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Million Dollar Listing LA’s Tracy Tutor on luxury real estate market amid coronavirus

Tracy Tutor joins The Final Round to talk about the impact Covid-19 has had on high-end housing, as well as her new book, “Fear Is Just a Four-Letter Word”, in which she discusses psychology of power dynamics and social signaling for business dealings.

Video Transcript

MYLES UDLAND: We are joined now by author, real estate agent, and star of Bravo's hit show "Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles," Tracy Tutor. Tracy, thanks so much for joining the program today. Let's start by talking a bit about what's going on in the real estate market out there in LA, what you guys have seen in the last couple of months, and kind of how navigating this time has been for you.

TRACY TUTOR: Hi, thanks for having me, Myles. You know, the last few months have obviously been a lot of ups and downs. I think initially, when Los Angeles first shut down, we had a hard stop to everything. Real estate was at a complete standstill. So we are now under restrictions and guidelines by our governor. So we have to make sure that while we are allowed to show property that we are protecting ourselves and the people that are coming through these homes.

So we do-- we're doing things like wearing masks, using gloves, all doors are open. They ask you not to touch anything. And because of those guidelines, we have been able to get back into do it what we are here to do, which is sell real estate. And the market is picking up in certain areas, and definitely different price points are performing at a much higher level. So the under $5 million market, we're seeing multiple offers again. We've got buyers that are really out there sort of wanting to take advantage of COVID, assuming that they're going to be able to make better deals happen.

But there is a softening and a shift in the $5 to $20 million market that is sort of slowed down a little bit. And buyers are hesitant to pull the trigger. We'll see what happens, but I anticipate a little bit of a slowdown and the true effects of COVID on this market probably in quarter four and quarter one and two of 2021.

SEANA SMITH: And Tracy, going off of that and some of the changes that you have seen to your business in the wake of the COVID-19, we've talked about this a number of times that the programs and that's the fact that how virtually looking at a house and how that is playing into the market right now, people are seeing homes virtually. They're becoming more comfortable doing this. I know you sell-- you focus on high-end homes and luxury homes, but is this the trend that you see sticking beyond the pandemic? And then to tag off that, is this-- are you changing your business at all to try to benefit from the shift that we're seeing in consumer behavior?

TRACY TUTOR: I definitely think, you know, I'm going to take advantage of the shift, in terms of how I'm going to market properties. But I also would say, I mean, are you going to buy your house sight unseen or virtually? It's the greatest asset that we have. And in most cases, people are spending more money on their home than they are on anything else that they do in their lives. So I don't know how real virtual showings are. And in my opinion, and definitely in the market that I'm working in and the price points that I'm working in, no one has pulled the trigger on homes sight unseen.

We do have, in the developer world, if you've got teardowns or land or different distressed opportunities out there and you've got developers with the cash to have the-- you know, the place to actually put their money, then those-- that is a possibility but definitely not in the single-family world and not in the new-development world.

But you know, we're still putting things under contract. I'm still selling condos. I'm still moving most of our listings under $5 million. In some of the bigger ones, we're having to make a shift.

DAN ROBERTS: Tracy, Dan Roberts here. First of all, I agree with you about the virtual showings. I mean, personally, that's just not something I would do. I can't imagine that being appealing. I feel like too much has been made of that during this time. But I want to ask you, while we have you, about what you're seeing from young buyers.

And I know maybe you're not as often working with people in that age group, but we've talked so much on our shows about the trend we've seen accelerate during the pandemic of young people leaving New York faster. And I know you're in LA. I'm just wondering if you're seeing that in your world yet with people wanting to leave LA who might have otherwise spent another two or three years there and then gone elsewhere. Are you seeing an exodus from the city because of the pandemic?

TRACY TUTOR: I think what I am seeing, and particularly with the younger generations, is they're taking advantage of this opportunity. And I think we'll see more of the millennials and the younger generations buying their first homes and investing money in the towns that they live in. I'm not seeing a max exodus out of Los Angeles. I am seeing different generations that can afford to buy secondary homes in different markets and find a little bit more of escape.

Luckily, because we live in the great city that we do, we do have more space, and we have neighborhoods where you can get out and walk your dogs and we have backyards. And unfortunately, for the great city of New York, it is obviously a little bit more challenging being in a city like that where the population per capita is obviously much greater than what we're dealing with on the west coast.

MYLES UDLAND: And Tracy, of course, you're here to discuss your new book out today, "Fear Is Just a Four-Letter Word, How to Develop the Unstoppable Confidence to Own Any Room." So I guess that's a bit about the process of writing this book and what it's been like, I guess, launching a book virtually, right? I mean, I'm assuming you had a large national book tour planned, and maybe that will happen at some time later this year or next year. But it's been an amazing time. We've had a lot of authors on who talked about how it's interesting and, you know, just how compelling I guess it is to be putting out a new product at a time like this.

TRACY TUTOR: Yeah, I mean, talk about a challenge. It's already my first book, and that was a difficult thing to conquer and fear and all the things that come along with putting yourself out there in black and white is scary enough. And then to find out that, you know, there isn't going to be an opportunity for me to be doing a book tour, book signings, and connect with the audience and really sell it then became a different challenge. And I pivoted, and we've been doing a huge online campaign, and we've had great success. And so far, as of yesterday, it was number one on Amazon for women in business, which is exciting.

But you know, I wrote this book for women, and I really wanted to speak to my experience in the last 20 years and the failures and the successes that I had along the way. And you know, obviously, when you come into a world like this when you're dealing in multi-million dollar properties, there's a lot of challenging egos and dynamics and power every time that you walk into a room.

And I think for young women out there, coming into the workplace and figuring out what they want to do, whether you're an entrepreneur or in sales yourself, you know, you kind of want someone to be able to tell you, hey man, this is how it works, and I'm going to tell you the truth and shoot straight. And I never had that. So I hope that this book speaks to them and that they can find some sort of support and, you know, tip book that can really give them tangible guide to how to become confident and successful in this climate that we're living in.

MYLES UDLAND: And so I guess it sounds like it's sort of the book you always wish you could have read but didn't have a chance to read when you were coming up. So I guess plans for a second book then, right? The natural follow-up question for a first-time author on the day the book is published, what comes next?

TRACY TUTOR: I am just trying to get through today, Myles. But I will tell you, I feel, like, a ton of gratitude right now and today and in this last week and the amount of support across the country and even internationally that I've received from women all over the world that are like, you know what? I needed this, and thank you for writing it. Like, it brings me-- it makes it all worthwhile. So whatever happens with it-- pandemic, COVID, this universe that we're living in-- I think I will do it again.

MYLES UDLAND: All right, the book is called "Fear is Just a Four-Letter Word." Tracy Tutor, thanks so much for joining the program. Best of luck with this. Have fun I guess the rest of the year. Hopefully we can all get out of our quarantine soon.


MYLES UDLAND: Take care. Be well.

TRACY TUTOR: That'd be amazing. Thank you for having me, you guys.