Working in luxury real estate may appear glamorous, with visions of high commissions and rubbing shoulders with millionaires and billionaires. However, behind the scenes, ambitious estate agents like Vanesa Tonova and Krish Mistry are navigating a challenging and high-risk world. This is the untold story of young agents daring to enter the exclusive realm of multi-million-pound property sales.
Vanesa and Krish, featured on the BBC’s “Crazy Rich Agents: Selling Dream Homes,” made a bold move when they joined the London branch of an international estate agency. They left behind the security of a monthly salary for a commission-only structure, where they only earned when they sealed a deal.
“It’s totally high-risk, high-reward,” Krish, a 23-year-old from Milton Keynes, explains. “But for me, it’s fascinating to walk into something like an £8m or £10m house to see how the other half live. This whole world of luxury real estate, it takes you back a little bit.”
Chasing Big Commissions
For Vanesa, a 25-year-old former model living in London, the allure of substantial commissions was a major draw. “Obviously the money was a big motivation for me,” she says. “Everyone that works in such target-driven, performance-driven jobs, for us money is a big thing.”
Krish, on the other hand, saw an opportunity to support his parents. “My parents sacrificed a lot and they deserve so much more than what they have right now,” he says.
Despite dealing with millionaires and billionaires, Krish still resides with his parents due to the soaring house prices. “One thing I’ve taken away from all these multi-millionaires and billionaires is you’ve got to see how you can potentially add value to a house and, at the moment where I live, I just don’t see any value in a lot of the properties out there,” he explains.
The Reality of the Luxury Market
Vanesa and Krish agree that behind the glamour, the industry can be brutal. “People don’t see the hard work that goes behind it,” Krish says.
Vanesa, during her time on “Crazy Rich Agents,” spent a year trying to break into the commission-only industry, relying on her mother’s financial support and working as a babysitter to make ends meet. While she successfully secured high-end listings, including a Caribbean villa and a mansion in Monaco, making actual sales proved challenging.
“It’s all about your network, so you need to really hustle to find not only sellers but then to find buyers – and finding buyers for £10m or £15m houses is not an easy task. It’s very, very hard,” Vanesa shares.
Krish adds, “When stepping into the high-end luxury market as an agent, you need to be fully prepared and to have significant financial backing. Otherwise, you can’t really survive, and there is no guarantee you’re going to make a sale.”
The Pressure of Perfection
Despite the stress, Vanesa didn’t let it show to potential clients. “Ultra-high-worth individuals probably wouldn’t want to work with you if you’re stressed,” she remarks. “You need to be really on top of your game all the time.”
Ultimately, Vanesa transitioned to a corporate property agency in South Kensington, offering a stable salary with commission on top.
The world of luxury real estate, as revealed by the experiences of Vanesa Tonova and Krish Mistry, is not all glitz and glamour. While the potential for high commissions is alluring, it comes with high risks and immense competition. These young agents dare to venture where few tread, pursuing their dreams in the world of multi-million-pound property sales.
Read more relevant stories: