Peter Lorimer is an entrepreneur and real estate expert. He was born and raised in the UK, but now currently lives and works in Los Angeles, specifically in the luxury market.
Not only this, but Peter is a co-host on Netflix’s ‘Stay Here’ which follows Peter and his co-host, Genevieve, helping struggling property owners to redesign their homes and make them into rental ‘moneymaking showstoppers’.
We spoke to Peter about his thoughts on the real estate market, his experience as a successful DJ and music producer and his top tips for success.
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Hi Peter, glad to see you’re doing well. What have you been up to recently?
“The main thing that’s been keeping me super busy right now is the LA real estate market – it’s crazy, I have never seen anything like it!
“There’s also been some pretty major developments in my company, ‘Corcoran Global Living’.
“Due to COVID, we never managed to film season 2 of ‘Stay Here’ but I am in talks with Netflix about a new show and shooting a pilot, fingers crossed it all goes ahead! This show will be a slightly different flavour to Stay Here, more family and lifestyle orientated but, of course, will still contain real estate.”
So, tell us, how did you get from living in Leeds, UK (home of PPO HQ) to being a real estate expert and entrepreneur in LA with your own firm?
“So, I left Leeds for London to become a house music record producer. I found my love of house music had come from ‘The Warehouse’ which was the only place in the 80s that played house music.
“I left London for LA in 1993 and continued my record producing career. I was doing pretty well at it – between the UK and US, I had about 50 number 1s in the 90s.
“I then decided I needed to switch things up – I couldn’t live this crazy lifestyle, producing house music forever…”
What made you want to leave the music industry, despite being very successful, to venture into real estate?
“I had a feeling the music industry was about to get crushed by MP3s, so I decided it was time to retire at around 32 or 33.
“I’d like to say I went into real estate because I studied hard and did lots of research, but that’s not really the case.
“I actually found my way into real estate as a result of dating this horrible toxic woman. She left her antique business to do real estate, and she did pretty good at it. That made me think if she can do it and be decent at it, then I can do it and do well. I mean, I’m a nice guy after all!
“I started with property investment in North Hollywood, which was only about 15 minutes from Sunset Strip, but it was a really run-down area – everyone thought I was mental, but I had a vibe for it, and it was all I could afford at the time. Then, somewhere between 2003 and 2006, it blew up, so I started being successful in investing in properties.
“I then got my license, became a realtor and then became the number 1 agent at a really big company in LA. I was approaching my pals who were coming out of the music industry, asking them all ‘who wants to buy a house?!’
“I got into property development in around 2010-2011, with my first place being an area in LA called the Bird Streets, which is now like Park Lane or Mayfair in London, but it wasn’t at that level at this time.
“I had developed this knack of seeing which areas were going to blow up, which I think came from being a DJ and having to notice trends of where music was going to go.
“I went to the Bird Streets and picked up houses at around $2 or $3 million, and then designed houses with architects and developers, to then sell the plans for around $6 million. I did around 5 or 6 of them a year, acting as the realtor on it.
“Then, I started my own firm, PLG estates, which focused on the creatives of LA, especially those in the music business.
“My wife, Cindy, and I actually started it in an old nail salon opposite a fancy hotel in Beverly Hills. Fast forward 10 years and we had 4 offices and 200 agents.
“After that, I was approached by Barbara Corcoran, from the show ‘Shark Tank’. She started a company in NYC from nothing and blew it up to be a multi-billion-dollar property company. She approached me and said she wants to open on the West Coast and wanted me to be in charge of the whole LA region and to be a partner of it. Naturally, I was so shocked at this!
“And now, I’m the general manager in charge of LA, Beverly Hills and surrounding cities for Corcoran, whilst also having a significant ownership in the company.”
What’s the LA real estate market like? Has it been impacted by COVID at all?
“The LA market is absolutely on fire right now – I’ve been in real estate for almost 20 years, and this is the most blistering time in LA real estate I have ever seen.
“I work in luxury real estate, with an accent like this – can you believe it?! *Referencing his Yorkshire accent here*
“Luxury real estate is around $4 million and up and I felt in around 2018/19 it was beginning to slow. Then in January 2020, everyone’s talking about this ‘covid thing’ but we didn’t really know what was going to happen.
“Then, BAM, March hits and everything gets shut down. There was a month where nothing happened, which reminded me of the 2008 financial crash.
“After that, sometime in April, the feds slashed the rates, making people want to go out and buy property, as borrowing money became much cheaper.
“From then 2020 took off, with LA seeing 30% appreciation in the last 2 years, which is mental. For me, 2020 was my biggest year in real estate both personally and for the company.”
Whether it’s a rental property or one for sale, what is one essential every great home should have?
“Well, I wish there was only 1 thing!
“For me, the biggest 2 things are the kitchen and the master bedroom – these need to be spot on. I’m also personally a big fan of house ‘jewellery’ – things like light fixtures, chandeliers, etc.
“It’s the things that make the house feel a bit more lux, which make people look at a house and think ‘wow this one is special!’ – they don’t know why it’s special, but they know it feels special.”
