Josh Stein-Sapir is a partner with Keyes Real Estate. Their clients span from Pasadena to the Palisades. Even though he’s an east-coast kid, he knows the Los Angeles county real estate market extremely well.
Having a conversation with Josh Stein-Sapir of Keyes Real Estate will guarantee your time will not be wasted. His firm has a different approach to selling real estate. His partner is a real estate attorney and there are others on their team. They understand all the nuances of real estate contracts and how deals are made or broken.
Chat with Josh more and his infectious sense of humor comes out. He’s a self-proclaimed numbers nerd from Cleveland, Ohio. Josh left the mid-west to go to school in New York, where he lived for 10 years. His family is in real estate with a title, escrow and appraisals company. While attending Columbia University, Josh made ends meet by bartending and being a Notary Public. Even did a stint as a theater actor. But love brought him to California. And this is where he’s stayed. So why does he have an Irish Passport?
Listen to Josh’s story here.
Click here to read the transcript
From Los Angeles, this is the Echelon Radio Network.
Jerri Hemsworth 0:15
Hi, this is Jerri Hemsworth with Echelon Radio Podcast. And today I’m sitting with Josh Stein-Sapir.
Josh Stein-Sapir 0:22
Well said, yeah, not everyone gets it right.
Jerri Hemsworth 0:26
Why is that? Why don’t people get your name right?
Josh Stein-Sapir 0:28
There’s a hyphen and it confuses people.
Jerri Hemsworth 0:31
That throws everybody off.
Josh Stein-Sapir 0:32
Yeah. Well, we were afraid after Y2K was gonna like, erase us from every computer. So
Jerri Hemsworth 0:37
Yeah, we were out, right?
Josh Stein-Sapir 0:38
I can tell you that every single airline has my name in a different format. My wife who had a four letter last name is she brings it up on occasion.
Jerri Hemsworth 0:52
Well, you’re with Keyes Real Estate here in LA.
Josh Stein-Sapir 0:54
That is correct.
Jerri Hemsworth 0:56
What do you do with Keyes? Obviously, I know you’re a partner.
Josh Stein-Sapir 0:59
Yeah. So we are. We’re a real estate brokerage. But we, when I say we handle the whole city, and we handle every aspect, it’s actually the truth. We have a very, very broad world of experience. And actually, in terms of our scope, we do deals all over the state legitimately. But our main focus is LA County. That’s where the vast majority of our deals are. Actually, we just trademarked the phrase Pasadena to the Palisades.
Jerri Hemsworth 1:30
Josh Stein-Sapir 1:30
Jerri Hemsworth 1:31
That’s a good one.
Josh Stein-Sapir 1:32
Yeah. People love an alliteration. I was an English major. So I can speak to the power…
Jerri Hemsworth 1:36
Well, you had to because of your last name.
Josh Stein-Sapir 1:38
Yeah. Just to figure it out. I still remember misspelling it like my dad had me right. I misspelled it when I was in like fourth grade, terribly embarrassing. He forgave me I think.
Jerri Hemsworth 1:48
Well that’s good.
Josh Stein-Sapir 1:50
So we we have our one brick and mortar office in in Eagle Rock, right on Colorado Boulevard. And Eagle Rock Boulevard. And then my partner and I purchased our, our Palisades office at the end of last year, and we’re currently renovating it. So hopefully we’ll have it open in time for our holiday party.
Jerri Hemsworth 2:07
Oh, that would be great.
Josh Stein-Sapir 2:08
Yeah, so we’re legitimately Pasadena to the Palisades all all points above and below and in-between.
Jerri Hemsworth 2:13
And you and I were chatting earlier that you put a heck of a lot of miles on your car last year.
Josh Stein-Sapir 2:18
I tell people, they don’t believe me, I could have driven around the Earth last year, I drove 25,000 miles, I got my new car in April.
Jerri Hemsworth 2:26
Yes, This year.
Josh Stein-Sapir 2:28
This year, I and it is still still September, almost October. But in those months, I have driven just over 12,000 miles.
Jerri Hemsworth 2:37
My gosh, so you live in your car.
Josh Stein-Sapir 2:39
I spend a lot of time like I have family back East. So I’m able to make a lot of phone calls. But also, you know, I gotta call people all the time I get a call and yell at title reps. Just kidding, I call them and make firm requests.
