David Smith with The Agency in Calabasas comes from a real estate family. Today, he still uses what he learned growing up South Carolina.
Growing up in South Carolina, David worked for the family construction and real estate development business. Not realizing at the time that he was creating building blocks, he started learning the ins and outs of real estate development from the age of 12. Then, after attending The Citidel (Military College of South Carolina where he learned leadership skills), he went back to work with his family until he moved to California in 1999. Today, his real estate practice is booming with The Agency in Calabasas, along with his wife, Tracy’s. Listen to David’s amusing and wonderful trek here.
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Intro Speaker 0:00
From Los Angeles, this is the Echelon Radio Network
Jerri Hemsworth 0:15
So this is Jerri Hemsworth with the Echelon Radio Podcast and today we’re talking with David Smith. How are you?
David Smith 0:22
I’m excellent. How are you doing today?
Jerri Hemsworth 0:24
I’m doing fine. I’m doing fine. So you’re with The agency?
David Smith 0:27
Correct. In Calabasas.
Jerri Hemsworth 0:28
David Smith 0:29
Jerri Hemsworth 0:30
Okay. And what do you do at The Agency?
David Smith 0:32
Well, I am a real estate broker with the agency in Calabasas. And obviously, what that means is I help people buy houses, sell houses. And we’ve been doing this in the state of California since 2004. And then my wife joined me about eight years ago, and she became a part of the team. So we work together. So we’re a husband and wife team. We tend to work with a lot of families. Because we get their plight, we get what they’re looking for. And really works well. But we also keep our business separate. She has hers, I have mine. So we learned early in life not to to give advice when we’re asked for advice, not to volunteer advice.
Jerri Hemsworth 1:11
Well, that’s pretty interesting. Because as you know, Brian, my husband and I, we work together. And we each have our own lanes. And that’s what’s really, really important. How have you and Tracy managed to balance the work, and have work conversations and separat it at home?
David Smith 1:34
It’s challenging. In the beginning, we had to learn the hard way, butting heads constantly, as I’m sure you did as well. But then we figured out the marriage is the most important thing. The family is the most important thing. So what knowing that what how, what’s the best way to treat what we do? We’re almost never in the office together. Almost never. And people joke about it. Like why are you married you? We’ve seen Tracy, but she hardly ever shows up? And she’s never here when you’re here?
Jerri Hemsworth 2:00
And does she have the same last name as you?
David Smith 2:02
Yes, yes, she does. So but Smith, I mean, there’s a million Tracy Smith, I’m sure but so we’ve, we’ve learned to… Again, I’ll come to her with questions. And now I’ve learned to say what do you think about this? What are your thoughts on this? And then she’ll do the same to me. But again, if we’ve learned to ask, if you want someone’s advice, but not necessarily volunteer it, you know, because that because she if I’m working with my clients, I have an idea of who they are, how they think how they work. You know, how I address them, how I present things, how they like things, right? And same thing with her. So me giving her advice on what she should do and what she should say. I don’t know who she’s dealing with. So they have different process that she and she has a different process. And they’re different than my clients and everybody’s looking for something different. So we try to stay within that model and it works.
Jerri Hemsworth 2:59
What are your typical clients?
David Smith 3:02
I’d say mostly up-sizers. And people who are looking to upside upside their homes. I’m sorry, upsize their homes. So we work a lot of those. We live in Calabasas, our offices in Calabasas. But we tend to work with a lot of the vast majority of them are coming probably in from other places to the valley. Or they’re upsizing from one place in the valley to another place in the valley. And one of the interesting things I’m doing right now is we’re getting ready to kind of rethinking our social content. But the one of things I’ve gone back to is interviewed actual clients and said, Hey, why don’t you use us? And what were the issues that you had? Why did you make your move? What was the big pain that made you made the move? Was there an aha moment? Were like, oh, my gosh, I’m out and trying to get an idea about what their pains were. So we can use that. And that’s the people that are coming along. But more than likely experiencing the same manner, because we’re finding a lot of them are in there in the same realm of what they were looking for than the want their wise. Yes. So that’s the vast majority of our clients.
Jerri Hemsworth 4:11
And so we just came through a very crazy time with the pandemic. Yes. And how did that impact your business? Positive negative?
David Smith 4:21
Oh, I think it ended up being very positive. That was that it seemed like there were literally two weeks where nobody knew what was going on in the world. It seemed like we were all at a standstill that we were wiping down free bags when they came in you now you look back and you laugh, but nobody knew. I was you know, wiping down your grocery bags as they were delivered to your house by a guy in a mask. Yeah, you know what I mean?
