JF1583: From Successful Producer To Successful Real Estate Investor & Agent with Peter Lorimer
Peter got into the real estate industry around 2005 and hasn’t looked back. He has a way of finding the hot spots and upcoming hot-spots in neighborhoods and capitalizing, as well as helping his clients capitalize on the upswing. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!
Best Ever Tweet:
Peter Lorimer Real Estate Background:
- Real estate agent for 13+ years
- Started his career as Rookie Agent Of The Year with Keller Williams
- In 2009, was the #1 Keller Williams agent in the entire LA region
- Based in LA
- Say hi to him at https://www.plgestates.com/
- Best Ever Book: The Virgin Way
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Theo Hicks: Hello, Best Ever listeners, and welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m your host today, Theo Hicks, and today I am speaking with Peter Lorimer. How are you doing today?
Peter Lorimer: Greetings! I am doing very well, Theo. Never better, in fact.
Theo Hicks: That’s great to hear, and we appreciate you joining us on the show today. I’m looking forward to our conversation. A little bit about Peter before we get started – he has been a real estate agent for over 13 years. He started off his career as the Rookie Agent of the Year with Keller Williams, and he was also named the number one Keller Williams agent in the entire Los Angeles region in 2009. He is currently based out of L.A. and you can say hi to him at PeterLorimer.com.
Peter, before we dive into the conversation, can you tell us a little bit more about your background and what you’re focused on now?
Peter Lorimer: Sure. This is always an interesting question. My background was not real estate at all. You can probably hear by my very strong British accent that I was brought over to the United States in about 1993. I was in fact a record producer, doing all of the EDM, house music, ooch-ooch-ooch stuff… And I had no intentions of getting into real estate at all. My background – I became a record producer at 16 years old, and for the first 15-16 years of my life I was a creative.
Then I’ve always been a very techy guy and I’ve always followed trends. The music that I did was computer-based, so I’ve always had a very pointed ability to be able to understand technology, and I really have the dance music industry to thank for trend-spotting, because — I don’t wanna go too down in the weeds with this, but when you are a DJ, which I was, DJs have to know what’s gonna move the floor. Also, if you’re an electronic music producer, you need to know what’s gonna move the floor a year from now.
Those muscles, which I thought would never help me in real estate, turned out to be the best asset I could have ever hoped for. When I joined the industry – I think it was around 2005 – I was expecting to find other people that were obsessed with technology like me, and I didn’t find them. So my background in real estate has been very trend-driven, very social media-driven from its very inception; very kind of putting all my eggs in one basket as far as I’m an absolute believer in all things digital, and an absolute non-believer in all things paper, which 13,5 years ago made me seem like I was a mad man from the Moon… But now it seems that the industry is pivoting much more towards my ethos of how to attract business.
Theo Hicks: So how did you get into real estate as an agent then?
Peter Lorimer: Again, being British, I was living in Los Angeles, and my mother used to live in England; I’d lived in London for 8 years of my life. I’m not from London, I’m from a town called Leeds, but I lived in London for about 8 years and I was looking into buying property there. My brother lives in Sydney, Australia, and I remember him buying property, and I almost bought a place in New York. So I remember looking at the world stage of property and thinking that Los Angeles was terribly undervalued.
I remember thinking — at one point it was approximately half what it was in New York. I was obsessed with the birth of the internet; I figured that businesses and people would move to California, as the ability to run a business developed into essentially your laptop or your cell phone… So I bet on that thesis and I started buying property in the Los Angeles area, in areas that I believed were a really good buy… That weren’t necessarily the most popular areas.
There was an area that I first bought in called North Hollywood, which was a pretty rundown area in 2000, which is when I bought my first place there, approximately… And I bought it because it was 11 minutes with no traffic from Sunset Strip. Everybody told me I was mad, and I was bonkers… And I did very well on that property.
Then a very interesting thing happened – I was very active in the creative community of Los Angeles, from being in the music business for so long. My music business pals started saying “Hey, Pete, you kind of flip homes. You seem to be doing well. Can we get in on the action? Can you maybe represent us?” And I left the music industry – this was pre-Napster; I think it was pre-Napster – because I saw that it was about to go through this absolute decimation through pirating… And I left the music business with over 30 number ones in the Billboard club charts under my belt. I’d had several massive records that year; I had a record on a label called [unintelligible [00:07:16].14] that I believe was number one in 12 countries… And I retired.
All my pals were saying, “What are you doing?” I took my winnings from the music industry and I started plowing that into property. Then I began to attract my tribe.
I had people approaching me saying “Hey, you seem to know about property. You know what you’re doing. Can you help us?” I didn’t have a license, so then I got my license, and I then managed to garner this enormous music business based primarily on clientele in Los Angeles. The rest is kind of history.
Theo Hicks: So your first year you were the Rookie of the Year… Obviously, there are thousands of people who become real estate agents of the year. What would you say separated you from all of the other new agents who did not win Rookie of the Year?
