Q&A: L.A.’s Luxury Market with Peter Lorimer and John Campbell of PLG Estates

Peter Lorimer and John Campbell from PLG Estates are real estate pros who are completely tuned into LA’s luxury market. We heard from them about what it’s like to work at PLG, their key to success, and more!

I am sitting here today with Peter Lorimer and John Campbell who are both real estate agents with PLG Estates, in the glorious City of Angels. However, both of you are originally from the UK. How did you guys end up in California?

John Campbell: I moved here because I, in a previous incarnation, I was an actor, and it just seemed the natural choice. I’d become a big fish in a small pond back in England. So I came to Hollywood to see the dream all the way through, which led me to the wonderful world of real estate, which was always a second passion and my real job on the side.

Peter Lorimer: I was a successful record producer back in Britain, and I too was lured by the bright lights of Hollywood. I came over here in 1993 and continued a very successful career in music which culminated in over 30 number ones on the Billboard Club Charts, 25 number ones on the Music Week Club Charts, and then I retired and got into real estate, which has been absolutely, monumentally good to me. And the birth of PLG came after I was the number one Keller Williams agent in LA. Now I get to work with fabulous, wonderful creatives like JC here every day.

Wow, so you both began your careers as entertainers. What then drew you to real estate?

JC: I did my first transaction when I was 21 years old, which is 30 years ago. By default, I bought a house for my aging parents. But the house did pretty well over the next few years and as a young lad it made me realize, for the first time, you could make passive income from real estate. That experience was what first drew me to it, and it’s been very good to me ever since.

PL: The truth of the matter is, I was in the music business for a long time, and knew that the music business was going to change irreversibly around the turn of the century. So I wanted to get into something new. I’d been in music since I was 16 years old. And just really by chance I realized that my mum’s house was a lot more than homes in LA, and my brother’s house in Australia was a lot more than homes in LA. So I thought, shit, I’m just going to invest everything in LA because I think it’s going to take off – due largely to the internet and people moving to LA as businesses were becoming more global. That was kind of the best thing I ever did. It was the best brain wave I ever had.

What keeps you engaged and excited about the real estate market?

JC: I like how it’s always fluctuating. So we have just closed out 2019 and people had said there’s going to be uncertainty. Will house prices keep going up? Will there be a drop? I personally think LA real estate is reasonably bulletproof. We predicted a strong market through to the end of the year, through to next year, and that has been the case. Even if there had been a drop and the market had changed then there’s money to be made by smart investors on all sides of it. Whether it’s up, down, or in the middle, there are things to be done. So that’s what I like about it. It’s continually moving, but if you move, if you pivot, and duck and dive with the punches, you can still do a smart investment and make money for your clients. And that excites me.

PL: I definitely agree. What excites me and keeps me engaged in the market is the fact that it’s always changing. It’s a constantly evolving machine where every day is different. It keeps me on my toes and I am intrigued with the variety of real estate. Every single day is such a different smorgasbord of loveliness which keeps me perky.

What is it like to work at PLG - an edgier more technology forward and content driven group?

JC: We are the pirate ship. We’re a mixed bag, a very mixed bag. But constant through all of it is a lot creatives coming together to a very supportive environment. I enjoy coming to work every day. We have a bunch of offices all over LA and I love that because I’m all over the place. But there’s always an office I can get to. But it’s all about support which starts at the top. Genuinely, if I’ve got an issue or a problem I may ask 10 partners for advice and vice versa – that support is always there. I really haven’t seen that anywhere else. And I do believe we’re on the cutting edge of technology. We beta test a lot of the new technology for the market, and I like being that one step ahead. I could go on, but I’ll pass it to you.

PL: Adding to that sentiment, rather than following footsteps, we like to leave them. We look around corners to see where the market is going to be, not just where it is. We utilize technology, skill set, and data to service our clients above and beyond the way regular real estate agents service clients. It isn’t just about technology, it’s about gut feeling and knowing whether a good idea is sound and in the best interest of your clients. PLG is also about blending customer service perfectly with technology but not relying solely upon it. At the end of the day, our clients want to look us in the eyes and be confident in the decisions we’re making. So it’s a kind of a blend of all of the above, but the guiding star here, the North Star of everything is: what is absolutely the best interest for the client? That is the North Star of every decision we make. Then we support it through skill set, technology, and the ability to predict where the market is going, not just where it is right now.

You both create a lot of content whether it's Youtube, Instagram, or podcasts. Why do you believe it’s so important to create your own content and stay on top of social media?

PL: So I think the real estate industry has changed so dramatically over the past decade – all industries have. But the great differentiator in an industry such as real estate and other giant industries like banking and insurance, is that there is a lot of, dare I day, vanillization where everybody look and feels the same. Whereas having a powerful and unique and identifiable digital footprint makes you stand out from the crowd. So not only is it important for us as real estate agents, it’s important for the listings that we represent. With marketing in Los Angeles, everybody looks the same. Everybody looks and feels the same. So if you can create digital platforms for yourself as an agent and your clients properties that look and feel a little bit different. Perhaps you differentiate yourself by doing a vlog, or show property that’s getting staged, or maybe it’s doing a documentary of a current build. This might look like taking the time to explain why certain colors have been chosen in a room to enhance the natural light rather than just kind of your dog and pony boring old stuff that everybody does. So we train ourselves to stay on top of digital trends and to create new ones.

JC: Brilliant. And just as a little add-on to that: we have a lot of clients within the gated community environment and we just had that exact conversation with one of them. Out value, how we differentiated from everybody else, is that the agents working the same marketing plans, postcards, ads in the paper, etc.is also digitally marketing with social media, email blasts, all featured above the aforementioned digital vlogs, videos, etc. And that’s how we stand out from the crowd. And that is why we’re doing so well in the community, I believe.

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