers want to test the market and come on at a very high price. After all, they feel like that’s the way to make sure they don’t leave any money on the table but often it ends up that they leave a lot of money on the table because they sit on the market. Once you’ve had to reduce your price I think it’s a red flag to buyers as to something perhaps being wrong with your house and I think at that point you’ve already left money on the table.
What should you immediately look for when viewing a house?
Quality – don’t be fooled by staging, artwork, and pretty bright colours. Focus on the quality of the finishes because what’s important is not just how the house is going to look when you move in, but how the house is going to look in 5 or 10 years when you’re ready to sell it. Also floor plan, scale, and arguably most important, land. Land appreciates more than anything so land is extremely important when buying.
If you were living in the UK, where would you choose to buy property?
Oh that’s a good question – I was just there. I know so many places that I liked. Kind of right around One Hyde Park was beautiful, or Mayfair perhaps I’d live and if not Mayfair then Marylebone.
What was the first sale you ever made?
Oh I remember this specifically because it was my grandmother’s house – the house that my mother grew up in. That was my first sale in 2010 – that’s right here on Bundy Drive in Brentwood.
What is the most expensive house you’ve ever sold?
I think we’ve sold several homes in the $40 million range. I think three or four now, so those are the most expensive homes I’ve sold.
What is the most unbelievable request you’ve ever been given when finding a house for someone?
I’m not often receiving unrealistic requests and I think I attract clients who are generally relatively logical and reasonable so I really can’t think of unreasonable requests. I think the clients I attract are pretty reasonable, thoughtful and intelligent people who don’t ask me crazy unrealistic things. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few crazy things but my staff would probably have a better answer than I would.
What do you look for when hiring employees?
I look for several things when I’m hiring someone as a real estate agent. I’d say experience is great but it’s not a requirement as long as I think the person is capable of learning quickly. And in some ways, it might even be better if they don’t have experience because then I’m certain that they are going to learn the right way, as opposed to perhaps not having experience in the way that I would like them to. Some people learn real estate without the requisite detail and thoroughness that I think is necessary. It certainly also has to be somebody that I get along with and I think would get along with the other agents. That’s important because one asshole can ruin the vibe. I think ambition because you get from real estate what you put into it so I need to be certain that the person is going to be working hard and ambitious towards becoming successful. These days I think I try to hire people that are already successful but certainly not necessary.
What for you has been the highlight of taking part in Selling Sunset?
Oh that’s easy – I think sharing in success with the people that I love and care about. Being able to go through this exciting process with my best friends has been the most rewarding aspect of Selling Sunset for sure.
Selling The OC launches today on Netflix.