I recently had the privilege of meeting a truly engaging, energetic and empathetic person. He is someone who combines a love for life and a sense of humor with elegance, grace, charm and an admirable work ethic.
“You have to be interested in, be interesting and good at caring for and engaging with people.”
Marc Hernandez is a luxury real estate agent in Beverly Hills, California. He works with Compass, the number one real estate brokerage in the US. But not only that, he comes from a very interesting background in the entertainment industry. Upon graduating from USC, Marc started out in commercial real estate brokerage and property management, where he was doing quite well. However, it wasn’t enough for him. He wanted something more creative. He wanted something bigger. He wanted entertainment. So he left a six-figure income for the literary and talent agency business where he landed a job in the mailroom with United Talent Agency earning a mere $350 a week. His parents thought he was crazy and he took a huge risk to do so, but he says that he believed he could work his way back up the ladder and it was the best thing he ever did. He credits his experience in literary representation in teaching him his “hustle and flow” and ability to represent, protect and serve high-profile clients.
In the Hollywood assistant world, everyone wants your job. One misstep, and you are out. It is a fast-paced environment with a hundred calls a day, reading scripts for your boss, organizing schedules, and running errands. Marc quickly learned that it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you. He clearly makes an impression with people and he shared a story about how back in 1997 he once had to drive the director M. Night Shyamalan to the Sony Pictures Studios lot, then at the beginning of this year he was having a client lunch on the rooftop of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Beverly Hills when he ran into Mr. Shyamalan. They recognized each other and had a nice conversation. Marc clearly made an impression and fits his own qualification of “you have to be interested in, be interesting and be good at caring for and engaging with people.”
After his time as a Hollywood assistant, starting his own entertainment company, Crescendo Entertainment Group, and then transitioning to run digital advertising sales for Fox Networks Group specifically with the highly popular show American Idol, he decided to enter the world of luxury real estate. He even had the opportunity to appear on Bravo TV’s “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles.” Cut to the present where Marc currently heads a team of agents at Compass and is also a member of the Sports & Entertainment Division. I have become fairly familiar with this division of Compass as they deal with high-profile sports and entertainment clients, globally. Coming from the Hollywood world, for Marc it is the perfect fit, as many of his clients are actors, writers, producers and directors. He clearly has the connections from the showbiz world from which he came.
He is also what I would call a branding mastermind. During my research while preparing for my interview with Marc, I learned that he is very good at incorporating pop culture and music references into his marketing, email newsletter and social media initiatives. For example, being a long-time Beatles fan (he used to sing “Hey Jude” for his parents and their friends, as a child. He also has a son named Lennon), the name of his weekly email newsletter is “The BEAT: From Beverly Hills, LA and Beyond.” He knows that creating a personal brand is a cross between heart and mind and that at its core, it comes down to showing your true and authentic self. “We already are the brand, we just need to define, design and distribute it. It’s about knowing who you are, what interests you and what you are passionate about … then sharing it with the world.”
As always, I like to include some tips for people who may be interested in the real estate market in the region each individual is located in as well as their view on how things are going in the market currently and even some personal and leadership tips. The following is what Marc Hernandez shared with me:
How do you see the real estate market right now? How do you see it going in the next 5 or 10 years?
We’re currently in a “sideways” market. There’s not enough inventory in the market right now. We’ve seen this shortage for over a decade. Inventory has contracted further as a result of the FOMC’s 11 rate hikes and 22-year high interest rates. The properties that are in the best condition continue to increase in value and fetch multiple offers and sell considerably over list price and those that need repair or upgrades are sitting on the market longer and need price reductions to get them under contract. I think in the next 5 to 10 years, the financial markets will already have normalized and we will see more inventory, more buyers and even stronger value gains.
For our younger readers, who may feel that buying a home is out of reach to them, what is your advice to them?
Find a way. Stop renting and paying someone else’s mortgage. If you think of it, the interest rate on renting is 100%. Find something small, such as a condo, which you can afford. Expand your search beyond the high-demand areas of the city. Get help from parents and start creating wealth now. Real estate, with its forced savings, appreciation gain and mortgage interest tax deduction, is very likely the best asset class for investment.
Since 2020, what changes have you seen in the California real estate market? Have you seen a shift of people moving out of CA (being one of the people who left, I am curious about this), has housing availability become more, or less? I know the luxury market is probably very different from regular real estate, but do you have any observations?
The market today has even less inventory than it did in 2020. The global pandemic drove people out of the cities and into areas where they could work remotely. Now, we are seeing a return to office and some demand to migrate closer to the city center. Personally, I haven’t seen many people moving out of California but I think migration data might prove otherwise.
