Luxury real estate agent Heather Bilyeu, one of the stars on Bravo TV’s “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles,” is as business savvy as she is beautiful. From playing an integral role transacting over a half a billion dollars’ worth of real estate to leveraging the tumultuous waters of reality television to her career—and image–advantage, Bilyeu has established herself as a skilled luxury industry pro who’s got what it takes to succeed.
In fact, in addition to having been appointed as director of New Development for her team, heading all new construction from beautiful modern estates to multi-unit condo projects, she’s also mentoring and training Realtors and assistants on how to grow their own business and perfect their craft.
Amid the premier of the eighth season of Million Dollar Listing, which Bilyeu declares to be “unlike any other,” I checked in with this multi-tasking real estate mogul in-the-making for her thoughts on everything from living the L.A. luxury lifestyle to relationship advice. Yep, we went there. Here’s what she had to say.
What does the word “luxury” mean to you?
Luxury is treating yourself well – whether that means buying something extravagant like a pair of fabulous shoes, handbags, a vacation, or indulging in something that not everyone has, like a rare piece of art, caviar or a home. Or, simply creating convenience for yourself like a driver, private jet, or even a babysitter for the night. Luxury to me is about treating yourself to something special that you truly enjoy.
What do you love to splurge on?
The obvious splurge is shopping. I LOVE shoes, bags and clothes, but I have an excuse to splurge. As a real estate agent it’s obvious that I am my brand, so I have to play the part. I also like to splurge on travel. I remember how hard my mom worked when I was younger. She used to work non-stop and she missed out on travel because she never stopped to enjoy what she had created. Today, missing out on traveling is one of her regrets. I have made it a mission for myself to see as much of the world as possible. I just got back from Ibiza. I had the best time with my fiancé!
Where is your favorite travel destination?
I love to travel to Aspen. The mix of athletics, outdoors, good food and great fashion makes it a hot spot for me. I like that I get to enjoy nature and be physically in synch with it. My favorite restaurant in Aspen is Cache Cache. Aspen is always a fun trip to pack for. I always enjoy seeing the fashion that other women contribute to the experience, as well as add to it with my own. The laid-back lux vibe is what I really benefit from and, unlike other places, when I return home I actually feel like I went on vacation. My next stop is Capri and Positano though. I’m looking forward to exploring both places. I hear and see great things about them. Maybe it will be our honeymoon destination!
What kind of cuisine do you like?
I must be Italian at heart. I love Italian cuisine. It always hits the spot for me, and I don’t think I am alone on this one. My favorite Italian dish is Bucatini with spicy meatballs. Yum!
What is your best tip for “living fabulously”?
Living fabulously is anything that is mobile and can come to me. In L.A., it’s tough to accomplish all you want or need to do in a day, with the craziness of the city. The traffic is crazy! For those of you who have visited Los Angeles or live here, well, you know how tough it can be to get an errand done in this place. Time is something you cannot buy and cannot get enough of, so I really take advantage of the services that are available to come to my door. I have dog groomers come to my house, blowouts, make up, massage, stylist, food, language tutor, chef, doctors, shopping, the list goes on. This is a convenience that I am definitely willing to splurge on. They help me live fabulously. There are so many great apps out there that make this luxury accessible to everyone. A few of my go-to apps are HEAL, soothe, TheGLAMapp and postmates.
What is your top piece of career success advice irrespective of industry?
The best career advice I could give to anyone is “get a mentor.” When I got into real estate at 17 years old, I connected with the top female real estate agent in my company. I was a sponge. I soaked up every bit of information I could get. She was very generous in sharing her insight and embraced the idea of being a mentor to me. I offered my assistance in any way to her so that I could spend as much time with her and be exposed to how she ran her business. I learned so much from her and created a business relationship that was priceless. She eventually started to refer me leads that she did not have time for, had me hold open houses and she became available to me to answer any questions I had as well as provided guidance to my own deals. Having a mentor is key to your success in any business, and in life in general. It is important to be open to learning from others.
Any relationship wisdom you can share?
My relationship, as you may know, was recently put to the test. Josh and I hit rock bottom for a moment and I thought we were not going to recover from it, but we always knew in our gut that we wanted to be together, regardless of the troubles. We looked for help, and we received some great advice from a therapist. One day she said to us both something that really resonated and helped us “get it.” She said, “You are going to hurt each other’s feelings throughout your relationship. It’s inevitable, but the way you react to having your feelings hurt is what is damaging to the relationship.” This really clicked with both of us.
Basically, when a partner hurts us, we tend to react, and react in big dramatic ways that have a painful effect and serve no positive purpose. It is these reactions that really become useless and highly unbeneficial to reaching a solution. Managing your reactions and being able to speak from your own experience of emotions, as well as understanding the reason behind your partner’s actions or words, goes a long way. It is something that you learn together to do along the way. It is a difficult concept to understand and more so to put to practice, but once you get it, boy, does it work! It has really changed our relationship and has led our relationship journey to a more mature and effective communication.
It worked for us.
Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.