News Column

Pocket sales yield plentiful profits

February 4, 2014

By Pat Maio, The Orange County Register

Feb. 04 --Welcome to Keith Muirhead's kingdom: Naples Island . Muirhead, owner of Equity Realtors, sold more than $50 million worth of homes in the rich enclave of Naples last year. He has sold some homes twice, and even three times. Some people have come to buy one home, only to end up with five for themselves, kids and guests. Yes, guests. Driving around in his Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG luxury sedan sports car, with license plates that read "Na pulls" -- the only ones he could get from the DMV to phonetically spell "Naples" -- Muirhead points to a who's who list of rich and famous whom he has sold homes to, wishes he had or would like to list if he had the opportunity. " Naples is a lifestyle," he said. "You walk to restaurants, the yacht club or kayak." Muirhead has sold homes to an inner circle of Long Beach movers and shakers that enjoys a luxurious life of canal living without the pretentiousness of private hillside cliff living in gated communities that dot the Palos Verdes Peninsula or Orange County's shorelines. Muirhead's well-known clients have included David Erickson , founder and chief executive of , and entrepreneur and banking consultant Glenn Russell . Next to Erickson's house on Naples Canal , Muirhead also sold a home to John Molina , chief financial officer of Long Beach -based Molina Healthcare Inc. , and his wife, Michelle Molina . Richard T. Briles and his wife, Keanna, bought five homes from Muirhead. Richard Briles was a principal with PB Fasteners, a company that manufactures aerospace fasteners, and that later was acquired in 2011 for an undisclosed price by Precision Castparts Corp. , a $9.2 billion aerospace company from Portland, Ore. Briles moved to Naples after living in Palos Verdes for several years. "I love it here," said Briles, who was spotted recently cruising the canals. Former Olympic swimmer Susie Atwood , who now runs a State Farm agency in Naples , also bought from Muirhead. Other notables who live in the glitzy island community with the Port of Long Beach's hulking container cranes looming in the background include Eric Johnson , co-owner of Legends Sports Bar in Belmont Shore and The Auld Dubliner in downtown Long Beach , and auto salesman Kent Browning , son of Richard Browning , who founded the Browning Automotive Group headquartered in Cerritos . Naples digs also are owned by James Parkhouse , who turned his Parkhouse Tire Inc. business in Southern California into one of the largest commercial tire dealerships in the region; Michael Crawford , an English actor and singer who originated the title role in "The Phantom of the Opera"; and Joseph Zucchero , the former owner and president of CALPLY, a wallboard business that he sold to gypsum maker USG Corp. a few years ago Muirhead has lived in Naples for more than three decades on Savona Walk , just a few doors down from Mayor Bob Foster . His specialty is pocket sales, which involve lining up buyers and sellers without using the very public Multiple Listing Service . The MLS data are public and list what homes are selling for, who is selling and where. They also show what prices homes sold at. Some benefits to pocket sales include better rates, more privacy for sellers and no favoritism, according to Muirhead. "You don't get the looky-loos," Muirhead said. ___ (c)2014 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.) Visit The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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Source: Orange County Register (CA)

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