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Meet Beverly Hills Real Estate Agent John McQuilkin

Today we’d like to introduce you to John McQuilkin.

John, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
As a child for fun, I used to design floor plans of houses and design entire neighborhoods. Laying out the streets and parks.

As a ten-year-old boy, I couldn’t wait to get the Sunday times so I could circle all the Open Houses I wanted my parents to take me to. I would usually ride my bike and visit open houses on my own where surprised and gracious Realtors would show me around. I was so impressed as a child with the work Real Estate Agents did. I knew that is all I ever wanted to do. As a kid, there was a commercial that always played on TV that showed real estate agents in gold blazers saying “At Century 21 we’re professionals”. I wanted my gold jacket!

Straight out of High School, I went to enroll in real estate school but my older brother talked me out of it. I was 18 years old but I looked about 15. He said no one would buy a house from a kid looking so young. He encouraged me to go to college first which I did. I then made my way to California pursuing another dream of becoming an actor. Up to that point, I had been doing a lot of local community theater and was quite good.

After arriving in Los Angeles and prior to becoming a successful real estate agent and referred to in the media as the “Realtor to the Stars”, I lived in my car on Venice Beach, showering at night on the beach and brushing my teeth in water fountains. Even while homeless, I had a clear vision for success and knew my situation would improve. I pursued acting, doing stand-up comedy and theater all around Los Angeles, but never lost site on my dream of becoming a successful real estate agent. Finally, I took the plunge, received my real estate license and started selling real estate and have never been happier!

When I first started selling high-end luxury homes, I would often walk into them and become overwhelmed with emotion and start crying because I was so affected by the beauty of the architecture and also because I grew up in a working-class family. I was never exposed to high-end luxury until I started selling multi-million dollar estates.

Many of my clients are from all over the world including China, London, Australia, Sri Lanka, Russia and Dubai. In addition to high net worth individuals, I’ve also represented many well-known celebrities. Recently I sold “Blue Lagoon” star Christopher Atkins home and we became good friends. He is one of the most down to earth celebrities I’ve ever worked with. I gave him a list of things to fix prior to listing his home and he rolled up his sleeves and fixed them all himself.

My areas of expertise are Listings, Divorce sales, Trust and probate sales.

My favorite areas to work in are Beverly Hills which includes Trousdale Estates and The Hollywood Hills which includes The Bird Streets and The Sunset Strip. Other areas I frequently sell homes in include Nichols Canyon, Hancock Park, Windsor Square, Fremont Place, Bel Air, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades and Malibu.

Hancock Park, Windsor Square and Fremont Place are extraordinary. The homes rival the grand estates of Beverly Hills and Bel Air but are listed between 3-5 million with some selling for 10 million or more but still much less than comparable homes in Beverly Hills and Bel Air for 30 million dollars.

I represent clients in all price points from first time home buyers at the lower end of the price spectrum to high-end multi-million dollar estates. Selling high-end homes is more financially rewarding, but working with first time home buyers is more personally rewarding.

With high-end buyers and sellers, once your job is through you are basically dismissed. They like you but often think of you as an employee. Not all. I’m made some great high net worth friends through real estate sales but for the most part, they really don’t want to socialize with you or invite you to their parties.

Conversely, when you sell a home to a first time home buyer on the lower end of the pricing spectrum, you are their friend for life. They always remember how you made their dream of home ownership possible. They invite you to their life events and family barbecues. They refer a lot of business to you as well. They are very loyal. So it is very personally rewarding.

I personally know real estate agents who appear on television on a regular basis who refuse to work with anyone if the purchase or sale is not 1.5 million or more. I’m not one of those Realtors. My website: allows visitors to search for homes not only in Beverly Hills but all across Los Angeles County.

My show on Youtube “Real Estate Happens” is the very first and longest running real estate show on the web. It is not only a resource for home buyers and sellers but I’ve just recently started offering real estate training for other real estate agents. I’m often asked to mentor new Realtors and speak about the ins and outs of real estate so making training videos is just one more way I can help new Realtors or established Realtors improve their business.

I was one of the first Realtors in the world to utilize Youtube and consequently, I received lots of business in the early years from Youtube before other Realtors figured out the benefits of Youtube.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Real estate is 100% commission which can be difficult in the beginning for many new real estate agents. Most new agents are out of the business within two years. Many within 3 to 6 months. In the beginning, it’s extremely difficult to find clients to work with you.

Unless you are rich, you need an additional source of income. For the first two years of becoming a Real Estate agent, I worked in the entertainment business full time, while working full time in real estate.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Beverly Hills Real Estate John McQuilkin – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I’ve already mentioned what I specialize in. I’m most proud that my clients needs come before my own. I’ve walked away from many commission checks because I didn’t feel it was a good investment for my clients.

Also just before the crash I was still taking listings but turning away buyers asking them to please wait as I knew the market was in for a major correction. Some listened. Others including family members thought homes were going to continue to go up and up and didn’t listen to me and bought homes anyway.

Many would call and hesitantly say, oh we purchased a home. I’d say how could you, I’m your real estate agent and they say, well you didn’t want to represent us and my spouse feels home prices are going to keep going up so we purchased a home with a Realtor who agrees with us!

Two years later, these same buyers were asking me to sell their homes as short sales saying we should have listened to you. Again, I walked away from thousands of dollars in commission but I didn’t want to see buyers make the mistake I knew they were making. I sleep well at night knowing I always give it to my clients straight whether it hurts me or not.

We are taught as real estate agents to not give our opinions, but I can’t do that. If I hate a house and don’t think it’s a good investment, I let me clients know. They may still purchase it but at least they can’t say later on, why didn’t you tell me this was a bad purchase.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I want to continue to grow my Youtube channel as a way to help up and coming real estate agents succeed in this difficult business. The older I get the more I want to help younger Realtors succeed and make a living in real estate.

I want to continue as a top Beverly Hills and Hollywood Hills real estate agent. I love the colleagues I work with in my marketplace. Even though we are competitors, we are still friends. Sometimes I get the listing and sometimes another top Realtor will get the listing.

No big changes ahead. I love what I do. It brings me great excitement every day to get out of bed and list or sell real estate with great clients.

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