We notice you’re a keen Instagram user, do you think this is key to success?
“Massively! There’s a formula to social media and when you get it right, it can be a huge help to your business.
“When I was up and coming, I was obsessed with my social media and it’s one of the things which catapulted me to the top of my game. I wanted to make sure I made my social media different and authentic to who I am.
“To me, social media is your own little PR company. Actually, I attracted 200 agents to my company through social media, without me having to make a single phone call, showing how you can use it to benefit your business.”
What is your favourite part of your job?
“I like the fact that every single day of my job is different. The thing about the real estate industry is that it’s never the same.
“I really enjoy selling and being a listing agent. It’s a great feeling to really smash it out of the park for my clients.
“I’m also big into design, with my wife and I looking to launch our own design company over the next year.
“Another part of my job which I love is helping to nurture and grow other people, such as the agents at my company.
“I guess I just love growing companies, growing people, growing ‘stuff’!”
Let’s speak a bit about ‘Stay Here’, how did you get involved in the show?
“Well, it’s a bit of a funny story actually.
“When I first joined the real estate industry from the music industry it was like walking into a morgue! I’d gone from this exciting lifestyle to something which was a little boring. I didn’t want to do the door knocking and the cold calling which everyone said I should do – it just wasn’t me.
“So instead I decided to go into social media and really hammer out that. Then, in around 2010 or 2012, video became something I was very interested in, so I started doing YouTube.
“Not long after I got a phone call saying they were a casting agent and would like me to star in an upcoming Netflix show. I responded, ‘yeah okay, who really is this?’ thinking it was someone playing a joke.
“I also said if they were ringing loads of real estate agents I could put her in touch with some people, as I’m not really interested. The woman insisted that they’d watched my videos and really liked me.
“Anyway, one thing led to another, and I ended up meeting the senior casting agent. The whole time I was thinking there’s no way I’m getting this – I’m too fat, I’ve got a funny accent, so I just had a giggle, it would be a great story to tell the kids!
“They then asked me to do a chemistry test, which is where you meet your co-host and see how you get on. They had it on the day I was speaking at a conference in San Francisco, but they insisted they wanted me so sent down a plane to collect me and fly me back over to LA, so I could do the chemistry test.
“I was introduced to Genevieve, who is the other host on ‘Stay Here’, and then they literally said ‘GO!’ and I just went for it. Fast forward to two days later and I got a call to say I’d got it.”
You speak throughout the show about ‘SEO’, ‘PPC’, and hosts having a blog – do you think this is the best way to market a property?
“At the end of the day, what sells or rents a property is great pictures and the price.
“Rental properties can also turn into sales, so I say to fix a property up so it’s perfect and would be ready to sell, and then get some great photos and put it up for rent.”
It’s clear you have a flair for creativity, have you always been this way, or do you think being in the music industry developed it?
“I think it’s something you’re born with. In my opinion, you’re either academic or creative.
“I was never academic – I didn’t even get an O-level (or whatever you call them now). I’ve always been obsessed with being creative since a young age.
“When I was 10, I wanted to play the trumpet, because my older brother did. At my school, they only had an old trombone, which no one wanted, so I started it and I really had a knack for it.”
If you didn’t work in the real estate industry, what else could you see yourself doing?
“I don’t feel I will ever fully move on from real estate, but I do think my next ‘thing’ will be a blend of real estate and design. I want to create a brand of ‘home’. I then want to take that into fashion.
“My wife and I are also planning on opening a restaurant – just as a side hustle…” *said with a joking smile*
As an outsider, we see a successful individual – has it always been this way or have there been setbacks over the years?
“Of course, there’s always been setbacks.
“In 2008, I was new to the real estate industry, and I’d been out of the music industry for a few years. I had been married to my wife for a few years and had our first child and the market just crashed.
“We had nothing. We had to stop paying the mortgage on 3 of our 4 income properties and lived off the income from our tenants from the final one. It really was our darkest hour.
“Then in 2010, I was determined to turn things around and ‘turn lemons into lemonade’ and it was that year I became the number 1 realtor in the company I was working at.
“For me, the biggest cause of failures isn’t situations, environments, buyers or sellers, it’s your mind.”
Do you have any goals you’re wanting to achieve in the next year?
“The next handful of years for me is all about building the company I’m a partner of (Corcoran). Maybe I’ll add to it with a design business or restaurants but my main thing is I’m not looking to step down as the chair of Corcoran in the next few years.
“Basically, I want to be the number 1 luxury brokerage in LA within the next 24 months – let’s wait and see!”
Who is your biggest role model?
“I don’t know if this is a role model as such, but I have someone I admire greatly – Richard Branston.
“To me, he encompasses everything it means to be an entrepreneur.”
And finally, what’s your top tips for anyone looking for success?
“Firstly, never buy leads. Online leads suck and it’s a waste of your time.
“I believe in growing your sphere of influence and community and speaking to people.
“Finally – don’t take anything personally! We can’t think our way into right action, but we can act our way into right thinking.”
If you’re an industry expert, like Peter, and have some insight you’d like to share then get in touch with us today!
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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. Read more about Millie here.