Paul Salazar has a knack for finding expired or canceled listings and getting them not just sold but sold quickly. “I took a house that was on the market for over 10 years on and off, and I sold it in three months. That’s a big win, and that also [got] my client to their next house.”
Salazar found his niche with these underdog properties. The secret, he shared, is communication. “It’s really to educate the seller on what they should do to get the house ready. Because it’s up to them to help out. I give them advice on what they should do, and it’s up to them to say yes or no. It’s a fun process, it’s a lot of work, but I enjoy doing it.”
One such property is Billie Holiday’s former home. “[The seller] had it on the market before. They couldn’t sell it. They took it off [and] I came in as a new agent and revamped the marketing on it. … I talked to the sellers and said ‘Hey, let’s reduce the price to get some action on the property.’” His plan worked like a dream. “We got — within 24 hours — two bids and were able to negotiate a $3.4 million sale, just $100,000 less than what we had it listed for before. That was a great deal.”
Perhaps Salazar’s affinity for canceled properties comes from experiencing firsthand what it’s like to be an underdog. The youngest of four, Salazar’s competitive spirit was born early as he carved a place for himself. He went on to earn a spot on an NCAA-level soccer team in college, which further instilled his can-do attitude. Salazar cut his teeth as a real estate agent working with his mother in the Rancho Cucamonga, California, area, but the big city was calling his name. “My mom was the one who really pushed me. She always said ‘Go sell high-end real estate. Go out there and get something special.'”
So, he made the move to Los Angeles. “I think one of the things I love about L.A. is that there are people from all over the world here and people that are successful.” Los Angeles’ go-get-it culture fuels Salazar. “It drives me, makes me more competitive. I love being surrounded by people who are doing big things.“ There was only one agency in the area that Salazar considered joining. “Hilton & Hyland was ‘the’ brokerage. It was the one that sold the best and highest-priced properties.” Now, Salazar imparts the knowledge he’s gained to his team. “I love this company, obviously, and now I’m growing my own team.”
In a sea of Realtors in the luxury space, being an underdog at some point in your career is inevitable. “If you’re getting into the luxury space in L.A. or New York, it’s really tough because everybody wants a piece of the pie. So, you really have to have a good plan and a good strategy―you have to stick to it.” The key, Salazar says, is to stand out. “If you don’t differentiate yourself, it’s so hard to set yourself apart. There are just so many agents. So, you just have to be really good at what you do.”
Salazar works hard, yes, but he plays hard too. “I’m a big traveler and I love the outdoors. I just took a trip to Nepal. I love culture, I love food, I just love life … I like anything that has to do with adventure.”
The adventure he always comes back to is selling luxury real estate in one of the most competitive markets in the world. His newest listing, 513 Hillgreen Drive, is in a quiet pocket of Beverly Hills. It’s listed for slightly less than $4.4 million. “There’s always something new that I’m learning from every single listing and every transaction. It’s one of my favorite things about this business,” Salazar adds.