By JACQUELINE PRIMO | Assistant Managing Editor
As an award-winning real estate professional with 20 years of experience, Italian native Marco Rufo has represented clients all over the world. But it’s his work in Pacific Palisades as a Broker Associate and Luxury Properties Specialist with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices that keeps the Sunset Mesa resident passionate about his career today.
For Rufo, who began in the commercial arena and transitioned to residential real estate, the excitement of closing deals on multi-million-dollar residences in the Palisades is rivaled only by one thing: the joy he gets from his family. The self-professed family man recently chatted with the Palisadian-Post about his upbringing, his career path and what he and his loved ones like to do when he isn’t helping clients buy or sell their dream homes.
Jacqueline Primo: Tell me about your upbringing, as well as where you went to college and what you studied.
Marco Rufo: My family immigrated to this country from Italy when I was about 7 years old. I was born in a small town called San Donato, which is about 60 miles southeast of Rome.
At home as a child my language was Italian, and after coming to the United States, I grew up in West Newton, a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts.
Growing up I worked for my father’s construction company, building and designing homes throughout Boston. I went to school in Newton until I was 17 years old, at which time I moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA. I studied business and minored in theater, living in Westwood while I was attending school.
Primo: How did you get your start in real estate and how did your career progress from there? How did you come to work with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices?
Rufo: I started my real estate career in commercial real estate in Beverly Hills, where I lived from 1992-2008. I worked for myself and was involved in selling/buying over $400 million in transactions.
I specifically represented a Japanese conglomerate, and I became their exclusive real estate broker. We bought hotels (in Hawaii and Beverly Hills), resorts (in Canada, Palm Springs and San Diego) and many office buildings, the largest being the AT&T building in downtown LA for $96 million.
My commercial real estate days ended in the late ’90s, at which time I transitioned into residential real estate. I was part owner of a Century 21 office in LA and managed about 120 real estate agents. I sold my share to my partners in 2003. Then in 2004, I became one of the managers at Sotheby’s International Realty in Santa Monica and worked there for about three years.
I then moved to Pacific Palisades and was the Managing Broker for Miramar Coastal Properties for about three years and finally around the end of 2010 I started working for Prudential California Realty in Pacific Palisades, which is now Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.
Primo: What brought you to LA, and to Pacific Palisades specifically?
Rufo: When I lived in Beverly Hills I had purchased a piece of land in Malibu and built a 4,000 square-foot brand new traditional home, which I sold in 2013. During that process I landed in Pacific Palisades and purchased another piece of property, tore it down and built the 3,300 square-foot home in Sunset Mesa, where I currently live.
Primo: What does it mean to be a Luxury Properties Specialist?
Rufo: Luxury Properties Specialist is a designation to Brokers/Agents who sell property over a price-point of $3 million. My average sale is actually $4.5 million.
Primo: Tell me about how you approach new clients who are aiming to buy or sell a home.
Rufo: Approaching new clients is a process; it starts with a series of questions.
If you represent a buyer: 1) What do your finances look like? 2) Are you married or single? 3) What’s your timeframe? 4) How does your credit look? 5) What type of home/condo are you looking for and in what area?
If you represent a seller: 1) Why do you want to sell? 2) Where will you go? 3) How long have you lived here? 4) What’s your mortgage, if you have one? 5) How does your family feel about selling?
These questions are just the beginning. There are so many more.
Primo: What are some of the awards and accreditations you have earned throughout your 20 years of industry experience?
Rufo: I currently hold the following positions: 1) Director three years running at the Beverly Hills Greater Los Angeles Board of Realtors, and I have just been re-elected for another three years.
2) President of the Professional Standards Committee for the Beverly Hills Greater Los Angeles Board of Realtors, which is in charge of all arbitrations and mediations for the Board of Realtors.
3) President of the Grievance Committee for the Beverly Hills Greater Los Angeles Board of Realtors, which reviews and decides on all potential cases presented to the Board for hearing or dismissal.
4) I hold National Association of Realtors designations: e-PRO, GRI, ABR, CRS and SRES.
Primo: What do you and your family like to do for fun?
Rufo: My family is a big part of my life. I met my wife Paula in 2001 and we were married in 2003. We have two beautiful girls: Alexa, 10, and Olivia, 7. Both girls go to Corpus Christi School, which is right across the street from my office and that was very important to me.
I spend a lot of time with my girls. We love water sports in the summer, soccer, tennis and skiing in the winter. We just returned from Vail, Colorado and the skiing was amazing.
I live for my girls! I am very involved in their schooling and homework, and I make sure that every night we are together and there is a routine. I find my family is the joy of my life.