Jerri Hemsworth 2:54
There you go. Firm requests. But again, we were we were chatting earlier, and your firm really is different. How so?
Josh Stein-Sapir 3:04
Well. So my, my partner is a practicing real estate attorney. So our approach to the transaction I feel is very different. I can tell you from my from my day to day because I see how the other half does it both on the buy side and sell side and our level of diligence preparation. And I think most importantly, our understanding of the contract. You know, I’m I am I am not an attorney, but I am an expert in the Residential Purchase Agreement, which is, you know, if you’re going to buy or sell a piece of residential property, and we do have a commercial practice as well. But if you are going to put me toe-to-toe with any other agent in the city, I’m supremely confident my knowledge of the contract.
Jerri Hemsworth 3:45
And you have a pretty decent sized staff that supports it.
Josh Stein-Sapir 3:49
Yeah. So we don’t I think one of the other brokerage models is get as many agents as you can, like, I got a call from another brokerage yesterday. And they were like, hey, we’d really like to, you know, talk to you about coming over. We have 80,000 agents, and I said, I have no desire to be 80,000 nationwide, which is I could I could get on a soapbox about the number of agents in the barrier to entry to my business to have the same licensure that I do. Yeah. But we do we do our business differently. It’s my partner and I and we are supported by a full-time staff, one of whom happens to be an attorney or director of compliance, Nar, is brilliant and diligent and and there are very few people who are up, you know, on the level we’ve experimented with trying to get new agents to see if we can get them to learn the ropes and even experienced agents, and it is very difficult to do this job correctly. There are a lot of people who can drag a deal over the finish line. I don’t think that many clients get the level of service and you know or as well for quite frankly is well protected is one that work with us.
Jerri Hemsworth 5:02
That’s very refreshing to hear. And as I had mentioned, I am going through a real estate transaction now but in another county, and having to send back the paperwork three times to the title companies is a little alarming.
Josh Stein-Sapir 5:18
But also I’d say that, you know, your agent should be the one who, as I said, sometimes I have to call and give strongly worded requests to title companies. Look, everybody’s working hard, just mistakes, mistakes happen from the other side, and you just have to be prepared for everything, there are 1000 moving parts to every real estate transaction. And there are no two deals that are the same
Jerri Hemsworth 5:41
That’s amazing to me is, is I’ve been involved on the business end of real estate transactions, a number of times, and every single one is so different. And it depends on if it’s your own home, or trustee, or, in my case, I’m a trustee, and are helping an elderly parent sell. Everything is completely different.
Josh Stein-Sapir 6:04
Completely different we have. I mean, in the past two months, we’ve probably seen I well, I mean, every deal is different. But as soon as I leave this podcast, I’m having a call advising at 1031 client. We have clients who are buying through, you know, buying for themselves who are getting getting gift funds, who are who have different financing opportunities. Sellers, who are who are trust with many different siblings, some have one side or one all the siblings have to sign. There are so many ways to, you know, hold property transact property to finance property. And, you know, one of the things I specifically like my place where I put a lot of focus on my practice, is Mortgage Finance. I’m a numbers guy, I love numbers, I really nerd out on the stuff, I get a lot of fulfillment about finding somebody the best, the best financing package for them. One of the things I tell someone who’s buying whether it’s a first time buyer, or someone who’s just, they don’t, maybe they weren’t advised in the same way as is, had they worked with me the first time around, is lenders are not one size fits all the same way that was not one size fits all. And you don’t just go to the bank where you have your money, and assume that they’re going to treat you right, there are a number of tricks to make sure that you get the best financing and in the climate that we’re in right now, which is volatile. It’s really important to I don’t want to say game the system but but understand the inner workings. And it’s, if you aren’t in it every day, it’s you know, it’s all French. And if you don’t have someone who really nerds out and studies this stuff, every single day, calls all the lenders, finds out what their new programs are, you know, if you have to have a 10% down loan, I’m gonna send you to a very different lender than if you’re, you know, 20 or 30% down or if you have 5% down, if you’re buying in a certain area, if you have a certain occupation, doctors, attorneys CPAs you have access to different different loan products. And actually, I just found out pilots and nurses. I just found new products for pilots and air. Yeah, it’s it’s incredibly nuanced.
Jerri Hemsworth 8:24
Josh Stein-Sapir 8:24
And it’s a lot to keep in your head.
