Lessons from a Top Real Estate Agent: John McQuilkin

Lessons from a Top Real Estate Agent: John McQuilkin


John McQuilkin, one of Beverly Hills’ top real estate agents, shares the secret to his success in this industry.

John McQuilkin has risen to the top of his profession with a lot of hard work and perseverance. Today, he is one of the top real estate professionals in Beverly Hills and the West Side of Los Angeles. John is always informed about the real estate market and makes sure to keep his clients informed as well. He is a frequent guest on news programs and TV shows and also has his own YouTube channel. Check out John’s exclusive interview with PropertySpark, below!



When did you start your career in real estate?

I started selling real estate in 2003.



Please also in 2 short lines brag about yourself, if you really had to impress someone about what you do, what would you say?

From homeless on Venice Beach living in my car to becoming a top Beverly Hills Real Estate and often referred to in the media as The Realtor to the Stars. I’ve seen it all and I know the value, importance and necessity of housing very well.



What inspired you to start in real estate and how did you motivate yourself to keep going?

I was inspired to start a real estate career after purchasing my first home and witnessing the care and compassion the Realtor representing me displayed. I started out working in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles and worked my way up to Beverly Hills, the Hollywood Hills and the Sunset Strip. I’m motivated every time I step into a Bel Air mansion or Hancock Park mansion and see the expert craftsmanship that went into building such spectacular residences. There is a gated neighborhood in the heart of Los Angeles just south of the neighborhood Windsor Square called Fremont Place. The homes rival the grand mansions of Beverly Hills and the architecture is exquisite. Having the privileged to tour these homes on a regular basis keeps me not only motivated but inspired!



Comparing your business from back then to now, what has been the main thing that allowed you to expand your business?

For me the biggest tool to help my career was being one of the first real estate agents to utilize video marketing. My show “Real Estate Happens” is the very first and longest running real estate show on the web. A significant amount of my business used to come from people who had viewed my videos online. I still get business from videos but not as much since so many other real estate agents are now posting videos as well. I also grew my business by going after For Sale By Owners, what we commonly call FSBO’s. Calling and visiting expired listings and securing probate listings. I also became known as a Divorce Realtor and at one time I was slated to appear on a show that never got picked up about divorce. I would counsel couples who were separating or going through a divorce and represent them in the sale of their home. In real life I’ve represented many divorcing couples and it can be quite challenging.



What’s the most profitable aspect of your business, why do you think this is and how can others apply this to what they are doing?

Referral business gets better every year that you’re in real estate providing you are servicing your clients well. Your sphere of influence, the people you know are your greatest source of new and repeat business. Don’t neglect them.



How Do You Work: (Do you wake up early, work late, communicate, what jobs do you do yourself, who do you talk to etc)?

I usually wake up by 6:30am. I start the day with educational self-improvement audio and reading. Prior to turning my phone off before I go to bed, I respond to any new email requests that have come in. I prefer to give very personal service as opposed to being part of a team where different jobs get handed off to different members of the team. I do everything myself and enjoy all aspects of the business, from working with first time home buyers to listing multi-million dollar estates for sale. I talk to people all day long. If I’m in line and you are in front of me or behind me, I’m going to say hi and start a conversation. I do this not just to generate new possible leads but because I genuinely enjoy meeting people.



When did you realize you were successful/made it and how did you feel/celebrate?

Real Estate has been my principle source of income since 2003 and I have been able to make a very nice living doing it, but since real estate is 100% commission and since I was once homeless I never feel 100% like I’ve made it.



Looking back, what could you have done sooner to get to that point quicker?

I wanted to start my real estate career right out of high school while still in Florida but I looked so young at the time that my brother encouraged me to go to college first. I then moved to Los Angeles California to pursue an acting career which was quite fulfilling. I do wish I would have started earlier and not postponed getting into real estate.



What should other real estate entrepreneurs reading this be focusing on to expand their own business?

I think in the beginning focus on lead generation all day long. 80% of your time should be spent on immediate money generating activities. Cold call if that’s your forte. Canvas neighborhood door knocking and distributing fliers. You have to become known and visible. If you are not succeeding in real estate it’s because not enough people know who you are and they aren’t thinking about you when it comes time for them to buy or sell a home.

Social media is very important. Make videos. Do Facebook live and Instagram live videos as you walk through open houses or as you drive through neighborhoods. People love to watch driving tours especially those thinking about moving to a new area they are not yet familiar with. Outsourcing is fine once you know every aspect of real estate inside and out. Become an expert first, then outsource or train an assistant to handle routine tasks.

Don’t use a transaction coordinator until you are familiar with every disclosure. If your company requires you to use a TC, still learn what every disclosure is for or when it’s needed. I often ask agents for particular disclosures and see blank stares come across their faces. If you don’t know what a particular disclosure is for, how are you going to adequately explain it to your buyer or seller prior to them signing it?



What do you consider the main differences between those people who have been successful in your industry and those who have failed?

This is a touch business. I’ve seen so many hard working agents leave the business for lack of clients. It takes perseverance. You need money to tide you over until you are able to earn money as a real estate agent. I’ve also seen new agents fail because they didn’t treat real estate as a business. They entered real estate with a romantic idea that they are going to sit opening houses in million dollar neighborhoods and potential clients are going to walk in and buy the house and they are going to make a big commission just like that!

Many agents who are failing are probably not full time agents though they will never admit that to themselves. If you are lead generating 6 hours a day 5 days a week you are going to get business. Many new agents show up for company caravans, office meetings and hold an open house on Sunday and that’s the extent of their typical week. Sitting an open house once a week is not going to make you a successful real estate agent. You have to be working the other 5 days a week lead generating.



How has social media and online marketing affected your real estate business? How much more success have you had now after implementing social media and online marketing efforts?

As I mentioned earlier, social media has played a huge part in my career, especially in the beginning. Early in my career I coined the phrase “video prospecting”. I liked the idea that my hundreds of videos online could bring me potential new clients even while I was sleeping or on vacation. You make a video once and it lives on forever and is seen by people all over the globe. I’ve always liked the thought that potential clients from Dubai in the UAE, London in the UK or someone in Sydney Australia can watch one of my videos and two weeks later they are signing a purchase contract with me.

Videos I made a decade ago on Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, West Los Angeles, Trousdale Estates, Nichols Canyon, West Hollywood, Outpost Estates, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Echo Park, Downtown LA, Mid-Wilshire, I could go on and on, are still bringing me new clients today. That’s the power of video!



We hope you’ve learned a great deal about becoming a successful real estate agent. Make sure to reach out to John McQuilkin for a phenomenal and a one of a kind experience in buying or selling real estate in Beverly Hills!

Check out John McQuilkin’s Youtube page here: https://www.youtube.com/user/RealEstateHappens
Check out John McQuilkin’s Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/BeverlyHillsRealEstateAgentJohnMcQuilkin/

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