Peter Lorimer: Good question. Again, I owe a lot to my former career. In the music business, I was a songwriter that was signed to EMI Publishing… And in the music business the work ethic is so unbelievably grinding; you can work on a project for six months, you can put your heart and soul and every living breath you have into it, and it can sometimes never see the light of day. Having that work ethic of knowing that you have to work triple, double, quadruple as hard as everyone else in the music business to make a dent, I traversed that ethos into my real estate career… And the truth of the matter is I think I out-worked everyone.
The cornerstone of why I believe we were successful was due to the fact that I like to take risks with social media, I liked to not do the normal kind of generic nametag wearing vanilla imagery of real estate. I absolutely made myself the brand, and I kind of had this very rock and roll flavor about me. My lovely wife soon joined me thereafter; we’ve kind of been essentially a power couple ever since… But we most certainly have always danced to the beat of our own drum.
We look for the white space, we look for opportunity where not many people are… Because it’s an incredibly saturated market. So if I’m going up against thousands and thousands of other agents, how do I make myself look different? …and that’s what we set out to do, and I believe — the phrase I like to use is this, “If you don’t blend in, you stand out”, and I made a point of making us stand out.
Theo Hicks: Let’s talk about social media strategy. I can see in the background of your video that you’ve got a digital strategies billboard behind you… What types of social media strategies do you implement?
Peter Lorimer: It evolves, it changes. It changes pretty much like the dance floors used to change every six months; social media changes every six months… So I make a point of looking at trends. I don’t copy or follow trends, but I’m inspired. I see what other people are doing who I admire, and I go “Okay, it’s changing here, it’s changing there”, but I think one of the most important decisions I made was to do social media — I’m gonna give you an example, if you will permit me.
Again, referring back to the music business, I was at a point in my music career where I’d been in it a long time; I was kind of looking to get out, and I’d been kind of beaten up with a few projects that I’d written and nothing happened… And I found myself at times writing songs or producing records for the record company, as opposed to for myself. I thought, “Well, if I do it in this certain style, the record label are gonna like it, and I’ll probably get hired”, and blah-blah-blah… So I reached a crossroads where I said to myself, “Okay, the next project I’m gonna do, I’m gonna do it for me, and I really don’t give a toss if nobody likes it but me. I’m making it only for me. If it sells, great; if it doesn’t sell, I don’t care.” Ironically, that turned out to be one of the biggest hits that I ever had… So when I joined the real estate industry, I made a point of when doing social media I never pandered to anyone; I never put out what I thought they might want to see. Maybe I did — obviously, it’s experimentation; some of it was successful, some of it failed… But the stuff that really resonated with me was truly organic and authentic and real, and exactly the same as the Peter that you would meet in the street.
I’m not slamming agents here, but all too often I see agents playing it really safe, and not wanting to upset the apple cart… And I feel that that is really signing your own death warrant, because the real estate world has absolutely reset. We are watching the end of an era and the birth of a new one. It’s been a slow transition over the past few years. I spoke at a conference in Detroit last week, and that’s a real good kind of benchmark; it’s a litmus test for where the industry is, because it’s in the middle of the country, it’s good, hardworking agents who aren’t necessarily in New York, or L.A. or Miami, and even the senior agents, the younger agents, everybody in the room now when I was talking about social media and Instagram and the power and the reach of this phenomenon – every head was nodding… And I believe – and I’ll go on record and say this – if you are not crafting your own digital identity, you’re dead. If you’re leaving it up to your company to craft your digital identity, you’re dead. If you are having someone in the office do all your social media, you’re dead. It’s a question of time, and I think your business will contract severely within the next 1-3 years.
Theo Hicks: Have you worked with investors at all as an agent?
Peter Lorimer: Developers? Yeah.
Theo Hicks: Okay. Because a common theme amongst investors is trying to look for that investor-friendly agent, and of course in this industry there’s a back-and-forth, so the agent gives you something, but you also have to give them something in returns, so… I’m asking the money question now, which is what’s your best real estate investing advice ever, but I want you to provide that advice to that person who’s looking for an investor-friendly agent, and what they should do to position themselves to actually win that agent’s business?
Peter Lorimer: That’s a great question. I’m gonna answer it, obviously, as an agent; how should an agent try and win investor business? This is a very, very murky, dark, complex question, because unfortunately the nature of the beast with developers is they tend to bounce around with multiple agents. So if you want to work with developers, because if you work with a developer, very often if you find them the deal, you get to list it on the back-end, which is great. But. Be aware that exclusivity when working with developers is a rarity. It’s not impossible, but it’s a rarity. When it comes to development in Los Angeles, it’s high stakes, big commissions, but also intense competition.
