Ken Adam of Strand Hill: “Manage your time”

Manage your time — it’s too easy to become distracted. Our phones, for example, are a valuable tool but they can also become a time waster. Plan your days and work to the plan. As a part of my series about the ‘Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Real Estate Industry’, I had the […]

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Manage your time — it’s too easy to become distracted. Our phones, for example, are a valuable tool but they can also become a time waster. Plan your days and work to the plan.

As a part of my series about the ‘Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Real Estate Industry’, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ken Adam, Realtor at Strand Hill (

From Sports Agent to Estate Agent… As the editor of a national soccer magazine in London, Ken worked with most of the top players of the 60s & 70s. That helped him make a switch to become Britain’s first full-time soccer agent representing some of the top names of the day including George Best and Rodney Marsh. Ken holds a California Broker’s Licence and the CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) designation, one that’s earned by less than 3% of Realtors nationwide. In 2014 Ken sold the highest priced property in Manhattan Beach at 1904 The Strand.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Real Estate industry?

When we bought our first house, the agent showed it and we never saw him again. I had just sold a business in 1985 and thought I could do better than this particular agent so I got my license and dived right In.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?

The second part first — you never know where the business is coming from. I was referred to a couple who were adamant about buying a townhouse with a large space at the back of the garage. Fortunately, I found exactly what they were looking for. The couple were actors and they needed the space for filming.

Do you have a favorite “life lesson quote”? Can you share a story or example of how that was relevant to you in your life?

Not so much a life lesson but I use the quote ‘don’t get in the way of the deal’ with our newer agents. So often, I see agents insert their ego into a transaction which is not necessarily to the benefit of their clients.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I’m writing a course — Real Estate 101 — for our new agents. It’s a practical, hands on, real world guide to how things really work. It will give our new agents a strong grounding in the mechanics of selling and closing real estate transactions.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Strand Hill is a local, luxury boutique brokerage specializing in high-end beach property. We have some of the leading agents in what is an ultra-competitive marketplace. When asked specifically what makes our company stand out, it’s the culture. We are like family and support one another to ensure the best client experiences. We participate in several community fundraisers for specific charities/causes and, thanks to one of our support staff, we are getting involved in the ‘Adopt the Beach’ campaign in Manhattan Beach.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

When I first started, I would go on every brokers’ tour on Thursday and Friday with a guy named Don Sirvio who has since passed away. Don had a photographic memory and would point out the square footage and lot size of almost any property, who lived there, what it cost and a ton of other information. It just brought home the importance of knowing your market.

Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry? If you can please share a story or example.

Seeing new agents succeed. One of our newbies just signed up her first listing and it went on the market at 2.8m dollars. There were six offers and it sold all cash at 3.175m dollars. Not bad for a first listing.

How closely tied real estate is to the local community. We live and work in these neighborhoods, and often build lifelong friendships with our clients.

The level of networking. When I first started in real estate we primarily connected with the real estate professionals in our area. However now, with technological advancements and our affiliate partners, we are able to connect buyers and sellers around the world.

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest? Please share stories or examples if possible.

The licensing procedure, at least in California, needs to be revised in my opinion. The license itself is too easy to get and the final exam doesn’t deal with enough ‘real world’ issues.

What advice would you give to other real estate leaders to help their teams to thrive and to create a really fantastic work culture?

We are fortunate to have a large deck at our office that we use for events but we also make a point to have social evenings for our team at least once a month. It may be wine-tasting or a BBQ but it brings the team together. Community events are also very important — our agents are very generous with time and money to help local causes. The act of giving back is a big part of building our work culture.

Ok, here is the main question of our interview. You are a “Real Estate Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 5 non intuitive things one should know to succeed in the Real Estate industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each?

  1. Get organized — real estate is a multi-faceted business. Organize your business to reach maximum productivity.
  2. Manage your time — it’s too easy to become distracted. Our phones, for example, are a valuable tool but they can also become a time waster. Plan your days and work to the plan.
  3. Know your market — buyers and sellers alike want to know that their agent has a keen understanding of the local market.
  4. Surround yourself with positive people — learn from the best. Negativity does not lead to productivity.
  5. Take courses to further your real estate education — the more knowledge the better. The local Board’s usually provide excellent courses on a variety of subjects. Also, there are several designations that I encourage agents to earn, in particular the GRI and CRS courses.

Because of your position, you are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Totally non-real estate related but there’s a huge number of children that are abused, neglected and/or hungry who just don’t get a fair start in life. I’d like to see that changed.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

We’re at, on Facebook @strandhillproperties and Instagram @strandhillchristies

Thank you for your time, and your excellent insights! We wish you continued success.

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