In between gearing up for season 14 of Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles and dominating the luxury real estate market, Josh Altman found time for an all new endeavor—BidMyListing— which prompts agents to put in their own money to compete for a homeowners' listing. Following the launch of the "matchmaking" digital marketplace for homeowners and agents, Altman spoke with Modern Luxury about disrupting the industry, getting real about the housing market and what to expect from the new season of MDLLA.
Tell us about the inception of BidMyListing! What catalyzed this new venture?
I would say almost four years ago now, maybe three and a half years ago, I met Matt Proman through a contact of mine. He had an idea for this and he had me in mind randomly. And actually I ended up meeting him at a bar in Beverly Hills. He said, “Oh my god, I gotta talk to you. I got an idea and you're exactly who I thought about partnering up with for this idea.” And I said, “Sure. Tell me about it.” He said, “Well, I had an issue when I was selling my house in New York. My issue was that I felt my agent had no skin in the game. I felt like he didn't care if the house sold or not. He wasn't doing anything as far as marketing the house. Just a real lackadaisical attitude…[So] I was trying to figure out a way where agents have skin in the game.”
BidMyListing helps you make smart decisions about real estate. It is the first online residential real estate marketplace to match home sellers with expert agents in their area who bid on the opportunity to represent the sale of their homes. Homeowners are “smart matched” to receive offers from top agents in their area and they get paid upfront for the right to exclusively list their property. Agents bid on the listings they are confident they can sell. A win-win for all.
What are your long-term goals for the future of BidMyListing?
It's to change the process. It's to bring something into the business that will help both the seller and the agent. You have somebody working to sell your house that already has skin in the game. What better situation than that where you know that agent is going to do everything in their power to get your home sold? Otherwise, they're going to be out marketing money. Me, as a home seller, that would make me feel much better. I'm going to have access to 50 local agents that are willing to step up.
Also, it's evening out the playing field for agents. I’m a bet in this business at this point, selling well over $5 billion worth of residential real estate. For somebody new in the business to have an opportunity to go after the same listings as someone like The Altman Brothers, that's just priceless because I remember when it was my first year in business and I couldn't get a listing for the life of me.
Do you have any important tips for buyers and sellers in the current housing market?
I think that this type of market weeds out the unrealistic sellers because the market is going to dictate the price and if something's not moving at this point, they're going to have to adjust because you got to realize that buyers who were looking at spending $2 million, for instance, just a few months ago, now can really only afford $1 million. So there's a different buyer bracket that we're going to be seeing in this market because rates have doubled from where they were six months ago.
But again, it all goes back to having the right agent and BidMyListing is going to get you the right agent. The experts are going to have their ears to the ground and they are going to be able to guide you in the correct direction of how to approach a market like this. I can tell you for a buyer, it's all about the buy price. If you're an investor, you're not buying it right right now, it's not going to end well for you. As a seller, you have to be willing to give a little more than you gave before. Yeah, it's probably frustrating. You're probably annoyed that you didn't put your house on the market six months ago. But you just have to be aware that it's now going to be a different market. Where you might have thought you were going to get multiple offers, you might not. Where you thought you weren't going to have to throw in the furniture, you might have to. Where you thought you're going to get an all-cash, quick offer, it might be a longer escrow. All of those things are going to come into play, so it'll be really interesting to see. I do think our market in Los Angeles is still going to be very strong because of a lack of inventory. We're ready for it and so is BidMyListing.
You’ve been filming for Million Dollar Listing. What can fans look forward to from season 14?
It's been a crazy run. I think now, the show has really changed into a different direction than the last 13 seasons. It's more about the relationships of the agents and their home life, which has been really interesting. There’s always going to be great real estate of course; that’s how we all work, but you'll really get to see the evolution of the show as we dive more into our personal lives. I went from being cocky, young realtor-bachelor to a dad of two. Our business has changed, our approach has changed and there's a lot more family on this season, which seems like that's what the audience wants.
It's nice for a change, but of course you're going to see the crazy real estate as always. All of us are at the highest level of our careers that we've ever been, so stakes are always high.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Photography by: Courtesy BidMyListing