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Meet Amir Torkamani of Esquire Real Estate Brokerage in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amir Torkamani.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Amir. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I grew up in a very math and science centric family – my father was an exec in IT, my mother teaches math at a community college, and my only brother is a scientist. Suffice to say education was a high priority in our family, but I deviated from the math and science path while in college, at UC Berkeley, where I graduated with degrees in Political Science and Business Administration. I then went on to law school at USC. My first job after graduating and passing the bar was as a litigation associate at a prestigious international law firm, and after that I worked as a litigator and trial lawyer at a couple smaller, reputable law firms.

I always had an interest in real estate, but if I had to pick a specific moment when I realized that I had a passion for it, it was probably when my wife and I purchased our home in 2010. By the time we completed the purchase, I had spent hours upon hours studying different neighborhoods and learning how to analyze the value of specific properties. I also regularly worked on real estate matters in my job as a lawyer, which gave me a unique perspective into how things tend to go wrong in real estate deals and what happens as a result.

Following my passion, I decided to get my real estate license. As an attorney, I had the ability to get my broker’s license (as opposed to a salesperson’s license), which allowed me to immediately start my own company and work for myself. Using the purchase of my home and my experience in law, I taught myself the ins and outs of what is involved in a real estate transaction, as well as the customary terms and conditions of a deal. I then started helping friends and family with their home purchases as a hobby. The more I helped people, the more I realized how much I enjoyed it, and also how good I was at it. Most importantly, I always felt a great deal of satisfaction at the close of a deal, and my clients were always grateful for my help. Handling real estate deals was the most satisfying thing I had done in terms of my work life, so I continued to market myself and grow the business.

Eventually, I reached the point where running Esquire Real Estate Brokerage, Inc. became my primary focus, as opposed to a hobby (although I still consider it a bit of a hobby – it’s too much fun to really consider it “work”). Since I’ve committed myself to the company full time, I have closed over $20mm in real estate deals throughout the LA area, ranging from as low as $365,000 to as high as $2.4mm. I also now have a couple agents working with me, and am in the process of recruiting a few more. I have a dream of one day putting together a team of lawyer-realtors that will take over the LA real estate market.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
This is a tough question to answer because I think by most people’s measure, I have had a relatively privileged life. From the get-go, I was lucky enough to be born to two people who could not possibly have been better parents. I am eternally grateful for everything they did to make sure my brother and I would grow up as kind, ethical, well-educated, and successful individuals. In my opinion, not having that foundation is the biggest obstacle to anybody’s success. I also never had to face the struggles of poverty, sexism, racism, or other extreme hardships like being born into a war-torn country, which I don’t like to minimize by complaining about other relatively trivial struggles. I think it’s important to keep that perspective.

That being said, I would not consider my road to have been “smooth” either. The biggest obstacle to my success was giving up a well-paying, stable job as a lawyer to take a risk on pursuing my passion. Luckily, I have a wife who knew how much happier I would be if I chased my dreams instead of a paycheck, and she pushed me to go for it. I still sometimes struggle with the uncertainties associated with both the real estate market and being a business owner, but I have learned to have faith in my abilities and I have seen firsthand how hard work and commitment will always pay off.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Esquire Real Estate Brokerage – what should we know?
Esquire Real Estate Brokerage, Inc. is a real estate brokerage that focuses on bringing the standards of knowledge, ethics, and hard-work that people expect of lawyers to the world of realtors.

Most people, including many real estate agents themselves, view real estate agents as salespeople. At Esquire Real Estate Brokerage, Inc., we reject that term. A salesperson’s job is to sell something to someone, regardless of whether they actually want or need it, and regardless of whether it is the right choice for them. My expectation of myself and the agents I work with is not to “sell” properties, but to make sure that our clients have all of the information necessary to enable them to make an informed decision about what is likely the most important purchase/sale of their lives. If the deal is right for our client, our job is then to guide them through the transaction to maximize value and minimize potential liabilities. If the deal is not right, we let our clients know, and we regularly walk away from properties for which other people may be willing to overpay.

We also pride ourselves in putting the interests of our clients above our own. Another typical trait of a “salesperson” is that they are motivated by a commission payment to close a deal, regardless of whether that deal is in the interest of the buyer/seller. Again, we reject that characterization of what we do. As a lawyer, one of the most important things you are taught is that you must zealously advocate on behalf of your client, regardless of your own self-interest. People should expect nothing less from their realtor, and we make sure our clients get that level of service. The stereotypical “pushy” agent is something that we steer very clear of.

Overall, Esquire Real Estate Brokerage, Inc. is not just another typical real estate company. I personally guarantee all of our clients will receive a level of service and knowledge that goes above and beyond the norm, and that is something I am extremely proud of.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
As I mentioned previously, I cannot possibly be any more grateful to my parents for everything they have done for me. I would not have achieved nearly as much as I have if I did not have their support.

My wife and children also deserve credit for my success. My wife pushed me to follow my dreams when I was most unsure of what I was doing with my life, and she has never wavered in her faith in me. Even when I am stressed about finding a client the right home or dealing with a difficult transaction, she always just listens and smiles with 100% confidence that I will figure it out. My children are also a huge motivation for me.

If I could build an empire for them to inherit or participate in one day, nothing would make me happier.

I also have my brother and a close group of cousins and friends that deserve to take some credit. They definitely keep me grounded about what is important in life, and if my head gets even slightly too big they are there to keep me in check.

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