Jerri Hemsworth 4:45
I think we had a hazmat suit at one point, didn’t we?
David Smith 4:49
You felt everybody thought about it. I mean, we could have made millions on hazmat suits being delivered. But so then everybody just thought it was okay. And what was fascinating is we had probably more than ever people that live I would say more in the city, and the hustle and bustle of the city where the Downtown LA or that area around there. You know, Santa Monica, the west side, they wanted out in the valley, they wanted to get as far away as they could a lot of people moving from condos, townhouses, apartments, you know where you were close by everybody. Yeah, we wanted your own place, you wanted to be out a little more breathing room, in your backyard. And a lot of them were younger, a lot of single. And it was always a fascinating time. So that really churned and then a lot of people, as it progressed, really appreciated life and they re examined, myself included. What did they want from their house? It’s a lot more than just a house and a property and four walls and the number of bedrooms and number of baths. It’s a lifestyle choice.
Jerri Hemsworth 6:02
Yeah, especially if you have to be in it more than…
David Smith 6:06
100%… what do you want out of your house? How do you want to what’s your lifestyle? And for your family? Do you want more land people were moving because they wanted to view because they were like, I got a I got no view. I got barely a yard. It’s all hardscape …
Jerri Hemsworth 6:20
I’m looking into somebody else’s bathroom here. Why? Yeah.
David Smith 6:23
Why? So it really made everybody examine why they own their home. And everybody’s a lot of people seem to have the courage that didn’t do something about it. And so business picked up and it went went rather well.
Jerri Hemsworth 6:38
Yeah, that must have been fun to have those people experience a totally different way of living with than being in the condo or the apartment and look at what’s possible.
David Smith 6:51
Yeah, they really… one of the things I love about what I do is they came to us knowing you know where we are, and we’ve been doing it so long in this area. And it really we try to go by the trusted advisor role. That’s that’s the favorite role we play. Right we you have questions? I want to give you the answers, because I’ve experienced them. I’ve made this track that you’ve had when I was on the west side got married had my first kid. Oh, all I can afford is a two bedroom two bath condo, let me check out the valley. Oh, for the same price, I can get a pool and a yard and single family. This just makes all the sense in the world.
Jerri Hemsworth 7:27
That’s when you’re in the west side and you think of the valley it’s like this…
David Smith 7:32
negative connotation of what goes on in there right? Yeah. And so we became people came to us and go Alright, tell me about Calabasas. Tell me about Westlake. Tell me about Agoura? What does Woodland Hills have to offer? You know, I mean, it really, we learned and we got more in depth. And it was just honestly it was a lot of fun because it was like, well tell me what your lifestyle is like, what kind of life do you want to live? Oh, I want to be outside with my kids. My ideal situation. You know, my kids always wanted to pool I want them to have a pool. I want to be outdoors. I want to barbecue you know, in a movie theater, I want to have my kids friends over. I want to be close to school, you know, to want my kids to school. And you got to be a part of these people’s dreams, making them come true. And that is the it’s such a such a satisfying feel of helping guide people towards what fits them. And because of that time, they had to re examine it. I think we got a lot more fits in that time period. Yeah, it was it was a scary but it was a lot of fun to be of service …
Jerri Hemsworth 8:38
By the time we get through. Yeah, I mean, how fulfilling for both you and Tracy?
David Smith 8:43
Yeah, it was fun. It was added a sense of fun to it. That really gives you because we’re all looking for something in our job so fulfill us more besides a paycheck and going in and all that stuff. And that gives you a little bit of extra there and that’s it’s super super fun because then you’ve built relationships and you’ve gotten to know people and that really that is is that life relationships they say right so now you’re having relationships with other people and you can call and check on them. It’s great to hear from them and a lot of the time this time of year we do towards the holidays, we’ll drop off apple pies and sweet potato pies but it’s a it’s a little slice of Americana when you can call somebody go you know what I’m going to be bringing over the apple pies and sweet potato pie which one do you want this year people are so thankful so it’s a that’s why I gave him a choice. I’m not gonna get drop off one because somebody so but that it opened up. It just it made it more fun and just building relationships and you know, that’s rewarding part of life.
Jerri Hemsworth 9:45
And you’ve been in real estate for a while. You come from a real estate family.
