Who doesn’t love high end real estate? You may know Heather Bilyeu as the glamorous real estate agent and star of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing LA.
The show features a group of Californian real estate agents selling some of the world’s most elite houses for big money.
Anyone who has watched the show knows that it offers you a taste of what it’s like to battle for the best properties in the most beautiful and coolest areas of Los Angeles. Let’s just say Malibu, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Hollywood and Los Feliz aren’t too horrible of a playground for high end Real Estate agent Heather Bilyeu, who’s been taking over the market in a town full of hungry wolves.
With the looks and style of a Hollywood actress & the business mind of a New Yorker, the sky is the limit when it comes to this reality TV star’s career opportunities. Interestingly, fellow agent Josh Altman is not only her co-star on the show, but her fiancee!
Toronto Paradise caught up with Heather to discuss her current projects, balancing love and work and how she has reached the top in the land of stars!
See the full interview below:
1. You’re originally Las Vegas in the Nevada desert, which is only a few hours drive away from your current home in LA. Tell us how you got started in real estate, and how you transitioned into the high end California market?
I’m born and raised in Vegas…yes, one of the few =) When I was in high school, I loved to visit all the new home tracts with my mom on the weekends. I loved to see how real estate was evolving and what was the new hot trend in decor. Once I graduated high school, I got my real estate license and jumped in. It was 2003/2004when the market was it’s craziest, with houses selling sight unseen, over asking by $20-50k (note…these houses were only $180k-350k so those are huge numbers). It was great while it lasted but then the market tanked and I had to take on a 2nd and 3rd job to float myself. I was miserable. I decided that it wasn’t a good time to make a career change BUT I could make a move to where houses are more expensive meaning my commissions were going to be bigger and that is how I ended up in LA.
I started assisting a top broker in Beverly Hills who had been in the business for 25+ years. She pulled in minimum a million a year and dealt with Fortune 500 clientele. She was tough, like Devil Wears Prada tough, but I learned a lot from her. Selling homes in California vs Nevada is like apples to oranges. I was able to learn on her dime and network with all the top brokers. In 2012 I decided to leave my assisting job and start selling again, the market had improved, I had a good foundation of the real estate game here and most importantly I had my own network of clients to work.
2. Real estate comes with it’s perks, but what are some of your favourite aspects of the business?
I love interior design and architecture, that’s what got me interested in the first place.
3. Every day you do real estate in sunny Los Angeles, but if you were to choose another city/market to work in, where would it be and why?
If I were to sell any where else, I would sell in the city of love, Paris. I fell in love with Paris when I was there. The architecture is gorgeous there and I’m really into the old flats with a modern interior.
4. What’s the most fun part about being on Million Dollar Listing LA?
The best part of Million Dollar Listing LA would be filming with my fiance…I know cheesey! haha. It’s nice that we get to share this experience together and have our story documented to show our future children and our grandchildren.
5. From watching the show, you and Josh Altman make the perfect dream team! For any couples out there working together, what would you say is the best way to keep a healthy life/work balance?
Thank you! Josh and I work great together, we are great compliments to each other but we are still figuring out that perfect personal/business balance! We recently started sitting down every Sunday and picking one day/night to block out to hang out together, whether that’s having dinner on a Monday night or blocking out a Sunday morning to hike together and have breakfast, we commit to carving out a couple hours or even an hour that we can fully commit to one another. Anything extra during the week is a bonus and it makes that ‘special’ time together even better then.
6. Do you feel that being in a relationship or surrounding yourself with people of the same passion pushes you to reach new levels and set new goals constantly?
I 100% think that surrounding yourself with individuals who are successful pushes you only to do better and become better, whether that is with your business, your health and fitness, your spirituality, etc. I only surround myself with people I admire for who they are, what they believe in what they want to achieve. Energy is contagious. And I only want to be around people who want me to be the best me and visa versa.
7. Although you’re surrounded by celebrities in Hollywood and it’s considered a normal part of life. Is there ever an occasion where you do actually get star struck at some events or with certain clients?
Even though we work with celebrities on a consistent basis and I pass them on the street daily, I still get a little star struck, if I didn’t I think I might be a little worried about my reality. It’s fun and exciting. I still call my mom and grandma and say, “You’ll never guess who I just saw.” They always gets a kick out of it.
8. We know you deal with a lot of properties in the exclusive area of coastal Malibu, but if you could own any property in any area in California, where would it be and why?
My dream neighborhood is Trousdale Estates which is located in Beverly Hills. It’s a gorgeous area in the hills with wide streets, large flat lots, beautiful views and close to everything. I picture building a single story East Coast Traditional or Santa Barbra Spanish with a beautiful indoor/outdoor entertaining space all overlooking the city.
9. We all know in that often when people sell in Hollywood, it’s due to work commitments, divorces,or general upscaling. Obviously, as an agent you become quite involved with the background of your clients. Does selling ever become a bit of an emotional experience for the agent as well as the client upon closing a deal?
I become very close with my clients. In order to find there dream home, I have to get to know them, their family and their lifestyle. We spend hours together and speak almost everyday. I end up knowing everything about my clients which makes it a very personal connection. I’ve actually cried when a client hasn’t gotten a home they offered on that they were emotionally invested in. I’m part of a huge chapter in their lifes and am 100% invested in making it a great experience.
10. We all know that your fashion sense is on point. For any girls that watch Million Dollar Listing LA, what are your top 3 fashion trends for Summer?
Trending this summer is anything with fringe, bright whites paired with camel and gladiator sandals, flats or heels, all the way up the calf…hot!
11. If you weren’t a real estate agent, what would you be?
If real estate didn’t work out, I would be in fashion in some way! Maybe owning my own boutique, being a buyer for a store or possibly even designing.
12. What’s the best piece of advice from a fellow real estate industry insider you’ve been given?
Be classy and ethical at all times, you only have one reputation because if this deal doesn’t work your next deal is just around the corner…
13. What can we expect from you over the next year?
2015 is going to be a good year! I’m getting into the investor and development side of real estate for myself and I’m making time to travel more in the US and Internationally this year.
14. What is Paradise for Heather?
Paradise is in the sun on a beach with my 3 dogs, my fiance and no phone =)
To keep up to date with Heather, follow her on Twitter & Instagram! Her website can be found at heatherbilyeu.com
All images are from Heather’s Facebook & Instagram.
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