There is a perception that to become a top agent in LA’s highly competitive real estate market, you need a network of contacts. Referrals and networking are the foundation of our success. Or, as one wag said recently, “You have to know the rich.”
But one agent, Ruby Home’s Tony Mariotti, breaks that mold. Last year, he represented the purchaser of his $17.5 million Malibu beach house owned by Skrillex, and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with his $2.3 million Pied Door purchase of his tail in Hollywood. Def played Leopard’s Joe as Elliot. mud.
Marriott’s clients on these sales were not connected to him by referral or word of mouth. They only found him via his Ruby Home website. Marriotti has expertly optimized this website of his to rank him on page 1 of his Google searches for multiple terms. Typing “luxury homes los angeles” brings up Ruby Home as the fifth result. Enter “Bird Streets homes,” “Los Angeles penthouses,” or “Trousdale Estates,” and Mariotti’s site will overtake his Zillow to rank number one for him. Mariotti will bring in a total of $33 million in sales in Southern California in 2021, up from his $5 million the year before.
Mariotti leveraged his background in digital publishing to capture these top results, which generated customer leads and ultimately sales. “I know what digital publishers are trying to do to get attention and ad impressions,” says the agent. “I took a publishing mindset into building Ruby Home.”
To that end, along with real estate listings, he began publishing blog posts on the architecture and features of various neighborhoods around Los Angeles on the Ruby Home website. “I was hoping I could write about something I love: the architectural neighborhood, the industry, etc. All three are closely linked, especially in LA. Maybe people will show up and read.” [for example] Victorian homes on Carroll Avenue,” he says. “I’ve created evergreen content about my neighborhood. He wants to outperform Zillow, Trulia and Redfin, who just offer homes for sale.”
Mariotti, who grew up in the Pacific Northwest, launched Ruby Home in 2017 and didn’t even try to make a real estate deal in the first few years, despite having a real estate license. “It was just getting decent traffic. In 2019, maybe 20 or 30 people signed up [on the website] Monthly or make screening requests. I ignored them. I wasn’t for sale,” he said, adding that he originally got a real estate license simply “to get a feed of listings on my website.”
Eventually, people who signed up for the Ruby Home website started contacting Mariotti about buying a home. “I’ve had celebrity wives, and celebrities themselves, including Tommy Lee, have been texting me,” says Mariotti (although the Mötley Crue locker deal never happened. .)
His first sale was in 2019. It was an “accident,” he says.
“I got a call at nine o’clock one night. It was a woman looking for a home in Beechwood Canyon. She was interested in trees and a large backyard. Two weeks later, she bought a house for $2.8 million.” (At the time, Mariotti was operating as a real estate broker through broker United Real Estate. says Mariotti, in contrast to many real estate brokers who take a percentage of the broker’s commission.)
His biggest sale to date was representing the buyer of Skrillex’s Malibu beach house. A buyer searched online and he found Mariotti. “They found us and registered on the website. They were overseas Australian clients who had invested in luxury properties around the world. We wanted to stay and see the Malibu home, and they said, ‘Our budget is $20 million.’ All right, let’s go,” he recalls Mariotti.
Last November, Marriott took its business one step further. He founded Ruby Home as a middleman and now counts two of his other agents, Judy Lin Young and Beata Mandell, as part of his team. (Young said she joined in the summer of 2020, but Mandell “suddenly approached me to join RubyHome after repeatedly seeing it appear on search engine results pages. ’” he says.)
Mariotti, which also sells in the Pacific Northwest, generated $40 million in overall sales in 2021. That doesn’t mean he’s in the upper echelons of his agent, his LA top seller, but Coldwell Banker’s Jade Mills, for example, has sold his $471 million. Mariotti has expressed his surprise at selling his celebrity beach house for nearly $20 million.
“I didn’t think it was coming. If you had told me five years ago, ‘We’re going to do it,’ I wouldn’t have believed it.”