David Smith 9:48
Yeah. So I grew up in a small town in South Carolina called York, South Carolina, right? I always joke is it’s not New York. It’s not old North York. It’s just good old plain York. Right in the middle. And so yeah, I grew up there. I grew up in the country, I grew up with two parents, I’m proud of them. They both just had a high school education. But they just worked. And my dad tried different things. And he was a plumber. And he was, he tried a bunch of different things. And then he got into being a water and sewage contractor. So basically puts in water and sewage lines for housing developments, blah, blah, blah. And then eventually, when I was younger, he put in a mobile home park for a couple of clients that hired him to put that in the water and sewage for that. He took that and said, Wait, man, I think I can do this. And every summer growing up since I was probably 11, or 12, I worked with him every summer, this is what I did. And then he did that. So his first part, I got to be a part of building. And I think I was 12 or 13. Right him and his construction crew and I was on the site the whole time. And that was still going today. He got into it. Then I helped him build other ones during the summer. Then I went to college. Then I came back after college then helped him build some more and build some for myself build some for my sister who was younger than me. And so the property management dealing in real estate buying lands going get the loan, watching the appraisal, all that kind of started being introduced around 12 or 13 For me, so I’ve watched him and my mom grow their business and they work together. So I learned some lessons today what not to do what to do. So I fell into that again. But yeah, so that’s, yeah, probably since I was 12 I text Yeah. Um, where
Jerri Hemsworth 11:35
did you go to school?
David Smith 11:36
I went to this called the Military College of South Carolina. It’s a citadel. It’s in Charleston. So I went to college there. You know, four years, I played football played lacrosse. The first year there it was probably the worst year of my life because it’s military and they shave your head and they give you pants that are too small and shorts that are too small… everything they do is to mess with you the first year to one they want you to leave. They want you to it’s like everything like um, so it’s a year of people… physically and mentally hazing you. Oh, right. And I you know, nothing crazy. But still. Yeah. So but but by the time you get to a senior, it’s probably the one of the best years of my life because now you’ve gone through it, you understand it? And now you’re running the show. And it’s always fascinating to see how people, you are on the bottom. But then when you’re at the top, how do you treat the people that are back at the bottom? Knowing that you’ve just come along that path? Yeah, you kind of know what they’re going through. Sure. So how do you how do you do that? I chose humor. Because you know, it’s military. It’s super tight and a lot of rules and regulations. So I tried to make everybody laugh a little bit thinking that it would help break the monotony and strain of it all.
Jerri Hemsworth 12:45
Did you stay in the military after?
David Smith 12:47
No, I thought about going into the military. I had classmates that went into the military. But no, I decided not to at that time. I thought it was going to oh, I’m dating this girl. We’re gonna get married. You know, that whole dream? And you know, so I went worked with my dad and then that fell apart. And so there there you have it
Jerri Hemsworth 13:06
And when did you come out to California?
David Smith 13:08
We came out in 1999. Okay, my roommate now is living in Charlotte, North Carolina, working developing real estate with my dad. And my roommate decided we’re young. We got nothing really holding us back. We don’t do it now. We’ll never do it. So we both said it would go off for a year. We’ll give it a shot. See what we think about it…
Jerri Hemsworth 13:25
Give it a chance.
David Smith 13:26
Yeah, we’ll say a year we’ll come back if we don’t like it. And he I met a girl from Michigan, got married, had two girls. He met a girl from Ohio, got married and had two boys. And he’s still here. Okay, he lives on the west side.
Jerri Hemsworth 13:40
He hasn’t made it to the valley yet.
David Smith 13:42
he’s stuck in. That’s right. He hasn’t stuck there yet. I’m working. But no, not yet.
Jerri Hemsworth 13:47
Come on out to the vans. Okay,
David Smith 13:49
the water’s fine out here. It’s perfect.
Jerri Hemsworth 13:51
I know. It’s very, very warm. A little
David Smith 13:54
more bang for your buck too, which is a bang for your buck guy. So that never hurts or for my money.
Jerri Hemsworth 14:00
So David, what do you do when you’re not working?
