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Norm Kerner was born in NYC in 1955. He grew up in the city-playing schoolyard basketball and rockin’ his Gibson ES-335 in a blues band. He went off to college at Wesleyan University in Connecticut-majored in Bio-Psychology and graduated in 1976. The big decision had to be made-apply to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine for their MD-PhD program-or-move to San Francisco, live in filth, and play in a punk rock band…hmmmm…Let’s see?? Well, 23 years later, after producing/engineering countless rock and alternative records, composing for film and TV, arranging and musical directing for artists for SNL and MTV, doing session work as a guitarist, bassist and singer, and designing, building and operating 2 well known and much beloved 24 track studios in the San Francisco area (Starlight Sound in the 80′s and Brilliant Studios in the 90′s), Norm decided that he had had enough of the music biz. He closed down Brilliant-put his gear in storage and moved to LA. He then began anew as a real estate agent for Coldwell Banker, bringing with him knowledge of all aspects of recording studio design, construction, management and operation. n 2007 he got on so well with a client who was buying a gorgeous estate in the Hollywood Hills with the hopes of putting in a world class recording studio that they became partners and designed and built what is now the reknowned Perfect Sound Studios which they have operated since 2009 (www.perfectsoundstudios.com). In 2012 he moved over to Prudential Los Feliz for the wonderful support and backing they give all their agents.
Through his many music biz contacts Norm began building his niche as THE go-to guy in So. Cal for finding a property with either an existing studio space or one that has the potential for one to be successfully built-as well as marketing these types of properties to their fullest potential for their owner/sellers. These can range from fully self contained pro-tools composer rooms all the way to serious world class tracking rooms and everything in-between. Often they are converted garage spaces as one might expect but there are many other configurations depending on the home size, shape etc as well as creative uses of multiple residence props (duplexes for live/work set-ups; two on a lot for guest house/2nd residence conversions). Sometimes it’s as simple as properly soundproofing a basement or bonus room and maybe added isolation for consoles +/or tracking-other times it can be either the complete conversion of an existing 2nd structure on a property or the creation from scratch of a whole new structure. Norm also handles commercial property as well so works with warehouse spaces of all types. Whatever the situation, having a real estate agent who has designed and built studios and worked in countless others is a benefit to any potential buyer/seller that can’t be ignored. Why?
Any agent can do a keyword search on the MLS and find properties that are listed as having some sort of studio space. These agents, might, over time even pick up some of the lingo of the recording world and actually sound like they have a reason to call themselves “Studio Specialists”. Maybe they’re married to an engineer or once were in a rock band. That pretty much covers the ½ doz. agents here in So Cal who advertises themselves as such. Well-forgive the rather large chip on my shoulder but that is entirely insufficient to be able to foresee any of the countless huge potholes that especially first time buyers can fall into when either taking over an existing studio or building one from scratch, whether on a residential lot or at a warehouse space. Let’s skip over the dozens of technical aspects that must be addresses and go right to zoning. Do you know that the minute you take any “payment” for studio time, be it money or a fresh baked pie at your residential “PRIVATE” studio that you are running a business in an area not zoned for commercial use? Do you know all the implications of that? I do. I am partners in a studio that I co-designed, built from scratch and opened in the Hollywood Hills in a private estate called Perfect Sound. Go there (www.perfectsoundstudios.com) -take a look and tell me if you think there might be someone better qualified to be your real estate agent on your buying search.
How about if you have a studio property of any type and need to sell it? Do you know that for everyone coming to see your property as a potential buyer that does not care about having a studio on site that your studio is not just “not a plus” but it is a serious negative?. These buyers can consider buying your house only after figuring out how much it will cost to rip out your well designed, sonically perfect, quietly air conditioned mixing suite. The better built and designed your studio the more if will cost to demolish. The appraiser sent there by the potential buyer’s lender will not give a penny of “extra value” to your studio either if building it did not add permitted square footage to your property profile. Keyword? Permitted! So what is the only way to hope to get a potential buyer to actually pay for what you have constructed and designed and perfected? Simple-have studio professionals see the place. Producers….engineers….mixers…. don’t imagine that any other real estate agent would even bother making the argument that they know as many industry pros on a friendly basis as I do after 30 years of producing and engineering in studios around the world. I know who to call and who to drag out to see your place. They may not love your design-they may have an idea of their own-but I guarantee you they will value and appreciate what you have done and understand and work from the mindset of “How much of this studio can I keep as is and work with to create my own vision?” . These are the buyers that you want.
ATTENTION CIVILIANS !!!
And what about all of you that may want to buy or sell a property that aren’t concerned with studio spaces at this point in time? Why is Norm someone that you should contact even if you are a non-studio person? Well…besides the fact the he is scary smart, pretty darn funny and a decisively NYC created hardassed advocate for your rights and your money in an escrow situation, you might also consider contacting Norm if the whole thought of a real estate agent is kinda creepy to you. Believe me-most of them do give Norm the creeps…that whole “have a SUPER day” thing….the obligatory “hey aren’t I successful” cars…that’s not his thing at all.…so if you’re somewhat of an creative/non-mainstream person- talk to Norm and see if you connect. LET ME SAY IT AGAIN: Norm works incredibly hard for his clients-not just to get you into the right escrow but to protect your rights/money all through the process-which means the closing and sometimes even beyond if problems arise. If any of this sounds inspiring-go to Contact Information now.
Thanks for reading. Be Well