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Kurt Rappaport: Real estate agent to the stars

Kurt Rappaport
Kurt Rappaport, photographed in Beverly Hills on April 2, 2019.
(Jeff Newton Studio )
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When Jay-Z and Beyoncé broke a California record by dropping $200 million on a Malibu mansion last year, a familiar name was front and center on the deal: Kurt Rappaport.

The 53-year-old real estate power broker represented both the buyers and the sellers in the historic sale — an accomplishment in itself that likely pocketed him several million dollars in commissions. But at this point, it would be stranger if Rappaport 丑补诲苍’迟 been involved in the transaction. He’s handled seven of the 10 most expensive home sales in California history, and the $200-million deal eclipsed the previous high of $177 million, which he had set two years prior.

Discover the changemakers who are shaping every cultural corner of Los Angeles. This week we bring you The Money, a collection of bankers, political bundlers, philanthropists and others whose deep pockets give them their juice. Come back each Sunday for another installment.

Southern California’s real estate scene is one of the most lucrative in the world, and it’s definitely the most public. Millions of people track who’s buying what, where, how much they paid, how many bedrooms, and how big the pool is. In the age of social media, “house porn” is its own industry.

Rappaport, a Los Angeles native, sits atop it all. In his role as Southern California’s premier real estate agent, he serves as a matchmaker of sorts, taking some of the wealthiest and most famous people on the planet and guiding them to specific properties or neighborhoods.

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He also moves markets. Take Malibu, which Rappaport and his most prolific client, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, have transformed into one of the most expensive markets on Earth over the last two decades by buying dozens of properties and developing one-of-a-kind trophy homes that sell for record sums.

As Southern California’s premier real estate agent, he serves as a matchmaker of sorts.

Rappaport’s other clients have included David Geffen, Brad Pitt, Ellen DeGeneres, Ryan Seacrest and Tom Brady, among many, many others. Last year at his French-style manor in Brentwood Park, he hosted President Biden for a roundtable meeting with California mega-donors to discuss wars, divisiveness and ways to improve the country.

Through a constant flow of emails and texts, he has the ear of almost every noteworthy person looking to buy or sell a home around L.A., and he holds plenty of influence over what and where they shop. Billions in sales translates to millions in taxes for local governments, so whether a neighborhood is hot or cold can have a monumental impact.

Like fine art, a home is only worth what someone will pay for it, and Rappaport helps dictate what that number is. When the next record is set — when a billionaire pays $250 million, $300 million or $500 million for one of Southern California’s finest estates — Rappaport will likely be the one behind the deal.

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