TOP REAL ESTATE AGENT IN CALIFORNIA LINDA MAY
“It’s about seeing the end result in your mind and working towards it,” declares Linda May, one of L.A.’s most renowned luxury real estate brokers. “You need to know what your clients’ needs are and what their expectations are. You must protect their interest at all times, whether it’s creating an opportunity for them to buy or listing their home for sale. You have to be a problem solver.”
Linda has just described “the art of the deal”—the philosophy that has defined her 30-year real estate career. The Beverly Hills-based broker has been called a “trend-spotter” and a “superstar” by her clients, many of whom can be found on the Los Angeles Business Journal’s 50 Wealthiest Angelenos List. However, she is best known for being a “deal maker” who consistently sets records for selling homes in the highest price points ($9.5 million in 1983, $13.7 million in 1991 and $21 million in 2001), and who strategically navigates complex real estate transactions with the ease and determination that can only come from possessing three decades of real estate experience. Linda is consistently ranked in the top one percent of Coldwell Banker’s real estate agents internationally.
“Many of the deals today are extremely complicated,” she says. “With the market bouncing along the bottom, everyone wants to make sure they’re getting a fair deal. Every possible issue must be examined, and every possible question must be answered. Buyers are doing their due diligence, with much higher expectations than ever before.”
Linda recalls a recent transaction that involved a square footage discrepancy, which would render most real estate deals DOA. However, she was determined to complete the transaction. She conducted research and found a creative avenue to move the deal ahead.
“We came back to the negotiating table and got it done,” remembers Linda, proudly. “There are always other ways to present a solution to a problem. You have to evaluate both sides of the transaction. You need to have a goal in mind—even if you can’t predict the future.”
Setting goals is a Linda May trademark, a theme that can be traced throughout her career. A San Francisco native, Linda had plans to become an interior designer until a top real estate agent recognized her passion for houses, and urged her to venture into real estate. She earned her real estate license in 1976, then moved to Los Angeles in 1977. She first established her name in West Los Angeles’ highly competitive real estate market with her own boutique firm, Caverhill and May, which operated from 1982 to 1990. It was here where she sold the landmark Quest End estate to rock star Bruce Springsteen for $13.7 million. She moved to Fred Sands Realtors later in 1991, where she became the first real estate broker “to break the corporate mold” by creating Linda May Properties—which started the personal branding trend that is now a staple among top real estate professionals.
“As companies grew larger in the mid 1990s, it became apparent that successful brokers could accomplish more under their own banner,” she explains. “So I began to step out with my own branding. Linda May Properties allowed me to work as an independent entity under a large corporate umbrella, which gave me double stature. It told my clientele that I was an independent entity handling all of their real estate needs and working for their best interest. Yet, I was also aligned with a strong corporate brand, firm culture and philosophy that was parallel to my own.”
Today, Linda is backed by a team of three professionals, including the experienced real estate talent of Guy Levy. While Linda commits most of her time tending to her client base and showing or viewing properties, Levy serves as the backbone of the Linda May Properties team by assuring the best in customer service.
“Guy has become an expert in the due diligence aspect of our business,” says Linda. “We frequently end up doing both sides of the deal because of his expertise. There is practically no construction or physical aspect of a property that he is not extremely knowledgeable about.”
Linda recalls a recent client who refused to close escrow on an $10 million property in Beverly Park without the original set of architectural plans. Despite the enormous difficulty of this request, Levy managed to track down the original architect who was trekking in Nepal. Levy faxed the release request to the architect’s next stop in Nepal, and he signed it right then.
From Mount Everest to Rodeo Drive, there are few places top real estate agent in California Linda May won’t go for her clients. Customer service remains at the forefront of every choice she makes—which is why the majority of her business consists of repeat or referral clients. Her passion for real estate, people, design and art translates into everything she does, including her service work. She is a Charter Founder of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), a patron of the L.A. Opera, and a member of the L.A. County Museum of Art’s Modern and Contemporary Art Council. Within her local community, she has served as a board member and recently Board Chair of Aviva Family and Child Services, a school and residential treatment center for at-risk teenage girls that also serves 350 families each year with their Community Mental Health Services.
“A lot of my enthusiasm for my community comes from my involvement in the community,” says the West Hollywood resident, who also savors her free time with husband Jack Suzar, an investment adviser at Bel-Air Investment Advisers, and two stepsons.
Still, few stories inspire Linda more than L.A.’s explosive growth over the past 30 years. Probably only a handful of real estate agents today possess the strong historical reference point of witnessing a city like Beverly Hills’ maturation from a charming industry town in the 1970s to the exciting international and cultural metropolis it is today. In fact, Linda could very well be the city’s exclusive real estate tour guide, lovingly sharing her road map of growth along famed streets such as Rodeo Drive, Sunset Boulevard and Melrose Place.
“If you look at the evolution of those streets, they tell the story of a changing population and clientele,” she says of storefronts such as Dior, Hermes and Vuitton cropping up in L.A.’s most legendary neighborhoods. “They are now international destinations.”
L.A. has changed so much that Linda believes the city sits in the midst of a cultural axis shift.
“Historically we’ve looked to either Europe or New York City for our cultural center, but with the dawn of tech and the diversity of the entertainment industry today, we have seen a more sophisticated, informed and accomplished group of individuals relocating to Los Angeles,” she says. “They could live in New York or any other city, but L.A. offers a casual atmosphere that is a stimulant to be creative. There is a tremendous sense of freedom and experimentation here. People are able to do things here that they can’t do in other cities. I’m the perfect example of it. I moved to Los Angeles, and five years later, I opened my own real estate firm.”
If anything, Linda May proves that Los Angeles is not just the City of Angels, but also the City of Dreams…especially when it comes to buying and selling luxury real estate.