By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
The Post sat down with Ryan Jancula, Trevor Montano and Alden Cusick of My Westside Home to get a glimpse into the world of real estate from their perspectives.
Shmerling: Tell me about your childhood.
Jancula: My first house was on 911 Galloway. I was born at St. John’s in Santa Monica and went to high school in Malibu while living in the condos on Via De La Paz. I was very active in sports, mostly basketball and football.
Montano: I was born in Westlake Village and spent my entire childhood in Agoura Hills. I grew up playing football and was a part of the fire cadet program in my junior and senior year.
Cusick: I was born in Maui where I lived until I was 4 years old. My parents and I then moved to the Westside where we lived from Topanga to Beverlywood to Venice, until my parents settled in the Pacific Palisades. I went to elementary, middle and high school all in the Palisades and grew up loving to play basketball. I played through high school and I’m a die-hard Lakers fan. My other passion as a kid was, and still is, the ocean.
Shmerling: Where did you go to college and what did you study?
Jancula: I studied business administration and marketing at University of Oregon. I also studied business internationally in Shanghai, China. I obtained my real estate license when I was 20 years old, knowing I would always be in the industry.
Montano: I attended my four years at the University of Arizona and majored in regional development and business. I interned at different real estate commercial companies while obtaining my license.
Cusick: I first went to LMU and then jumped around city colleges taking a wide variety of courses. I finally settled on architectural and real estate courses and obtained a real estate license. Knowing my career would be in architectural design, development and the sales of these homes.
Shmerling: What was your first job out of college? What led you to choose a career in real estate?
Jancula: I worked for Prudential Realty (now BHHS) as an assistant to a top broker in Palisades. I felt that my local knowledge, charisma and altruistic demeanor would be a great fit to get started in the brokerage world in my hometown in LA.
Montano: Upon graduation I immediately entered real estate. I first mentored under a well-known agent within the Pacific Palisades who provided me the foundation in order to achieve success.
Cusick: I have a travel bug. So, immediately after school I started bartending, which allowed me to travel and work at the same time. After starting in LA, I bartended at a yoga retreat/surf hotel in a little surf town in Panama. Eventually, I became excited to start my career in real estate and architectural design so I moved home and have been working hard ever since.
Shmerling: How does your background help you when working with clients to buy or sell a home?
Jancula: My grandmother was the all-time top-producing agent for Fred Sands Realtors from 1969-90. Being able to connect with long-time residents that knew her gives me a connection and understanding about the history of the Palisades and how special this community really is. Communicating these points from long-time sellers to new buyers gives an all-encompassing understanding that is a unique to our tailored approach.
Montano: Being able to closely relate to my clients through past experiences and upbringings has always given me an edge within my business.
Cusick: I have grown up around the real estate business my entire life. My father is an architect and a contractor, and my mother is an interior designer and an artist. I was raised in the Palisades, have deep roots to the community and a vast knowledge of the area. Naturally, these ingredients make the perfect recipe for a career in real estate, allowing me to help clients in all aspects of this business.
Shmerling: Do you represent homes in all neighborhoods of the Palisades?
Jancula: I have broken down every neighborhood and given detailed descriptions regarding each neighborhood’s character on our website. We are proud to speak and meet regularly with many homeowners from the Castellammare to the Riviera.
Montano: The Palisades is my primary focus. I help clients buy and sell anywhere Sunset Mesa to the Riviera.
Cusick: The Palisades is my bread and butter.
Shmerling: Tell me about how you approach new clients who are aiming to buy or sell a home.
Jancula: Much of our business is created by word of mouth and in-person meetings. We have put together some miraculous opportunities for our clients and we value our relationships with clients very closely while offering impeccable service that leads us to more business.
Shmerling: What are some of the most memorable homes you have sold or helped a client purchase?
Jancula: A small home on Bienveneda that was extremely difficult to sell, but ultimately I got it done. Either that or working with clients whom my grandmother had sold the same home 50 years ago.
Montano: Last year I conducted a deal where all three homes were contingent upon each other. There were so many moving parts throughout the entire process it always kept me on my toes. Each family was very happy with the final outcome.
Cusick: We have an incredible new listing at 1119 Monument that has been a fantastic experience. I have been involved from the construction stages of this home, making this the most memorable thus far in my career.
Shmerling: What are some current trends in real estate?
Jancula: There is a lot of uncertainty in the market right now with the volatility of stock market and uncertainty with elections and socioeconomic climate. One thing you cannot refute is the economy is moving and our community has seen such tremendous growth (including external factors like Caruso) that makes luxury markets like ours pretty well insulated from this volatility. I do believe that many sellers have caught a case of the price-too-high bug, which has led to increased inventory. Momentum is everything and with its slowing pace, sellers need to price accordingly.
Shmerling: What do you and your family like to do for fun?
Jancula: I am just 28, so I have time for having kids. I work a lot (probably too much) but I am a student of my profession and take great pride in the knowledge I have gained. In my spare time, I spend it with my wonderful girlfriend Chelsea. I love to give back to the community and have coached basketball in Palisades Park in years past. We are very excited to sponsor this year’s Caruso Palisades Village Tree Lighting on Nov. 25.
Montano: I love taking weekend getaways where I am able to work mobile for a couple of days. Whether that be driving down to Newport Beach or spending the weekend in Santa Barbara. I am fortunate enough to have my immediate family nearby where I can frequently get together with them.
Cusick: I have a passion for travel and the different cultures of the world. The music, the food, the sights and most of all, the people. I am fortunate to have met so many people in my travels that inspire me to keep learning, exploring and helping anywhere I’m able. In my free time I also enjoy sporting events, especially LA sports, concerts and the outdoors. I’m an avid surfer, which goes hand in hand with traveling, and I have a devotion and dedication toward the ocean.