Gary Gold, a Real Estate guru was one of the attendees at the 2018 Global Ventures Summit in Los Angeles. Gold shared with us the story of how he sold the Playboy Mansion, the most expensive home to ever be sold in Los Angeles.
Gary Gold: “Indirectly, selling the Playboy Mansion came from a Zillow lead.
However, it was actually as a result of doing something more. I've been sober 32 years and I have a philosophy of helping people and being of service however I can. I find that when you serve without any real intention of outcome, it will move you into success. Although my actions are from the heart and I don’t do it to be successful, it is how things came together for me.
“I have a philosophy of helping people and being of service however I can. I find that when you serve without any real intention of outcome, it will move you into success. Although my actions are from the heart and I don’t do it to be successful, it is how things came together for me.”
How I ended up getting the Playboy Mansion’s deal is that was involved in another deal where I sold the property that Ashton Kutcher owned. Along with Zillow, we agreed to give the commission away to a charitable organization. They said, “Will you do the deal but give your commission away to charity?
“ I said yes. We turned that house into a design home, and we sold tickets to raise money for the non-profit. To draw people, each room was beautifully decorated by different designers. During that event, I had the privilege of meeting one of the designers who was with her husband, an architect.
We hit it off and I said to him, “you know I have a client that I'd like to introduce you to.” So I ended up giving the guy like a million dollar client and the one thing I said to this architect was "listen, if you ever have any of your clients that have questions like - are they over building or choosing the right location, or just from investment purposes, if they're doing anything right or wrong before they build a house, I’d be happy to come and provide assistance and professional advice at no charge.
"So two years later, this architect is “Hey I got a client he thinks he overbuilt.”
I went to meet that client and I told him he didn't and as a result, he became a client of mine. He also turned out to be the managing partner of a private equity firm that controlled the Playboy Mansion. I dealt with him all the time and gave him incredible service so I got a shot at the table first. But if it wasn't for helping that architect and if it wasn't for helping that charity, I would have never secured the Playboy Mansion deal.”
Ahmed Shabana (Parkpine Managing Partner): What was challenging about this and what was the media not helping with or were they helpful?
Gary Gold: I was there a lot and I didn't meet Hugh Hefner, people always ask me were there Playboy bunnies running around all the time. I got there and all the bunnies were replaced with nurses. It was a cool place and that was historic. But you know the one thing I did and always make a conscious effort to do, was to focus on the fact that it was the “Playboy Mansion”. In fact, I deal with a lot of famous houses and famous people and I really don't give a shit. I really don't. I don't look at someone like they are famous. If I'm showing Jay Z a house
I keep it professional. So throughout the deal, I wasn't focusing on it being the “Playboy Mansion” or concerned about all the people involved. I was like a surgeon that was operating on someone's shoulder. I was focusing on that shoulder and in this particular case, selling the house was my main priority.
It was a very strange deal. They came to us and said we want to sell this home. But there's a catch… Hugh Hefner gets to stay there for the rest of his life, and his birth certificate did not have an expiration date, so we didn't know what was going to happen. What made it more complicated is this wasn't just a normal house; it was run more like a hotel. It cost millions of dollars a year to keep operation and was in disrepair and falling more into disrepair every year. So the person who would buy it would have to take control of managing the house and invest millions of dollars to get it in good shape. Everyone of course had their own ideas of what they wanted. So I had to sell this home to someone who agreed to let Hugh stay there till he dies (whenever that might be). And you know, we wanted to get a lot of money for it. “
So throughout the deal I wasn't focusing on it being the “Playboy Mansion” or concerned about all the people involved. I was like a surgeon that was operating on someone's shoulder. I was focusing on that shoulder and in this particular case, selling the house was my main priority.
I managed to pull that off. It took three months to negotiate that deal. But again, I wanted to stay 100% focused and was able to do this in spite of all of the noise and the press (who helped to give us incredible exposure). But all kinds of crap happened, like on TMC on a weekly basis they were talking and gossiping about this, reporting that this or that guy was or was not buying the house? You know, everyone got so worked up around me and I was just so focused, I really knew the seller was a seller, and I really knew the buyer was a buyer so I didn't listen to any noise whatsoever. I just stayed very, focused.”
Gary Gold: I'm coached by this amazing guy Tom Ferry, the biggest real estate coach in the country. He's like Tony Robbins for real estate. And the day after I sold the Playboy Mansion ,he had a conference with about 5000 people in attendance. He gets me in front of everyone and starts asking me, “Okay, so what are you going to do now?” And I said, “I don't know if there's anything I could ever do that will surpass this.” I really thought - how? I mean this is the most expensive home to sell in the United States in two years and is the most expensive home to ever sell in Los Angeles. And then at the end of that conference he asked me again and I go
“ You know what, I'm going to sell a bigger house.”