5 for Friday with Brian Heller of Sperry Van Ness/Rich Investment Real Estate Partners

Brian Heller, Senior Advisors, SVN/Rich Investments Real Estate Partners
Brian Heller, Senior Advisors, SVN/Rich Investments Real Estate Partners

This week, our 5 for Friday features Brian Heller, Senior Advisors with SVN/Rich Investment Real Estate Partners based out of Los Angeles, CA.

1. What is your geographic market and product specialty?
I specialize in commercial investment transactions in the Greater Los Angeles area; with further focus in the West Los Angeles submarkets including Beverly Hills, Westwood, Brentwood, Santa Monica, Palms, West Hollywood, and Pico-Robertson.  Additionally I’m part of a team with our Managing Partner Dan Baird and Advisor Michael Chang that collectively specializes in the areas including Downtown LA, Koreatown/Mid-Wilshire, Hollywood, and the San Fernando Valley.

My prime focus is representing clients in the acquisition and disposition of apartment buildings, sourcing real estate investment opportunities, marketing properties, negotiating contracts, financial and market analysis, 1031 exchanges, and escrow management.  Furthermore, I’m proficient in property management and am currently overseeing multi-family units in West Hollywood.

2. What’s your latest best practice tip that you can share?
Improve your social media presence on LinkedIn.  Have a strong profile with a professional photo along with your skills and experience, links to your Sperry Van Ness Bio, personal website, etc.  Add two or more connections weekly, and devote thirty minutes a week to posting off market deals, joining groups, and sharing news articles and personal updates with your sphere of influence, clients and related industry connections.  It’s a great way to add value to the relationship and helps illustrate you are an expert in your market and product type!

3. What’s been the biggest change over on how you run your business in the past decade?
Two Words: Constant Contact.  A good email marketing campaign is now more effective than a good call.  I’m not saying that cold and warm calling isn’t a huge part of our business, but if you can get the information to your entire client database in two seconds, and let them come back to you for more information, you’ve immediately determined who the top candidates are for the deal without having to make 2,500 calls.  If your deal doesn’t get sold from the “first responders” you can still make those calls.

4. What business book do you like to recommend to your colleagues?
“Getting To Yes” by Roger Fisher and William Ury. Bottom line, it’s all about negotiating the coveted “win-win” scenario and based on the work of the Harvard Negotiation Project, a group that deals continually with all levels of negotiation, conflict resolution from domestic business to international.

5. What’s a fun fact that not everyone knows about you?
I worked on several seasons of the acclaimed reality television show Survivor, helping to produce the Challenges and Rewards.  You can’t imagine how much time, effort, manpower, money, coordination and government support is required to make a hit television show, especially in China, where I lived for three months while on set.

*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

Office Spotlight with Sperry Van Ness | Rich Investment Real Estate Partners

This week, our Office Spotlight focuses on Sperry Van Ness | Rich Investment Real Estate Partners based out of Los Angeles, CA.

1. What has been your strategy for growing your firm and also your market share?

Like any brokerage company, recruiting is the key to both organizational and market share growth and I spend most of my time doing that.  There are three types of agents I target:

  • New-to-the-business. The new-to-the-business advisors are easiest to hire, but require sufficient training and mentoring and, in general, are “lower-probability” producers. I source leads for these types of agents through newspaper ads, local campus recruiting, and intern programs. While they’re typically more challenging to manage, they tend to more easily adapt and adhere to our work standards and the SVN culture.
  • Seasoned (or senior level). Mid-level and senior lever producers have been far more challenging to recruit, but often begin producing within a their first few months with the company.  I try to target agents that will complement our existing advisors. Thus far, I have agents that specialize in 5 of the major asset categories so we’re aggressively searching for a hospitality specialist who can round out the team. I also try to choose agents that are a fit to both our franchise’s and Sperry Van Ness’ culture.
  • Satellite.  Hiring satellite agents has enabled us to penetrate into territories where there is insufficient transaction volume to support a brick and mortar office. I often find little to no competition from national brokerage companies in these areas. And given that these locations are in outlying secondary and tertiary areas to our primary market, we are able to access higher yielding investment opportunities without having to go out of state.

2. What are some of the unique activities you do to motivate your team?

I provide the training, resources and support while setting challenging performance expectations then try to take a hands-off approach and let agents find their own system that works for them in accomplishing their goals. So I’m there when they need me but not there when they don’t need me.  I conduct quarterly and annual business plan meetings and try and connect on daily basis with the agents in the office and on a bi-weekly basis with my satellite advisors.

3. What’s been the biggest challenge on how you run your business over the last few years?

Fortunately, we’re past most of the branding issues we struggled with initially and are now gaining traction  in our market once again.  Recently, our challenges have been mostly market related: seller’s hesitant to sell for lack of viable uplegs, cap rates approaching sub-5 levels, and political and economic uncertainties on the horizon

4. How many Advisors/Staff did you have when you joined SVN? How many (in total) do you have now?

When I started the office in May 2010 we had 4. Today we have 37 and growing!



Sperry Van Ness | Rich Investment Real Estate Partners

David Rich, Managing Director of Sperry Van Ness | Rich Investment Real Estate Partners
David Rich, Managing Director of Sperry Van Ness | Rich Investment Real Estate Partners

David Rich

Managing Director

Sperry Van Ness | Rich Investment Real Estate Partners

Los Angeles, CA






*All Sperry Van Ness® offices are independently owned and operated.