Real Estate Q&A with The Argonaut News

Real Estate Q&A with The Argonaut News

This post was originally featured in The Argonaut

In my 15 years of real estate experience, I’ve helped build real estate empires across the Westside of Los Angeles, watched, supported, and guided some of the greats in the industry rise to the pinnacle and I’ve seen many of the not-so-greats fall. Nevertheless, in the grand scheme of real estate things, it can sometimes feel like I’m running into firsts at every turn.

Although there are patterns that you can make out between each transaction that comes with experience, every new transaction is still very unique from the next. It is much like the waves of the ocean. A surfer will tell you that each wave is not like the next.

With that said, let me borrow some lessons from the world of surfing for some advice. Full-disclosure, my experience in real estate far outruns my experience in surfing but starting in real estate is very much like the daunting task of learning how to surf -- everyone starts off as a “kook” (a not-so-endearing term used to describe a surfing neophyte who is in over his/her head). 


Surf Check: Do Your Research.

Doing your research ahead of time can save so much trouble in both surfing and real estate. 

To decide which day, which location, and which time of day to surf, even the most experienced surfer does a surf check. Luckily today, there are applications like that monitor the tide, the weather, water temperature, surf height, and many other data points. This helps decide what kind of surf day you’re going to have. However, although the data is a great help, there is nothing like an in-person surf check to see for yourself.

Understanding the current market is crucial to the success of a real estate agent. There are so many data points to study and we study them day in and day out. We pay attention to national, state, regional, city, submarket, street, asset type, asset class, and so many other more granular levels of data. It is important to be aware of current political, economic, social, and technological climates that may affect each of our transactions. Though it may seem like all this research can be a full-time job in itself, all this only sets an agent up for the first decision to make -- what to bring to the table.

Know Your Quiver: Come Prepared

A surfer’s quiver or set of surfboards that usually vary in shape and size determines which wave he or she can play in. The choice of board must reflect the surfer’s plan of attack based on the conditions. The shorter board gives the rider more speed and maneuverability on the face of the wave and the longboard is more of a cruise control mode. If the plan is to do sick turns and fly through the waves, the surfer might choose a shorter board and surf when and where there is a swell. 

Similarly, equipped with all the data, the real estate agent must analyze this come prepared. Depending on the conditions, there are different tactics an agent must employ. There are some instances where you must come in with a more aggressive stance and other instances where strength comes from a gentler approach. Moreover, know what your client’s priorities are in the transaction. That can decide the technique you must employ.

Not Every Ripple is a Wave: Choose Wisely


More than once, I’ve been out there in the wide oceans stoked with the beauty of the ocean and the warmth of the sun on my skin, there’s nothing else I want to do than to ride the next wave. It was high tide and I had been sitting on my longboard for what felt like a very long time waiting for a wave. Suddenly, a line in the horizon rises and I paddle towards the shore slightly turned to the right, determined to catch this one. It turns out, it was just a ripple. With tired arms and busted spirit, I paddle back out to the lineup watching the surfers ride the next two waves of the set and I was left to throw shaka signs and cheer for them.

There is a host of inventory and clients out there for real estate agents. Don’t chase all of them lest you may miss out on the good ones. Learn from others who catch those you don’t because there is something to be said about learning from your mistakes. After all, an experienced real estate agent is one who constantly learns can facilitate great returns for the client.

Timing and Balance

The wave is a moving target and a big part of catching it is in the timing. If you don’t pop up at the right time, the wave could either pass you or wipe you out. When you’re on the wave, every movement of the water, the wind, and your board can throw you off your balance. It is important to adjust with grace. 

Real estate is also a timing and balancing act. The price is just one deal point and the ability of an agent to balance all the deal points and approach the transaction at the right time can make or break the deal. Some other deal points that can be presented include credit repairs, escrow length, financial stability or loan terms, and many many more. In real estate, (almost) everything is negotiable. 

There are so many more lessons from surfing that can run parallel with tackling real estate but perhaps the greatest of all of them is this:

Be In The Moment and Surf with Aloha

Both real estate and surfing is a community. Even though we are all competing for our own spaces, it is crucial that we all the process and practice kindness and respect towards your clients and peers. As the Hawaiian proverb says, “`A`ohe lokomaika`i i nele i ke pâna`i” -- No kind deed has ever lacked its reward.

Erica Joy Maniquis rides a long board and is a commercial real estate agent with 
Commercial Brokers International 310.943.8547 direct DRE # 02058795

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