Written by The Business Journal Staff
J.P. Shamshoian, President
What you do:
I ensure that our actions are true to our mission, that our clients and agents stay first in our priorities and that we are growing aggressively and responsibly.
I graduated with a double major in political science and creative writing from Emory University, and I have an MBA from Fresno State.
Married to Margaret Ann Shamshoian. Baby girl due in February.
How many Realtors currently work for you and how did your company get to be one of the highest-volume real estate offices in the Valley, Shamshoian?
We have about 155 Realtors under our flag. Our story is a testament to slow, responsible growth. We have never — and will never — focus on recruiting. As a company ethic, we feel that we owe a duty to our existing associates to focus our time on creating and maintaining the best possible environment for success.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in the market recently, Shamshoian?
The obvious answer here is the influence of technology on our business, but the way it has changed the business is not so obvious. For years, there was concern that Zillow and other sites would disintermediate the Realtor. On the contrary, though buyers and sellers are more knowledgeable in some ways, the lack of reliability of information and the added interest in housing has increased the demand for our services. We think the future is very bright for our industry.
What are the most important issues/challenges facing the real estate industry today, Shamshoian?
This may be a bit too wonky, but there are long standing statutory carve outs that allow for Realtors to enjoy independent contractor status instead of employee status. Those statutes are currently under attack, and if we have to reclassify our Realtors, it would cause tectonic changes to our industry. The public also needs to be aware that the mortgage interest deduction is constantly under attack. Losing our nation’s most time-honored and important tax break would change the nature of home ownership dramatically.
What do you say to people who ask you whether the market is going to go up or down in the future, Shamshoian?
Long term, that’s an easy question. We have a fixed supply of earth and an ever-increasing demand for it. Real estate has to go up over time. Short term, I think we have some mitigating factors to worry about. Rates look to be on the rise, which will lower purchasing power. Also, if the recent tragedy in Paris destabilizes our relative time of peace, we may see far reaching ripple effects touch our housing market. That said, I’m bullish on our market. Job growth is strong, it’s raining while I write this and high-speed rail (if it ever happens) promises to bring a fresh crop of upwardly mobile young people to the Valley.
What advice would you give a young person today who is considering a career in real estate, Shamshoian?
Expect to work hard. If you think selling real estate seems like an easy way to make a living, think again. Realtors play a pivotal role in their clients’ lives and the job requires a huge commitment of time and energy in order to be done the right way. Prepare for long, abnormal hours and commit yourself to honesty and professionalism.
What was the best advice you ever received and who did it come from?
A few years ago, my mom was going through a particularly tough time. She had a major health scare, both of her parents passed in a short window of time and she was going through a divorce. I asked her how she stayed so relentlessly positive all the time, and I’ll never forget her answer: “If you fill your heart with gratitude for all the good things in life, there isn’t much room left for sadness.”
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your career, Shamshoian?
My dad has been my professional role model, inspiration and, from time to time, my foil. He taught me how to lead with love, how to subvert my own interests to serve others and he’s forced me to take good risks, sometimes against my more conservative nature.
What are your roots in the Central Valley, Shamshoian?
Save for some time away for school, I have lived my entire life in Fresno. I’m a Northwest Fresno boy. I grew up at First Presbyterian Church, graduated from Bullard High School and never missed a Fresno State football or basketball game until well into my teens.
What was your very first job and what did you learn from it, Shamshoian?
I worked for my dad’s developing partner, Cyrus Madison, during summers in high school. I learned that there is no replacement for hard work. I was the worst employee in the history of employees in those days.
What do you like to do in your spare time, Shamshoian?
Free time is not a big part of my life right now, but when I have it, I love to listen to my wife play the piano and sing. I also spend a lot of time playing bad golf at San Joaquin Country Club and doing my part to add to obesity trends at Annex Kitchen.