This $250 Million Dollar Man doesn’t need bionics to be at the top of his game. Millennium Magazine talks with this popular power broker to learn what makes him a natural born phenomenon in the LA real estate biz.
By Lori Simmons Zelenko
It’s not bionics or cutthroat business tactics that make Josh Flagg a real estate record-breaker, selling the highest priced properties in Hollywood with a record that tops the $250 million mark in residential sales. The secret to such success for this star of Bravo TV’s Million Dollar Listings Los Angeles is one simple four letter word: LOVE.
“I love architecture. I love homes. I love people. And most of all I love going to work every day,” Josh exults. After a decade in real estate, Josh Flagg is going strong spurred by joy and genuine enthusiasm – “I love what I do. It’s a great job. A great profession. Every day is so exciting, so spontaneous.”
At the top of his game, he’s earned his reputation among elite brokers with posh and pricey sales of the most expensive homes in Brentwood and Beverly Hills south of Sunset Blvd. The listing agent for the famed Dorothy Chandler Estate in Hancock Park and Merv Griffin’s vast Bel Air estate, Josh is no stranger to helping celebrities find their dream homes; he counts Adam Levine (Maroon 5 and NBC’s The Voice) among his clients, selling him a place in Beverly Hills for just under $5 million – not an over-the-top amount in the LA real estate market.
No wonder Hitchcock’s Rear Window is his favorite movie! But not to dwell on Josh’s fascination with the inner life of buildings and the motivation of past, present or future inhabitants, this dashing Gucci-clad young man (he’s not even 30 yet!) is far from superficial. Though the scion of two important high net worth LA families, the Flaggs and the Platts, and a fourth generation native Angeleno, he is passionately dedicated to his charity work as he continues the family legacy and raises funds for Holocaust education. Josh finds great inspiration in his Romanian-born Grandmother Edith Flagg, a pillar of the California apparel industry (known for bringing polyester to America) and herself a Holocaust survivor. He credits this self-made woman with teaching him values grounded in integrity and honesty – the reason he says business is so good.
Now in her 90s, Grandma Edith continues to help him hone his work ethic appearing on Million Dollar Listings LA to offer advice and philosophical musings. He’s chronicled her life in his 2009 book, A Simple Girl: Stories My Grandmother Told Me revealing her ingenious survival during WWII – truly against all odds – giving new meaning to the concept of freedom fighter. Edith Flagg built a multi-million dollar women’s clothing company, one of most successful fashion labels of the past five decades, from just $5.00; but profits didn’t all stay in her pockets – she has given significant amounts to charity and still fights for those living on after the Holocaust. In fact, proceeds from sales of the book benefit the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.
Josh didn’t stop his literary career at simply chronicling his Grandmother Edith’s panoramic life, in 2011 he penned his own memoirs Million Dollar Agent: Brokering the Dream with humor and style, sharing adventures in the luxury real estate trade which has been his career since he graduated from Beverly Hills High in 2004. It didn’t take this prodigy long to make record sales, including the highest sale in the history of Brentwood Park not to mention equally impressive deals on exclusive Roxbury, Foothill and Monovale Drives. Before long Josh became one of Los Angeles’ hottest agents handling the sale of properties valued at as much as $25,000,000. Just as he is generous with charity so is he generous with advice since earning extraordinary recognition on Million Dollar Listings LA he’s become quite desirable on the lecture circuit, sharing inspirational lessons with those who aspire to equal success.
So what’s the key to his mega-success? A flair for the dramatic. Acknowledging that finding the perfect home is indeed a “gift,” he tied a giant red bow around an entire house. He’s distracted guests at an open house for a fixer-upper: How to get potential buyers to ignore a pool filled with green sludge? Bring in pretty girls, fine champagne and yes, get guests to wear construction hats and laugh at the contrast of luxury juxtaposed with an interior in need of more than a little imagination. Like his grandmother Edith whose imprint is strong, Josh does not perceive limitations. But such drive is not without a sense of humor: “My funniest experience so far was when I fell into the pool of a client’s house in the middle of a showing, clothes, jewelry and all! Well I couldn’t let that slow me down, so I put on the owner’s robe, threw on some slippers and continued the showing. The buyers sent me a pair of swim-trunks when we closed escrow.”
Travel is his passion and the best education he’s ever had, he reveals. He’s visited 50-plus countries but France is his favorite. After all Paris is one of the few cities in the world as exciting and glamorous as his hometown Beverly Hills. He’s gathered an eclectic collection – an unpredictable mix of art and antiques – from all corners of the globe, though diverse it all works together he says adding warmth and wonderful memories to the 1930s Spanish-style bungalow in the Hollywood Hills which Josh shares with his partner, interior designer Colton Thorn.
Of course appearing on the Bravo TV show has opened doors for Josh and without question it is the best thing, he says, that’s ever happened to him but it’s hardly gone to his head. Determined to be an entrepreneur since childhood, he looks to double production in his real estate business every year. But he’s taking it one day at a time, enjoying life, traveling and focusing on continuing the family legacy of furthering Holocaust education. Spending time with his family, his partner and his cocker spaniel, Godzilla, is never sacrificed for the work he loves so much. Josh has become an expert juggler keeping himself and everyone near and dear happy. “I don’t want to change anything. I look to the future and want to be doing the same thing I am doing now. I never want to retire.”