Certified Realtor and Los Angeles Luxury Real Estate Expert, Estel Hilton has been following a trend known as the “war of luxury real estate builders.” Hilton explains how this is affecting the local real estate market and what it means to prospective buyers and sellers. Though possessing a name famous in the real estate business, Estel Hilton certainly was not born into a family of real estate tycoons.
This particular Hilton was born in France and immigrated to America in 2004 not speaking a word of English. Hilton recalls, “I worked as hostess at a local restaurant and spent the rest of my time going to free English classes . It was not a time during which I could afford any elaborate education at all.”
As her English slowly improved and her thirst for bigger and better things in life grew, Hilton remembered her childhood dream. “I always loved homes and architecture. When I was a child, I used to ask my mom to take me to see open houses on Sundays.” She adds excitedly, “I was like in a candy store! I just loved going to see beautiful homes and I found each home to be a dream in itself.”
While still working as a hostess she decided that life was too short and decided to go for her real estate license. Friends laughed at her, saying she would never pass the test with her less-than-perfect English, but never one to back down from a competition, Hilton proved them all wrong. In 2007 she passed all of her tests and became a certified Realtor.
With childhood dreams still fresh in her mind, it was no surprise that Hilton would be attracted to the luxury real estate market in LA. Within only 7 short years Hilton has become one of the leading and most successful professionals working in her hyper-competitive market. Hilton credits her proactive nature combined with a willingness to go the extra mile as critical to her success, “If I have a buyer that wants a certain type of property in a specific area, I will not just wait that a property will come out on the market.” She continues, “I will check all the records that are available and I’ll even go knock on doors of matching properties and ask owners myself if we can make a deal happen.”
Around 2008 a trend began in Los Angeles that continues through to today. Wealthy investors and builders ventured into developing new and wildly luxurious homes. Existing properties were demolished and replaced by these incredible mansions. Hilton explains, “The criteria for such properties was pretty specific. Incredible views (A+ views as we call them in the industry) where you should feel like you’re in a helicopter over the city with city views from left to right and no obstructions.” Hilton goes on, ” High ceiling, floor to ceiling pocket cantilever windows to give an in/out California style living, must have separate his and hers master bathroom, open kitchen with built in luxury appliances and of course, to take advantage of the most sought-after views an infinity pool overlooking the city of Angels. Similar to a King overseeing his kingdom from the top of his throne!”
When one of these first luxury mansions sold for a ridiculous amount over the asking price, investors saw a real opportunity before them and began flooding the market with new, over-the-top projects. Features such as panic rooms, electric windows, even a plastic surgery room for the lady of the house began appearing. According to Hilton, “It is getting a little crazy now. There is so much competition that builders are sending in their friends and partners into competitive properties with video cameras to report back their findings. As realtors, many of us are hesitant to show any of these homes before completion.” She quickly adds, “And only with proof of funds first.”
When asked if this war is helping or hurting the average luxury home buyer or seller, Hilton replied, “Up until now, this situation as driven the prices up so it is safe to say that it is more advantageous to the sellers.” And after a short pause, “However, I always say that properties are worth what the buyer is willing to pay for them.”
It is certainly an interesting situation and one luxury consumers in and around Los Angeles should keep their eye on. Anyone wishing to learn more about Estel Hilton or her services may call her directly at (310) 907-4900 or visit her website at: http://www.EstelEstates.com. She also has a Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/EstelEstatesInternational.