AUTHOR: Reba Wilson
The average realtor markets through word-of-mouth, mail-outs and the Internet, but Josh Altman has taken to a new medium: reality TV. The Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles star’s personal and work lives are broadcast in 70 different countries to nearly two million people each episode. How’s that for exposure? “As a realtor, the most important thing is having your name out there and marketing yourself,” Altman tells me. Initially wary about the gig, he now says, “it’s basically an infomercial.”
Altman’s skillset centers on marketing the L.A. lifestyle to his many international clients. Recently, he moved to a new firm, Douglas Elliman, to help his team “be more global.” On the staff are people who speak many different languages – Farsi, Russian, Mandarin and Spanish, to name a few. Though viewers saw Altman debut a newly-learned phrase of Mandarin in one episode, he explains that that’s the extent of his Chinese skills; “I barely have time to go to sleep at this point,” so learning a new language is definitely out. That being said, he does focus on the nuances between different cultures, explaining that while he is more assertive when dealing with North American clients, “it’s a totally different story” when working with people of other cultures. “It’s important to know how they look at certain things, how they negotiate,” he says. L.A. real estate has become a popular sell for such clients, as Altman believes “luxury real estate is the new worldwide currency.” He is quick to advocate for the perks of living in L.A., among which is his surprising assertion that “it’s still cheap. Residential property in Los Angeles is still a deal,” compared to other major cities.
If you were followed by cameras between eight and nine months of the year, it’s reasonable to think there would be moments you’d wish hadn’t happen on screen, but Altman tells me he has no regrets, “That’s not how I live my life.” And though the show squeezes whole deals into 60-minute segments, Altman explains that it’s quite true to the deal, minus the fact that the realtors list and sell in a much shorter span.