David Smith 14:03
So Tracy and I are big, you know, big on family time. And one of the reasons we got into this line of work was we really wanted to have time for a family that we wanted the book to stop with us. So as hard as we work, that’s how much that’s how successful we are. That’s how much money we make. But we wanted to have time so we could be there for the kids because we wanted to have a family. Right. And so that’s kind of what we do. We have two girls, one just turned 18. The other one is turning 16. I’ve coached their youth soccer teams. We’ve been there for recitals. My oldest is into music. So we’ve gotten to help been at every show she’s ever played. She plays the drums, guitar vocals, and now she’s taking that to her her life. And we just want to help them achieve what they want and what it is they want to achieve and just trying to help guide them. My youngest one is still kind of filling it out. She seems to have more of a business mind she’s more interested in stocks and bonds and real estate and she said, Dad for my 18th birthday. I don’t want to party. I want you to buy me some real estate. So I’ll work on that. But yeah, that sounds a lot easier. Yeah, that it is I should start. Thanks for the heads up.
Jerri Hemsworth 15:13
How about a piece of land in Indiana.
David Smith 15:16
That’s it. Colorado, right. We were just talking 22 acres for $16,000. I don’t know what you’ll do with it. It’s yours. Welcome.
Jerri Hemsworth 15:24
It’s all uphill. It’s just the side of a mountain that
David Smith 15:28
You can visit. There’s no place to stay unless you build. But it’s yours. Your little slice of Americana.
Jerri Hemsworth 15:35
She’d probably with that mind, she might find something to do with it. And
David Smith 15:38
I would be interested to see what what it’s what you said, you know, you have kids. So at the end of the day, it’s always interested to see where they end up and how they do.
Jerri Hemsworth 15:47
David, I will tell you, it is never where you think.
David Smith 15:51
I hear that consistently
Jerri Hemsworth 15:52
It is never where you think. And that’s what’s so fun about it.
David Smith 15:57
But that’s what that what’s the MICE AND MEN. Yeah, that’s what it says. Right? For sure. So that’s it life’s what happens when you’re busy planning life? Yeah. Right.
Jerri Hemsworth 16:07
So do you have any hobbies?
David Smith 16:10
So I’m a big college football fan. So I love Saturdays. So Saturdays are big. I’m a Clemson fan grew up there going to games. So I’ve college football is a big thing. And then obviously spending time with my kids but mostly college football reading. love being outside. I do all the decorating for Halloween. Do all the decorating for Christmas. So all out for Halloween. Oh, yeah, absolutely. I think I enjoy it more than my kids because my kids was like, look, look at this. We got this, that it did this. And then they move in their car, and then they’re gone. Right? I’m like, okay, who am I doing this for me?
Jerri Hemsworth 16:46
We got to the point. Well, I always tell Brian don’t get any candy. Because you know, there’s no trick or treat right where we live. Right? And every year he’s got a little bowl of candy. Yeah. But yeah, we gave up doing the pumpkin, pumpkin carving and decorating probably three, four years ago, something like that.
David Smith 17:08
Well, because it’s just because it’s just due to Yeah, yeah. And then
Jerri Hemsworth 17:12
and then you kind of go, Okay, what do we do now?
David Smith 17:16
Right. That’s what I’m afraid of. I can feel the clock ticking. Because one daughter is 18. She’ll be going to college. And then the two more years. And then the other one. I was like, man, we really feel that clock ticking. And then what do we do? Tracy and I talk about all the times like, what do we do? Yeah, no one’s here for you. Exactly.
Jerri Hemsworth 17:34
What do we time is back to your own? And then you have?
David Smith 17:37
It’s plentiful? Yeah. You don’t have to worry about anybody but yourself.
Jerri Hemsworth 17:40
And then and you think I don’t have to cook as many meals. I don’t have to clean and pick up somebody else’s shoes.
David Smith 17:49
But you probably miss it. Yeah. Probably at the beginning. Like wow, I could really like to take care of somebody like,
Jerri Hemsworth 17:54
okay, when you come home. I’ll make I’ll make pie.
David Smith 18:00
I saw this the other day where dad had said it was on Tik Tok or Instagram and it said he was sending photos of his daughter’s text to him at school. Like when she’s away from college. And the first one was like, hey, what color gasoline do I put in my car? It was like, I’m not sure how to answer that. It was like, Hey, um, you’d be the best dad in the world if I could use your car to order pizza. You know what I mean? Yeah, that’s that’s the beauty of it. Yeah, so
Jerri Hemsworth 18:32
yeah, you’re gonna blink. It doesn’t. David, thank you so much for being with me today.
David Smith 18:37
with Oh, it’s my pleasure. Have fun is always come back again, you know, anytime. Okeydoke thank you again. Appreciate it. Thanks. Yep.
Intro Speaker 18:46
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