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A Middle Eastern Powerhouse in Los Angeles: Meet Safir Shamsi

Safir Shamsi
Safir Shamsi is a real estate agent behind some of the city’s most fabulous properties. The Middle Eastern entrepreneur talks to Arabian Moda about his relationship with clients, his booming business and tips for real-estate investment.

AM: You launched a real estate career at the mere of 19, tell us more about your personal and professional route
It is quite nostalgic being asked this question. Given my day-to-day schedule, I at times forget what my driving force was getting into this industry in the first place. I remember graduating high school and like most 18-year-olds being lost and confused which road was right for me. Coming from a Middle Eastern family my options were pretty much limited to medicine or law, however, after one semester of college I quickly learned that my calling was elsewhere. I always had a passion for communication, architecture, and property. After taking some time to myself to reflect on how I can turn that into a career, I decided real estate was the direction I wanted to venture in.
AM: As a Middle Eastern entrepreneur, how is your relationship with the region like?
Being born and raised in an extremely Middle Eastern family, I have absolutely embraced everything the culture has to offer. From the hospitality, to the food, to the music and now seeing how Middle Eastern fashion has taken over with its recent designers. I feel blessed to be included in a new generational platform of creativity the Middle East is bringing to the United States.

Safir Shamsi

AM: Studio ROI is one of your new ventures, how does it complement your existing business?
Representing multiples investors over the years, many of them asked if I can also guide them in designing their properties to make it conducive to tenants or potential purchasers down the line when they go to sell or rent. After multiple projects and learning through experience, I established Studio ROI (Return on Investment) which is the design leg to my business. My team and I assess every property based off location, square footage, bed/bath count. We then prepare a budget for the seller/landlord and now buyers with projected income, or net proceeds, in order for their investment to be extremely lucrative, both short and long term. It has been the biggest asset to my company for my clients to see how Shamsi Properties and Studio ROI collaborate in not only transacting the sale, but also showing them the potential of what their largest asset can be with the right enhancements.
AM: Shamsi Properties is all about selling dream homes, how do you define what a “dream home” stands for?
Having started my career at an early age, many of my clients were first time home buyers which I to this day, am so grateful I had the opportunity to work with. It taught me patience, consistency, and the drive to learn more both about the industry, and how we can help one another achieve their goal in purchasing their first home. Through years of exposure, my advice to first time homebuyers is to see absolutely everything. I always joke that buying a property is somewhat like dating. You put yourself out there, test out what is for you and what is not until you ultimately find that one house that makes you feel at home. Also similar to dating, your dream home is at times one you have to create on your own. Something you see potential in that you can build and grow in. Walls are just walls, and nothing is a dream or a home until you create it yourself. Whether it’s the paint color you choose for your bedroom or the memories you create by hosting parties in, we are ultimately the creators of turning a house into a home. 

Safir Shamsi

AM: In your opinion, how early should one start investing in real-estate?
A piece of advice I would suggest to anyone looking to invest in real estate would be to start investing as early as you financially can. Acquiring property in Los Angeles has proven statistically to be one of the soundest financial investments one can make, and the earlier you get in the market the more time you have to use your first property as up-leg to build your portfolio.

AM: Some tips for international buyers seeking a purchase in the Los Angeles area?
A recent trend Los Angeles is currently undergoing is the rise of sales and demand for full-service luxury condominiums. This specifically applies to international buyers looking for a pied-à-terre in the city with little to no maintenance. Somewhere financially sound to park your money and simultaneously enjoy the Los Angeles lifestyle.
One of my last transactions was representing the buyer on the sale of unit 18A at the newly developed full-service Century Plaza Towers, designed by Pei Cobb Freed. The tower provides unparalleled panoramic views with 3-meter ceilings and floor-to-ceiling glass. The height of luxury amenities includes a pool, spa, locker rooms with steam/sauna, fitness center, screening room, library, game room, wine storage, dining rooms, and 24-hour concierge. Residence 18A is a three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom, 308 square meters residence complete with a formal entry foyer that leads directly into the expansive 10-meter great room, featuring a gas fireplace, and access to the 6-meter terrace offering breathtaking views from every angle. The primary bedroom features a private terrace, a closet, and an in-suite primary bathroom. For privacy, the second and third bedrooms, complete with in-suite bathrooms, are opposite the primary bedroom. Combining the ultimate in privacy and distinction, this residence features a private elevator lobby and is sold for $7,700,000 USD.

Safir Shamsi
AM: After all these years, can you mention one special sale?
A sale that was extra special to me was my own personal residence which was once home to David Bowie and his wife Iman Abdjulmajid in the 1990s. The building is historic and also once home to Marilyn Monroe, so the Hollywood history is absolutely unparalleled. I was beyond excited to be the new owner and restore the unit back to its original architectural integrity. Being a personal fan of music and high fashion, acquiring a property that once housed a musical superstar and fashion icon was exactly where I wanted to live.

AM: Would you consider expanding your business activities to the Middle East?
Definitely. I have been extremely fortunate to have a strong Middle Eastern clientele, both local and international, that has given me the foundation to look into expanding to Europe and the Middle East in real estate sales, development and design.
AM: Finally, a piece of advice to all the entrepreneurs out there?
Never be afraid to ask for what you want. Have confidence within yourself and always remember your worth. There will be times where doubt will try to bring you down but always remember that the fight to the top is worth it.

Photographer: Gavin Cater / Cater Photography