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Meet Mercedes Akinsanya of Homes by Mercedes in Beverly Grove Area

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mercedes Akinsanya.

Mercedes, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was born and raised in Minnesota. After high school, I decided to attend Iowa State University, where I earned my bachelor’s degree in Marketing. I’ve always wanted to live in California, so after graduation I packed up my 2002 Honda Accord with EVERYTHING I owned and started the journey to LA. Once here, I started my career in fashion, getting unpaid internships at For Love and Lemons and with a known LA stylist. I worked for free during the day, nannied for a Beverly Hills family every evening and then finished out the day at my night job at an eating disorder clinic, working overnight four times a week. I juggled those four jobs for about nine months until I decided to pursue paid styling gigs. I was freelancing for top LA and NY wardrobe stylists all over the city, dressing celebrities, working long hours on commercial shoots and runway shows.

After about two years of styling, I realized there was no real money in the industry unless you are the best of the best and I didn’t want to work 60+ hours a week shuffling hundreds of pounds of clothes back and forth for the rest of my life. In addition to fashion, I’ve always had a strong interest in real estate investing and interior design. My plan was always to own multiple investment properties down the road. During a long (and probably tearful) phone call with my mother, she suggested I look into being a Real Estate agent, as the skills I had been building would easily translate into an industry I was already interested in. I did my research and enrolled in classes the next month. I then found a wonderful mentor named Lauren Ravitz who hired me to be her assistant in 2017. I worked hard to learn every aspect of the business during that time. I had the amazing opportunity to watch and help a top producer kill the real estate game and I soaked in as much information as I could. Three years later, I decided the time had come to go on my own and start my own real estate business. I started Homes by Mercedes March 2020 (crazy timing, I know), and that’s where I am today!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Absolutely not, I only knew four people when I moved out here, and you learn after a while that your network and connections are EVERYTHING in LA. I had to say no to a lot of fun activities/parties my first few years out here because I was working crazy hours to survive. Don’t get me wrong, I love LA and wouldn’t change anything I did to get where I am today, but it wasn’t easy, and definitely wasn’t fun at times. But that’s also why I love this city, everybody has a story like mine and everyone out here understands and respects the hustle.

Please tell us about Homes by Mercedes.
As an agent for Berkshire Hathaway, I help clients who want to buy, sell and invest in the LA area. Also, most people don’t know that realtors work with landlords and tenants on leases as well, which is a good share of my business at the moment. I would define my brand as “Paris meets LA”. I love old architecture with a modern and laid back twist. My emphasis is to guide a younger generation (millennials, gen Z) into Real Estate ownership. We are living in a time when young adults are earning substantial incomes via social media. I hope to help them make sound investments in the real estate market. To take that a step further, I think it’s especially critical for women to get in the game and achieve their financial goals by including real estate in their portfolio. I launched at the beginning of the pandemic and had no idea if it was going to work out. Thus far it’s going really well, I feel really good about how far I’ve come in a short and crazy time.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I have a lot of really happy and funny memories with my grandma and mother. My most fond memories are of family game nights. My grandma would be so excited to host 10 – 15 family and friends for dinner and games such as bingo, apples to apples, catchphrase and pit.  Grandma would purchase candy, household items, and other little gadgets over the months leading up to game night to be used as prizes.  Those nights were full of laughs and  ended with a dance-off with $20 for the winner.

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