Madeleine Perez is a poised and tenacious real estate professional, who provides the highest level of service to each client. She acts with honesty and integrity, making sure her clients are fully supported and informed when buying or selling a home.
Born and raised in New York City, Madeleine was educated at Wesleyan University and Columbia University’s School of Journalism.
Perez is an award-winning producer for ABC News, covering politics, business, and real estate. Later, she became a freelance editor for Los Angeles magazine.
As a journalist, Madeleine learned valuable skills that she would apply to her real estate career: gaining people’s trust and respect, excelling in high-pressure situations, and reacting with speed, composure, and precision.
Madeleine combines her expertise of real estate trends and passion for exploring the very best in Los Angeles to give her clients an educated and well-rounded viewpoint, and an unmatched caliber of market knowledge.
Her personalised approach – asking poignant questions, listening to individual needs, and delivering comprehensive advice – has earned her a stellar reputation in the business.
In an exclusive interview with Glamour South Africa, the real estate professional says that her biggest regret in life was not starting sooner in her current role.
Where did your journey and ultimately someone who runs her own business begin?
I always had a love for real estate but I didn’t really pursue it until four years ago when I took a leap of faith and got my real estate license. I saw how the market in LA was booming at a pace unlike anywhere else in the country, and wanted to seize on that opportunity. It was a total career change for me and my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. I’ve always been very self-motivated so the idea of running my own business seemed like a perfect fit.
In your career, what have you picked up as valuable weapon/best practices?
Be yourself. I'm such a fast-talking New Yorker and in the beginning I tried to temper it for fear that I wasn't LA enough. I didn’t want to scare off clients and that was a mistake. Now I know that the honesty and integrity that have served me so well in life are actually a huge plus for my clients and I’ve gotten many referrals just from the reputation I’ve built on those qualities.
Also, early on I took things too personally. Now I always remember that this is about my clients above all else. They’re about to make the biggest purchase of their lives, or maybe sell the home they raised their kids in – so it’s deeply personal for them.
I make sure I know who the priority is and that has always kept me on the right track. Lastly, if someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. I had a few deals where there were red flags early on that I ignored. Looking back, I should have trusted myself and my instincts and walked away at the start.
What sparked the passion and vision?
I think I touched on this earlier but I’ve had a love of real estate my entire life. I remember waiting for the Sunday New York Times as a kid so I could go through the real estate section. I know, kind of strange. But that interest never really left me and my love of art and architecture have also fuelled my passion as they are all connected.
5 tips for people who would want to follow in your footsteps, what are the pros and cons of the industry?
Definitely seek out mentors and meet with people who've had success in real estate and get their advice. Ask to shadow them to get an honest feel for the business.
People are always willing to talk and help if you let them, and it can be a great insight into if this is something you truly want to do.
Make a business plan, set goals, time block and hold yourself accountable. Interview different agencies before selecting one because they are vastly different.
Being at the agency that’s the right fit can make all the difference. And network - don't let ego stand in the way of getting those first few clients. Those are the hardest ones to get and will almost always come from friends and family/your sphere of influence.
There are so many pros: you’re running your own show. You can set the tone and have total control of your success. It can be so rewarding to find someone their dream home or sell a clients current house and see them make a profit they can use to live off of for years.
Having said that, this business is not for everyone. It’s a lot of working weekends, late nights, and very last minute pivots. The first year is also typically not very profitable - it’s a training year for many agents. You have to be someone who can succeed in that environment or it won’t work.
Give us three things that most people would likely not have known about you?
Well I’m an open book, but I’d have to say some people might be surprised to know I was a pretty serious field hockey player in high school and college.
I also grew up at an interesting time in New York City history - so I was going to clubs like Palladium and Limelight from a really young age.
Spending time in that club scene was really eye opening and informed so much of my life after. I guess the last thing is that I’m an artist. I haven’t had much time for it, but my love of drawing and painting and basically all visual art forms is always present.
What is your pick me up motto when you are faced with challenges?
I’ve had many challenging moments in my career, and my motto has always been to keep moving. Learn from it, but don’t let it paralyze you. You can’t win if you quit.
How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected your business and how have you managed to stay afloat?
Well Covid has had a huge impact on real estate and it’s changed the way we function.
Logistically there is much more paperwork, prep and proper cleaning protocols, no more open houses (private showings only), and stricter lender guidelines to name a few.
I’ve managed to succeed during this time in large part because of my reputation and ability to constantly adjust to ever-changing conditions.
I’ve gotten a lot of referral and repeat clients during this time, and I’ve also been able to lean on my huge list of vetted vendors who have done a great job.
From home inspectors to mortgage lenders, I’ve spent years cultivating the best contacts and being able to draw from that now has made an enormous difference.
Do you have any advice for people who are going through the most because of the pandemic which has affected everyone across the globe?
Well I don’t have any brilliant words of wisdom as I think we are all managing through this crazy time together. But I think it’s important to take time for ourselves when we can - even if it’s just a short morning walk - and remember this WILL pass.
How did you keep yourself mentally stable during this unpredictable period?
I have a great support network. My family, my friends, my co-workers: we really all have each others backs and do regular check ins. It can be overwhelming but then I look at my eight year old son who is handling this with such resilience and grace and I know we as adults can do the same.
What do you love most about your work?
The best part of my job is helping someone find their dream home and that moment when I hand over their keys. There is no better feeling.
When I am working on a deal I speak to/see my clients multiple times a day and you end of having a close bond. I’ve had people tell me I changed their lives forever and really what more can you ask for?
What does the future of realtors - let’s say in the next 5 years - look like?
The future is all technology based. I work for an agency that recognized that need very early on and I’ve been lucky to be a part of it from the onset.
It’s about digital marketing, virtual and online tools and data and other elements that allow me to do my job on a higher level than most. It takes that personal relationship to an absolute peak.
What’s been the most revealing thing about the clients you’ve assisted, and how have you responded? Please give examples.
The most revealing thing is that clients always need a guide .... so often they come to me with a clear vision of what they want but it ends up shifting after lots of discussions and questions.
For example, I had clients who were determined to live in Pasadena but every time we went to look at homes, it was never the right fit.
After a long talk about needs (commute, space, etc) I convinced them to look at a totally different part of LA they never considered. Within a week we were in escrow on a great place in North Hollywood and they love it.
What would you say are the biggest challenges in your field right now?
Well in Los Angeles specifically, we have a massive housing shortage. There is so little inventory on the market that virtually every listing is going into multiple offers quickly. It’s hard on buyers and so it takes a really savvy agent to work around that. Our market unlike others in the country has stayed very strong.
You were a journalist before moving into your current business, so with the ongoing pandemic, the journalism fraternity has been severely affected, what lessons do you think the industry should learn?
I think it’s less about what the industry should learn and more about what the public should. It’s important to recognise a real news organisation and inform ourselves about actual facts. Don’t just read a headline and run - ask who wrote it, who is the source, and what is the piece actually saying? I do think journalism should steer away from click bait nonsense and also properly source their reporting. But most real reputable places are still doing that.
Last but not least, who is your biggest inspiration and why?
There are so many, but my biggest personal inspiration was my grandmother. She made it through the depression and my grandfather being shot in WW II, and also losing her parents tragically in a fire. But she always picked herself back up and came back even stronger.
She was an opinionated woman back when women were seen and not heard. She was ahead of her time in many ways. She taught me how to be resilient and reinvent yourself when needed, but she also taught me the importance of family and choosing your friends wisely.