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Best of the Best 2002: Home & Design: Best Realtors

Adele Cygelman

The Art of Marketing Architecture
In the hands of David Mossler, Michael Deasy, and Crosby Doe, the marketing of exceptional architectural properties has become a powerful tool. Since joining forces in the early 1980s, the partners of the Beverly Hills real estate company have excelled at running ads that marry provocative copy with Julius Shulman’s iconic architectural photography. “Our listings from the last 20 years are a compendium of every great architect who has practiced in L.A.,” says Deasy. The partners cater to connoisseurs of art and architecture, but they also take great pride in knowing that they have been instrumental in educating the public about historic preservation and restoration, especially in Southern California, with its strong diversity of buildings and styles and equally strong reputation for tearing down anything over 20 years old. “We try to bring in the correct buyer for a property, someone who understands and will restore it,” says Deasy. “Sellers always tell us that money isn’t as important as preserv-ing the asset.”

Each partner brings a distinct sensibility. Mossler is the traditionalist who prefers the work of Paul Williams and Craig Ellwood. Crosby Doe gravitates to Richard Neutra and Harwell Hamilton Harris. Deasy favors Irving Gill and Rudolph Schindler. “Our properties are unique,” says Mossler. “Fine architecture, like fine wine, improves with age, and its resale price should carry a premium.” 

Mossler, Deasy & Doe, 310.275.2222, www.architectureforsale.com

A Walking Historian
Few realtors have any serious in-depth knowledge about the history of houses and their pedigree. Jeff Hyland has been selling real estate in Beverly Hills, Holmby Hills, and Bel-Air with his partner Rick Hilton (grandson of hotelier Conrad, father of party girls Paris and Nicky) for so long that he reckons he has seen the inside of every great house in the area at least twice. He is an architectural historian who has contributed to books on Wallace Neff and Paul Williams; he coauthored The Estates of Beverly Hills; and he is a founding member of Christie’s Great Estates and a director of Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate.

“The first time I go to see a house, I walk through the front door, straight out the back door, all the way to the property line, and then I turn around so that I can see what I’m dealing with,” Hyland says. “You can always improve a house, but you can’t do anything about the land, and land is the greatest luxury.” Hyland has handled some of the most expensive transactions in Southern California over the past 20 years, including a recent sale in Malibu for $30 million, but even he can’t prevent people from tearing down a great piece of real estate. One recent tragedy he regrets: the Kollsman estate, the first celebrity house built in Beverly Hills by Wallace Neff for actor Fred Thompson and screenwriter Frances Marion. Paul Allen paid $20 million for the 120-acre property and then tore the house down. “That is a crime,” Hyland says. “When my clients bring in architects and interior designers, I get heavily involved in the process. Because, no matter what people say about wanting to live in a house forever, I know that the house will come back on the market at some point. And I want to be sure that when it does and I resell it, it’s in great shape.”

Jeff Hyland, Hilton & Hyland, 310.278.3311, www.hiltonhyland.com

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Photo by Nigel YoungFoster + Partners
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