Parking on the historic Laurel Canyon street, the ghosts of rock n roll royalty coupled with the faint spirit of the 60s and 70s hippie haven era, envelops us. Back in its hay day, Laurel Canyon was one of rock music’s most legendary LA neighborhoods. Home to countless famous musicians, who defined the very essence of the Sixties California sound. They included Neil Young, Carole King, Leon Russell, Stephen Stills, Leonard Cohen, Judy Collins, Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Jimmy Webb, and members of The Animals, and The Turtles. Director and writer Lisa Cholodenko once described Laurel Canyon as “Kind of lazy and kind of dirty and kind of earthy and sort of reckless.” Today, that free-spirited flower power vibe still lingers faintly in the air like a whisper, albeit hard to hear over the honking horns from LA traffic avoiders. The route is now filled with locals, evading the 101, trying to get into the city before having to text their bosses, “I’m sorry, I’m going to be late, traffic is horrendous!”

Safely parked with camera gear in tow we make our ascent up the long driveway to the top of a stunning multi-million dollar home. We immediately see a man conducting another film crew, paying close attention to every detail. He examines how the cars are parked and where the sun is, making sure to get the perfect shots of the property. The man, Shawn Elliott, turns with a big smile and greets us.

International Association of Real Estate Professionals’ (IARP) global interview campaign, Journey to the Top, takes an in-depth look at some of the top real estate professionals across the world. This series of interviews highlight some of the top professionals’ success stories, struggles, best advice and ultimately their journey to the top of the real estate industry. This week on the global campaign trail is in Los Angeles, with Shawn Elliott of Nest Seekers International.

Elliott waves us to follow him, immediately taking us on a tour of the house. He is meticulous to even the smallest of details, at one point making a note that they needed to get golf balls to display on the putting green in the backyard. “It’s all in the details. It’s about telling a story and making people feel as if they’re already living in the home. You have to pay attention to everything”. Elliott is a native New Yorker who has made a name for himself across the nation. Not only is he a broker in Los Angeles, but he also maintains brokers licenses in New York and Miami. Elliott’s most known for turning other brokers failures into his successes, “My biggest accomplishment has been taking over the properties where others have failed, stepping in and selling these properties at the highest price in the shortest amount of time. How do I do that? By having a true marketing strategy.” He further explains, “Most real estate brokers today go and put a sign on the front lawn and the house on the MLS. But they have no strategy.” His full hands-on approach makes it easy to see why he has been so successful nationwide.

Elliott is the Managing Director of Nest Seekers Ultra Luxury Division servicing Gold Coast Long Island, NYC, Hamptons, Miami & LA and has made $5 billion + in career sales. Elliott is in the media as an authority on luxury real estate with appearances on CBS, CNBC, NBC, HGTV, Selling NY, and Bravo as well as features in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Real Deal. His massive success all comes down to his work ethics; making it a point to know anything and everything there is about each home and neighborhood. Elliott reveals his principles to success, “It’s connections, and it’s connecting the dots, it’s networking. You have to be in places where your potential clients are. So if you are selling luxury homes, you have to be in places where there are luxury people.” He also reveals that doing your homework on the houses and neighborhoods in your niche is incredibly important, “You have to learn the inventory. Here in California, it’s called Caravan. In New York, it’s called Broker’s Open House. Once you know the inventory you can talk to anybody, anytime. That’s when you start the networking. You can’t do it in reverse. You can’t network with people and not know what you are talking about”

Sitting on the outdoor couches, we continue our interview with Elliott who now has the whole house blaring with 60’s and 70’s rock n roll music. A nod to Laurel Canyon’s history I suppose and another instant reminder of his brilliant mind and attention to detail. The relaxed, laid-back vibe makes one want to chill on the open deck by the fire and throw on vinyl of The Doors. But, alas, we are still in an interview. We start talking about the business of real estate and how much hard work and dedication it takes to make it profitable. We also talk about the type of person you have to be to thrive in the industry. “This is a business of personality” explains Elliott, “Personality sells. If you’re not a likable person, this is not the business for you. People want to work with people they like. Also, you can get a customer or client from just about anywhere. I have a practice; when I’m in an uber or black car to the airport, I talk to the driver. I ask them if they ever hear people in their car talking about wanting to buy or sell a house to give them my card. And, here in Los Angeles, I met an Uber driver who turned me on to a customer and at the end of the day you are sitting in the house I sold him.”

Elliott sits with natural confidence and ease. It comes as no surprise that his beforementioned success tip is networking. Soaking in the energy of Laurel Canyon and the presence of Shawn Elliott, we wrap the interview with the real estate mogul. After saying our farewells, we watch as he goes back to work, helping the film crew. And we can’t help but admire how he instinctively practices what he preaches, ensuring that the presentation of this listing is nothing less than flawless.

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