Jerri Hemsworth 8:26
It’s not our father’s market.
Josh Stein-Sapir 8:28
It is not. It is not at all. Also…
Jerri Hemsworth 8:30
There were the big the big like what four banks, and that was it.
Josh Stein-Sapir 8:34
Yeah, it’s like, well, you’re just go you walk in and you shake hands with someone. Yep. It’s like that scene with Christopher Walken and Catch Me If You Can.
Jerri Hemsworth 8:44
So I’m gonna switch gears a little bit. Where were you born?
Josh Stein-Sapir 8:47
I was born in Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio.
Jerri Hemsworth 8:49
Josh Stein-Sapir 8:50
A wonderful place to be from
Jerri Hemsworth 8:51
But how long did you live there?
Josh Stein-Sapir 8:53
I lived there till I was 18. And then I moved to New York City for school. I lived there for about a decade. And then I chased a girl out here.
Jerri Hemsworth 9:01
Josh Stein-Sapir 9:02
We have kids now. It worked out great. Okay.
Jerri Hemsworth 9:05
That’s good. But what did you do when you were in New York, what you mentioned something about your family came out of real estate. And you’re born and bred…
Josh Stein-Sapir 9:17
I have about nine different answers to the questions. So I moved there for school. I went to Columbia. I was an English major. I also was a performer. And I was a theatre actor for for a number of years. And I would travel and do shows but I couldn’t. I couldn’t sing and dance. I could dance a little bit but I did not have a Broadway voice. Listeners Don’t be fooled by my sultry and nasally voice. But I also so as my sort of day slash night job, I was a bartender and also I was a notary public. My family businesses title escrow and appraisals. And actually my brother runs the company now we’ve had it since the, I think late 80s is when my father started it literally in our in our backyard with one employee.
Jerri Hemsworth 10:08
Josh Stein-Sapir 10:10
Yeah. And so I always carried my notary stamp on me and I’d go do loan closings and you know, if anyone had paperwork they need to notarize it was a surprisingly useful
Jerri Hemsworth 10:20
What a great way to make money when between gigs and things like that.
Josh Stein-Sapir 10:24
Yeah, I mean, look, when you’re a busboy and a bartender, any you do anything you can to make money.
Jerri Hemsworth 10:31
So another interesting question, I think here is if you were born in Cleveland, went to school in New York, lived in New York, and then came out here to California, how is it that you have an Irish passport?
Josh Stein-Sapir 10:45
Oh, the Irish passport. So my grandfather was born in Derry in 1902. And his family ended up obviously moving to the States. And it used to be I think they may have just changed the laws back because my my brother just got the passport for his kids like a week ago. And he asked me, he’s like, Oh, he’s like, You got to do it. I’ll give you all the instructions. So it used to be if your parent was born in Ireland, or if your parent had a passport, you could get one. So my father got my grandfather’s original handwritten and Gaelic birth certificate, got it to the Irish chancellor in Chicago, and my father was able to get a passport. Then once he had a passport, all the kids were able to get passports.
Jerri Hemsworth 11:30
Oh, my goodness.
Josh Stein-Sapir 11:31
Yeah, I renewed mine a couple years ago. So now I’m after talking to my brother yesterday, I think I’m gonna see if I can start the process for my boys.
Jerri Hemsworth 11:38
I was gonna say, Can you do it for your kids?
Josh Stein-Sapir 11:40
And one of my boys is blond haired blue eyed. The other one looks like me.
Jerri Hemsworth 11:44
My great grandfather was from Ireland. And so I don’t know if I have a birth certificate. Does it work well, retroactive?
Josh Stein-Sapir 11:51
Well, if it’s your great grandpa that you won’t be able to. It’s got to be a grandparent. Sorry,
Jerri Hemsworth 11:56
Missed it by one…
Josh Stein-Sapir 11:57
Should I adopt you?
Jerri Hemsworth 11:59
Josh Stein-Sapir 11:59
Jerri Hemsworth 12:00
Yeah. Okay. Yeah, sure. Sure.
Josh Stein-Sapir 12:02
Sure, come on. We have fun.
Jerri Hemsworth 12:04
I think you do! Josh, thank you for being with us today.
Josh Stein-Sapir 12:09
It’s my pleasure, I’ll come back anytime.
Jerri Hemsworth 12:11
Oh, awesome. Thank you.
Josh Stein-Sapir 12:13
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