Mauricio Umansky is known as the real estate broker to the stars, and fans also know him from his cameos on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alongside his wife, Kyle Richards. But in Beverly Hills, Mauricio is much more than “the local realtor,” as RHOBH alum Camille Grammer once referred to him. Umansky recently helped to broker the sale of the $200 million Playboy mansion property in Holmby Hills, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Playboy founder Hugh Hefner will remain in the home for the remainder of his life as part of the deal, and the new buyer, Daren Metropoulos, will combine his already purchased $18 million adjacent property with the iconic mansion. Metropoulos fits Umansky’s profile of the person who would buy the landmark property.
When the Playboy property originally went on the market earlier this year, Mauricio Umansky told Bravo’s Daily Dish that the potential buyer would be one of 2,800 people in the world.
“It’s pretty simple: the right buyer is a billionaire,” Umansky said in January. “There’s 2,800 billionaires out there in the world, so it’s not that difficult to go find and reach the 2,800 people. And then you have a property that speaks for itself. I think it’s probably the best property in Los Angeles, probably one of the best properties in the world. And then it’s just the question of it being the right guy, or the right person, to know how to speak about it, negotiate it, and present it in its best light.”
While the property definitely speaks for itself (and oh, if these walls could talk), Mauricio’s listing on the website of his brokerage firm described the famous mansion as “the crown jewel of L.A.’s ‘Platinum Triangle.’ ” The 20,000 square foot, 29-room residence features 12 bedrooms and a wine cellar, home theater, a separate game house and guest house, gym, tennis court and a freeform swimming pool with a large, cave-like grotto. The property is also one of the only private residences in L.A. with a zoo license.
Mauricio Umansky founded his high-profile luxury real estate firm, The Agency, just one year after the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills premiered on Bravo, and he admits the success of the show helped fuel his business. Mauricio is now the No. 1 realtor in Southern California and the third top-producing agent in the United States.
In an interview with Forbes, Mauricio said he puts a lot of effort into getting to know his clients before he tries to craft a deal with them.
“I put together an entire dossier on the people I’m meeting with,” Umansky revealed. “The more I know, the more I can leverage that knowledge. I hate to call it profiling. It’s just being smart. What country clubs do they belong to? What foundations do they give money to? I want to know everything about their business … Also, look for cues. With clients especially, it sometimes helps to look at their clothing and jewelry … You’d be surprised how often someone’s personal style — and you can figure that out from what they’re wearing — gets confused with an image they think they need to keep up.”
Umansky also revealed that his sales experience is all about creating “emotional moments,” so he spends hours staging his important listings.
“When I show a house, I try to create as many emotional moments as possible,” Mauricio explained. “We’ll spend days or weeks staging a property to get it ready. The day of the showing, I’ll arrive hours in advance to make sure it feels right. The right lighting, the right mood, the right smells; opening the right doors and windows. The client has to feel swept up in the experience.”
Mauricio Umansky also admitted that while he never wanted to be a celebrity, there’s no denying that Real Housewives has been a blessing for his business.
“That was my wife’s life, so it’s not something I necessarily enjoy,” Umansky said of his unintended reality TV fame. “But I embrace it. It’s helped The Agency and its business and parts of it are fun.”
While RHOBH has certainly helped him, Mauricio Umansky’s path to the top started just a few years out of college. In a Q&A with Worth, Umansky revealed that he started out as an owner of a clothing company right out of college. He sold the company and decided to explore his love of sales and love of architecture by getting into the real estate business. Mauricio’s first sale was to Kyle’s ex-husband, Guraish Aldjufrie.
“My first job was at Hilton & Hyland, a boutique firm in Beverly Hills co-owned by my brother-in-law, Rick Hilton,” Umansky said. “My wife’s ex-husband gave me the opportunity to sell his property in Brentwood. That was a $7.5 million sale … My first year at Hilton & Hyland, I earned over $200,000 in commissions. I became their number-one agent and was for eight or nine years straight. They had about 100 agents and I was doing 20 percent of their sales.”
Mauricio’s secret has always been to go for a wealthier clientele. While his biggest sale at Hilton & Hyland was a $42 million Beverly Hills property, it sounds like business is really booming for Mauricio Umansky with the Playboy mansion sale.
Take a look at the video below to see Mauricio Umansky talking about the $200 million Playboy mansion listing.
[Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Family Equality Council]