Legendary Real Estate Icon Joyce Rey Shares Her Life’s Work and What Continues to Fuel Her Passion for Deal Making
Joyce Rey has been a major player in Los Angeles real estate for decades. With a renowned name and impeccable reputation for tremendous service and deal making ability, her career has been nothing short of legendary. We sat down with this extraordinary woman to discover the genesis of her career, what qualities have allowed for decades of unrivaled achievement, and what other passions drive her to continually chase the highest levels of success.
Q: In the beginning, what made you interested in the real estate business and how did you get your start?
JR: In my first years of marriage, my husband and I bought and sold several houses. I love the process of house hunting and the search for a beautiful home. At the time of my marriage to the actor and the star of The Flying Nun, Alejandro Rey, I was teaching business law at Dorsey High School in Baldwin Hills. I chose to give up my teaching career in order to travel to Brazil on film location. Since I had a Master’s Degree in Business Education from the University of Southern California, I felt a real estate license would be easy to secure and helpful to us because of our frequent moves. It became a natural step to enter the real estate business.
Q: What trends have you witnessed over the years, and specifically, how has the West side transformed over time into what it is today?
JR: The largest trend has been the tremendous influx of international buyers into the Beverly Hills marketplace. As far as the real estate industry itself, the largest trend has been towards mergers and larger companies. I connected with the largest company in West side real estate in 1979 to start the first estates division in the world, exclusively handling million dollar properties. That company was purchased by Merrill Lynch Realty in 1983, and our real estate community began to expand throughout the country and attracted worldwide attention. Technology made its entrance to our industry in the 90s. I was the first realtor to have a website. Technology has enabled us to expedite transactions and communication within minutes anywhere in the world. I have particularly enjoyed in recent years of the team concept. This enables me to offer my clients a wider support, yet receive very personal attention. I also take great satisfaction in helping new realtors improve their business.
Q: As you mentioned, international buyers now account for many West LA and San Gabriel Valley real estate transactions. Why is LA a number one choice for so many affluent international residents, and where exactly are these buyers coming from?
JR: Los Angeles has so much to offer. Our cultural attraction, our world class venues from The Broad Museum, to the Disney Concert Hall, and the magnificent Getty; plus the strength of the entire entertainment industry is an unbeatable combination. Our diverse neighborhoods, fabulous climates, proximity to the beach, mountains, and desert, offer more than any other community. When you analyze prices on a worldwide basis, the price per square foot for Los Angeles real estate is far more reasonable than any other city in the world. That is why you see construction on nearly every block, as developers are seizing the opportunity to speculate. International buyers are attracted to choice neighborhoods and glamorous construction. These buyers principally come from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Most of them will have multiple homes around the world, but Los Angeles is a must.
Q: Real estate is such a competitive industry. What personal and professional attributes have enabled you to build such a history of impressive clientele and become the legendary figure that you are today?
JR: Part of my success is attributable to some of my personal characteristics. I have always been very enthusiastic about whatever I set out to do. I was fortunate to fall in love with the real estate business, and I always make certain to put my clients’ best interests first. When you love what you do, it does not seem like work. And I find the real estate business as exciting today as I did the first day I walked into my first real estate sales meeting 43 years ago. Since 1979, the estates division that I founded has been bought and sold 3 times. I am proud to be connected with the Coldwell Banker name with over 84,000 agents worldwide and nearly 4,000 offices. I also have had the wonderful good fortune to be surrounded by wonderful friends, colleagues, and clients who have been extremely loyal to me.
Q: You’re passionate about giving back and are involved in numerous philanthropic efforts. What projects are you involved in, and talk to us about what it means to you to be in a position where you can help others?
JR: Philanthropy has been one of my life’s greatest satisfactions. My charitable acts date back to when I sold Girl Scout cookies, and USC when I made speeches for the blood mobile; but I recall the first charitable event as a realtor at my home which benefit the St. Joseph’s Center for the homeless. I was astounded to learn the size of the homeless population in the 70s in Los Angeles. My immediate reaction was, if we are selling beautiful homes, we must help those who do not have one. Over the years, I have supported many charities. In the 80s I organized volunteers for the Venice Family Clinic Art Walk and was active on their advisory board. In the 90s, I headed the real estate industry support group for Cedars-Sinai Hospital and joined the Music Center’s Blue Ribbon as well as serving on their board. I remain an active Blue Ribbon member today. I joined the Children Uniting Nations committee and volunteered for the International Day of the Child where I met a 10 year old foster child that I mentored for 8 years. He became the first member of his family to graduate from high school. For the last 10 years, I have dedicated myself to the US Fund for UNICEF and serve on its executive board. I am also a board member of the Coldwell Banker Community Foundation, which contributes to over 250 charities in our region. There is so much to do and so little time. Working toward making this world a better place is the greatest goal of all.
Q: Looking to 2018 and beyond, what does the future hold for Joyce Rey?
JR: I am particularly proud to be of one of the exclusive agents representing the iconic Chartwell Estate priced at $350 million on 10.3 acres in prime Bel Air. Excited at the prospect of a wonderful year ahead, I am planning business trips to both Asia and the Middle East. Currently we have very low inventory of luxury homes, so that will most likely mean a price increase in the year ahead. I represent many fabulous buyers and sellers and have always loved the exciting challenge of making a deal.
For more, please visit www.joycerey.com.