Mary Fitzgerald is a real estate agent working for The Oppenheim Group in Los Angeles, California. Mary is an expert in her field, with her representing both buyers and sellers in LA’s luxury real estate market.
Not only is Mary an expert in real estate, but she’s also a star of Netflix’s well-loved reality TV show ‘Selling Sunset’. Selling Sunset details the reality of selling luxurious properties to affluent clients and the cut-throat nature of the real estate industry in Los Angeles.
We spoke to Mary about her experience in the industry, including an insight into her day-to-day life, some top tips for anyone wanting to get into real estate and how the COVID pandemic has impacted her job and the LA housing market…
Hi Mary, glad to see you’re doing well. What have you been up to recently? Anything exciting you can tell us about?
“So much! We just took a two-week trip to Europe, and I’m already itching to go back.
“Lately, I’ve done lots of travelling, lots of real estate, and LOTS of filming. Seasons 4 and 5 are just around the corner – we cannot wait for everyone to watch!”
Oh wow, it sounds like you’ve been having lots of fun between all the hard work! Can you tell us how you got into the real estate industry and what made you want to be a realtor?
“I found myself moving nearly every year because I loved searching for properties, viewing them and finding ‘the one’.
“I soon realised that, with my personality and passion for real estate, I had to pursue this career path and become a realtor. I worked for a few years in the Beach Cities of the South Bay, namely Palos Verdes Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach.
“After a few years stint in London and NYC, I returned to LA and put 100% effort into re-launching my career and building my clientele in this new area of the Hollywood Hills and surrounding vicinities.
“My career quickly took off again, and I haven’t looked back!”
When watching you in your job, it’s so clear you have a real passion for property. How did this passion turn into you working at ‘The Oppenheim Group’?
“Once I came back to LA, I met Jason (president and founder) through my BFF, Amanza! Jason launched his own brokerage and I decided to hang my license there… all the way back in 2014!”
As you mentioned earlier, you lived in London, a few hours away from PPO HQ. What did that job involve? Did you enjoy it and living in the UK?
“I did live in the UK when working for Candy Brothers and absolutely loved living in London. I resided in Bloomsbury, which is an area of Central London.
“My job, in a nutshell, was to assist and cater to the VIP clientele retained by the company. 1 Hyde Park was also a new development when I was employed by the firm, and I assisted on one of the units they were associated with at the time.”
So Mary, what is a typical day in your day-to-day job? Is every day different?
“Yes, every day is different, which is exactly why I love it so much.
“Some days I’m writing offers, showing properties, and closing deals, whilst other days I’m doing back-to-back interviews and filming for Selling Sunset!”
You really do have a busy schedule! Do you have a favourite part of your job?
“There is no better feeling than finding someone their forever home. My clients are seriously the best!”
We know this may be a tricky one to answer, but do you have a favourite house you’ve sold? What was it like?
“This is the hardest question ever because I have a complete love for each home I get to work with.
“But, if I ever had to pick one, I would have to say 1233 N Doheny Drive. Not only did I sell it, but I also got married there. The whole property is stunning and filled with so much character. I wouldn’t mind moving in myself!”
*You can actually see Mary get married and conduct a viewing for the property on her wedding day (some serious commitment!) on Selling Sunset*
Over here in the UK, COVID has turned the housing market into a ‘seller’s market’. Have you seen this happen too?
“Yes! Absolutely! It seems like properties are practically selling in seconds!
“’Multiple offers, over asking, and all-cash’ have pretty much been the LA real estate lingo for the last two years or so.
“But that being said, now is a great time to take advantage of low interest rates! The stability of the housing market in this area of LA is overall steady with values rising.”
With your job being all about dealing with people, has COVID changed your job in any way over the past year?
“COVID didn’t slow us down one bit! In fact, it’s made our job even crazier.
“There is so little inventory, and buyers are really searching for their safe haven now that the pandemic has forced so many to work from home.
“We obviously took all safety protocols to keep everyone safe, but the real estate market had been crazy since the pandemic first began.”
Let’s say a client came to you saying they’re moving to LA but don’t know where to look, where would be the first location that you would take them to look at?
“It absolutely depends on their budget!
“If money wasn’t an issue, the first place I would go would be Sunset Plaza/Sunset Strip. It’s one of the most desirable places to live in all of Los Angeles. Not to mention, it’s steps away from our office!
“If a family vibe and slower pace is desired, I’d recommend the Studio City/Sherman Oaks vicinity.”
These locations all sound amazing! Speaking of buying, we saw you recently moved into a new house with your husband, Romain. What was it like to be on the other side of your business, as a client rather than a real estate agent?
“We love our new place. We’ve been leasing this home at first to feel out this new area, and now we’ve been here for just about a year already!
“It’s nice being on the other side of the business, because I get to represent myself! I know exactly what to look for and how to get it done when we find the perfect property.”
In your experience, every house needs a…?
“Oh, this list could go on and on… but every house needs lots of natural light! The house will look younger, brighter, and even bigger too!
“Every home also needs to be backed by a great realtor.”
*This was said with a smile – possibly a hint you need Mary as your realtor if you live in LA*
Whilst it’s clear this industry suits you perfectly, is there any other job you could see yourself doing, if it wasn’t real estate?
“I seriously can’t imagine doing anything else – real estate is what I was made to do!”
That’s great to hear! Looking to the future, do you have any goals for the next year which you’re hoping to achieve in your career?
“Yes! I’m always trying to increase my real estate revenue.”
And finally, after watching ‘Selling Sunset’ I’m sure there’s a large number of people wanting to try have a go at working in the real estate industry – what would your best advice be for anyone wanting to become a realtor?
“I would say… go for it!
“We spend way too much of our life thinking about the ‘what if’, when we could really be spending that time working on our goals.
“Once you get your license, it’s essential you find a mentor to work under. Being a real estate agent is a big learning curve, so having someone who can guide you through it is a huge help.”
If, after hearing about Mary and her experience in real estate, you’re wanting to know more about where she works and what kind of properties she’s selling, you can visit The Oppenheim Group website.
You can also catch Mary in action on ‘Selling Sunset’, with seasons 1 to 3 currently on Netflix.
If you’re an industry expert, like Mary, and feel you have some insight to share, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our editor today!
Millie is a perfectionist with a passion for property and writing articles. You’ll find her researching the latest housing trends and the newest up and coming areas worth investing in.