I was one of the lucky few that managed to work with a lot of developers – a few developers – who I really liked, and I had their loyalty, and I still have the loyalty of some of them today. I have made the decision as an agent to not work with every developer that comes along, because I really value my time; and I get that a developer doesn’t want to just be exclusive… However, if you can provide value to a developer – if you have an investor that’s looking for multifamilies, and you can consistently provide them with great properties that they can buy, I always say this – nobody is gonna give you loyalty right off the bat; if you’re an agent that’s looking to get loyalty from this sector of real estate, you’ve got to deliver probably one, two, maybe even three deals. But on the third deal, or on the second deal – or even on the first deal – I would then say to that investor, “Hey, I think I’ve proved myself. I’d really like to get some exclusivity from you, if that’s possible.” And it’s all about the value-add.
There’s a phrase that I use, which is this – a lot of our industry are MLS jockeys, right? They’re not particularly proactive; the listings come in, they kind of forward them on, but a lot of the time that’s where it begins and ends. When an agent becomes really successful with developers is when they’re going the extra mile. They’re using websites such as PropertyRadar. PropertyRadar is unbelievably brilliant if you are looking to find off-market deals. It’s worth the investment, I think it’s like $60/month, but you get to categorize zip codes by how much people owe on their homes, how much equity they have, when they last refi-ed, when they last bought, and it allows you to really then zone in on properties that are not on the market, that are most likely to sell, and to a developer, that is gold.
Theo Hicks: That’s really, really good advice. Peter, are you ready for the Best Ever Lightning Round?
Peter Lorimer: Yes, and you want quick answers on this, right?
Theo Hicks: Yeah, lightning quick answers.
Peter Lorimer: [laughs] Not my normal [unintelligible [00:16:37].22] on and on and on…
Theo Hicks: Alright. First, a quick word from our sponsor.
Theo Hicks: Alright, what’s the best ever book that you’ve recently read?
Peter Lorimer: Richard Branson’s autobiography, The Virgin Way.
Theo Hicks: This one’s specific to you – best ever EDM artist that’s not Peter Lorimer?
Peter Lorimer: [laughs] I love that question! Well, it has to be a personal friend of mine… His name is Sasha. I think he’s a god.
Theo Hicks: I’ll have to check him out. Best ever deal that wasn’t your first deal or your last deal?
Peter Lorimer: That’s a great question! Best ever deal that wasn’t my first or my last deal… I guess, on a selfish note, it would be doing the deal that the Calvin Klein house was built on; I was part of that developer deal, which was really freakin’ awesome.
And then the other one would be when I had a buyer walk into their first house twice. They’d worked with me and bought two houses, and they bought the first one they saw twice.
Theo Hicks: Nice. What is the biggest mistake you’ve made so far in your real estate career?
Peter Lorimer: Not listening to my inner voice. I’ll be brief, because I know it’s lightning – when I was at Keller Williams, which was great, I shunned out my own thoughts and my own identity to try and adapt. That was the biggest mistake I ever made. Follow your gut, follow your intuition.
Theo Hicks: What’s the best ever way you like to give back?
Peter Lorimer: Again, that’s a big question… The best way I like to give – I like to give everything away. I believe that knowledge is borrowed, and never owned, which is why I like to jump in front of the camera and give it all away. The best way for me to give back is to be generous in all my affairs. Not just with real estate, but when I’m standing in line at the supermarket, when I’m in traffic and somebody wants to cut in. This is gonna sound schmaltzy, but I believe this – every single day I don’t look at what I can extract, I look at what I can put in, and then the rest is up to Mother Universe.
Theo Hicks: And then lastly, what’s the best ever place people can reach you?
Peter Lorimer: The best place to reach me I would say would be probably through my Instagram, and on my cell phone, and I’ll give my cell phone – it’s 310 666 PETE. That’s my real number.
Theo Hicks: Well, Peter, I really appreciate the conversation today and learning about your journey from an EDM record producer to a real estate agent extraordinaire. Just to quickly summarize what you’ve talked about – you attribute your ability to become the Rookie of the Year to your former career as a music producer, and the strong work ethic that you obtained from that. You applied that to real estate, and essentially you just out-worked everyone else… As well as your ability to take lots of risks with your social media strategy. More specifically for your social media strategy, you mentioned how it evolves every six months or so, so make sure you’re staying on top on the newest trends.
You said that you will always look at what people are doing for inspiration, but not to copy them exactly… And you said that the most important thing about your social media strategy is being yourself, being authentic, organic and real, as opposed to pandering or doing what you think other people want. You also said that it is very, very important for you to craft your digital identity yourself and not have someone else do it for you.
Then you gave your best ever advice for real estate agents who want to work with investors, and you said that — this is kind of specific to L.A, but I’m sure it applies everywhere… That investors are not going to be exclusive with you until you’ve proven your ability to add value. So bring them deals and don’t expect or even ask for exclusivity until you’ve done at least one deal, but most likely two or three deals… And you’ve provided a great resource that they could use to find deals , which is that PropertyRadar website.
Peter, I really appreciate it, again. Have a best ever day, and we’ll talk to you soon.
Peter Lorimer: My pleasure, thank you so much for having me.