Since you deal in the Sports & Entertainment Division of Compass, do you see more of the entertainment figures who are your clients wanting to move out of California in the past few years, or has it stayed pretty much the same?
I am not seeing that. I think the entertainment business in Los Angeles has been, and continues to be, a people magnet. There’s so much of it here in LA, the motion picture and television studios, the streaming companies, the music industry, tech and digital media, advertising … It’s a big draw. Many of my clients are coming here, both nationally and globally, for opportunities in the entertainment industry.
What does a brand new first time buyer need to know most about purchasing their first property?
As Robert Reffkin, Co-Founder and CEO of Compass, says, no one succeeds alone. They need to know that buying directly from the listing agent, unrepresented, is a process that is not in their best interest, financially. There’s much that a buy-side agent does for a buyer that is important and critical with regard to purchasing a property. A buyer should be educated on the market, the lending process, the purchase contract, offer strategy, how to win multiple offers, real estate inspections, buyer credit negotiation and a good buyer’s agent will cover all of this. Ultimately, this saves the buyer time, money and protects them from making a poor purchase decision.
What do you love most about California and the Los Angeles area in particular? Do you see yourself staying there? If you were going to move to another state or country, which one would you choose?
I love California and all of its glory. The coastline, the mountains, the deserts, the climate, the metropolitan areas, the small towns, the people and the various businesses headquartered here offer so much to its residents and visitors alike. I will most likely stay in Los Angeles but I would probably consider living in NYC for part of the year.
Do you have any management or leadership tips for our readers? How do you manage your team?
Lead with purpose, care and empathy. I believe that leadership is a process that supports from the bottom up. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so it’s important to ensure everyone is educated, guided and supported. A leader has to ensure that the team has the tools and information to meet objectives and reach success. Leadership works best when being directive, collaborative and protective, rather than autocratic.
How do you personally stay focused on your goals?
I focus on my goals by reviewing them daily. It starts with a consistent morning routine, time blocking and using the Compass platform and CRM for analyzing and driving my business. I also set intentions and manifest good things for me, my family, my business and my relationships.
You seem like you truly love what you do and you truly love life. What would be your advice to someone looking to find their passion or a job they really love? What would be your advice to someone looking to better their life and enjoy it more?
It starts with loving yourself. Know who you are and what makes you happy and then do that with energy and passion. Ask yourself what are the personal traits that make up who you are? Find a way to incorporate them into your career path. Do what you love and the money will follow.
There are a lot of people out there right now struggling. What is your secret to happiness?
I don’t have a secret, but I am most happy when I am with my family, my friends and my Compass colleagues. Studies show that having a sense of community and belonging contribute to better health and living longer. I am also very happy when I am eating with health and performance in mind and pushing myself physically at the gym and staying active. Health, mindset and a social network are all very important to me.
Tell me about what you do to stay fit.
I typically work out six days per week, for about 1 ½ to 2 hours per day. It’s non-negotiable. I eat only two meals a day, starting at 12 noon and ending at 6pm. My food intake is strictly plant-based. I take a number of supplements. And, I usually get 7 1/2 to 8 hours of sleep every day with a 9 to 5 sleep plan. I occasionally snack after dinner when I shouldn’t, though.
Tell me your number one tip for managing stress? What do you do when you get stressed out?
I sing! I take voice lessons and I have a playlist of songs that I like. So, when stressed, I will go outside for a walk, put on my AirPods, do some vocal warm ups, and then sing songs by Chris Cornell, Eddie Vedder, Lenny Kravitz and more. It definitely helps me and I hope the neighbors don’t mind.
What is luxury to you? What does it mean, in all aspects of life?
To me, luxury is an association with a high level of price, quality, rarity and extraordinariness. For example, I buy my perfume from Chanel and the line is called “Les Exclusifs.” You can only purchase these fragrances in store at Chanel boutiques, rather than through retailers. So fewer people access and purchase these products and, in my opinion, they are luxury products. In real estate, I see luxury differentiators being location, price, quality, amenities, and privacy.
Marc Hernandez certainly embodies the luxury lifestyle, but he is not averse to getting down in the dirt and rubbing a pig’s belly or saving a hurt hummingbird here and there. He serves on the Board of Directors of The Gentle Barn, where all sorts of animals are rescued and rehabilitated. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Directors of WriteGirl, a non-profit organization that promotes creativity and self-expression to empower girls. He strikes me as a person who combines energy, empathy, compassion, elegance, grace and humor into a go-getter real estate superstar persona who shows up no matter the situation.
This article was originally published on OpsLens.