Tech-savvy Erin Alls makes every transaction about the client, earning her a loyal following in L.A.’s dynamic Silicon Beach.
By Roger Grody
When the New York firm of Maison International opened an office in Los Angeles, Vice President/Broker Erin Alls brought her considerable expertise to the West Coast. Based in coastal Marina del Rey, the office has emerged as the top resource for luxury buyers in Silicon Beach, where established tech giants and innovative startups are changing the economic landscape.
Alls was born into the real estate industry and spent summer vacations working on her father’s investment properties, even assisting in the physical renovation of rental units. “It’s incredibly tough work, especially for a young woman, but really builds character,” she admits.
After graduating from Concord University with a degree in Communication Arts, Alls attended film school in New York and worked briefly in the entertainment industry before turning her experience in real estate into a career. She joined Maison International in 2003 and quickly became, and remained, the company’s top producer.
“I realized after my first couple of deals how much I loved the practice of real estate, and now I wake up every day feeling blessed to be successful in this industry,” says the accomplished agent. Alls, who has a particular affinity for negotiating deals on behalf of clients, adds, “If you have a passion for what you do, whatever that might be, it puts you on track to be successful.”
In her current practice, especially in the Silicon Beach area, Alls’ clients are naturally tech-savvy, but so is she. Alls received her first Apple computer at age 8, now maintains an active Twitter feed and has branded her practice by securing highly effective URLs such as SiliconBeachHomes.com. “They are very educated about the process and know how to research independently,” she says of successful tech entrepreneur buyers. “With advances in technology, brokers are no longer the gatekeepers of listings,” claims Alls. “The way I describe it is that we have become more like shepherds than gatekeepers.”
Alls’ practice extends beyond Silicon Beach to include pricey coastal enclaves like Rolling Hills Estates, Pacific Palisades and Malibu, and naturally involves a celebrity clientele. According to the Los Angeles Times, she represented rapper Ice Cube for the purchase of a waterfront home owned by action film star Jean-Claude Van Damme earlier this year, reputedly setting a record price for a Marina del Rey property. Many of Alls’ high-net-worth clients are celebrities, and she is sought out not only for her expertise, but also her discretion.
Describing her style of building broker-client relationships, Alls reports, “I always try to listen more than I speak, allowing them to tell me what their needs are.” Although welcoming the efficiencies technology has brought to her industry, the broker laments, “The only drawback is that we have less one-on-one time with clients, so I make it a point to schedule some face time at least once a week.”
After living in high-energy New York, the transition to Southern California was initially challenging, but Alls now appreciates the more laid-back lifestyle, superior weather and access to the outdoors. Naturally, the needs of L.A. clients are distinct from those of their New York counterparts, but Alls focuses more on what they have in common. “Their needs may be different, but buying and selling a house is always a huge emotional investment, and I try to be sensitive to that,” she says. “The biggest difference is that in L.A. people return a phone call three days later, while in New York they call you back three hours later,” jokes Maison International’s L.A. chief.
Alls and her husband, a prominent Brazilian broadcast journalist, reside on the beach in Marina del Rey, enjoying traveling and hiking in their spare time.