Before he became a Los Angeles real estate agent with eXp Realty, David Ferrara was a top-notch Hollywood lighting pro who rubbed elbows with some of the world’s biggest stars: Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, Robert Downey Jr. and others. All of them, Ferrara said, were stellar people and he felt no butterflies being around such luminaries.
That was not the case this past July when Ferrara stood on the set of Jeopardy! and watched superstar host Alex Trebek walk into view.
“This was the start of Season 37. Alex had turned 80 the week before we taped. Every once in a while you meet someone so famous and iconic and there he is. You have so much experience of him and it’s a bit unreal to be with him. He’s very professional and just like you see him on camera. He’s a legend and an icon,’’ Ferrara said.
Like many of eXp’s exceptional field of real estate agents, Ferrara brings diverse skills, talent and brains to his job. A Connecticut native who grew up in Cleveland, Ferrara moved to Los Angeles in 1982 to attend UCLA. He’s been a Californian ever since, except for a stint living in New York City’s East Village after he walked away from the film industry in 2000.
“My career went out for a pack of smokes and never came back,’’ Ferrara said.
Ferrara Joined eXp for Its Commission Structure, Rev Share and Stock Awards
He’s been back in L.A. since 2013, making good on his expertise in the Southern California real estate market as an eXp agent. Ferrara grew to find a dynamic lacking in his film career, where on-set lighting work started to take a back seat to the industry’s increasing reliance on post-production technology. That’s not the case in real estate, where Ferrara’s Jeopardy!-worthy intelligence and memory give him an advantage in negotiating home sales on behalf of sellers and buyers in one of America’s biggest and most competitive markets.
“I was with Coldwell Banker, but joined eXp on August 7, 2020. A colleague from Sotheby’s was trying to recruit me to eXp and she didn’t join, but I did,’’ Ferrara said. Once he looked at the business model and the explosive growth of the world’s largest online brokerage, it was a no-brainer.
“The commission structure, capping, revenue share, stock awards. It is a business and I’m trying to maximize my income. Once the pandemic hit, a lot of what eXp had to offer looked even better, since real estate offices were closed and there were no open houses,’’ he said.
Timing the Buzzer Is a Critical Part of Gaining the Edge
In addition to finding eXp’s attractive business model suits his needs and expectations, Ferrara had fun this summer making it to Jeopardy! after so many years in which his friends encouraged him to show off his smarts and his trove of trivia knowledge. His hunches on getting an edge in playing the game turned out to be true during his two-day run on one of the world’s most popular and longest-running shows:
- Buzzer timing. “It’s all about the timing of the buzzer. On many clues, all three players know the answer. You’ll see contestants shaking the buzzer. It’s very frustrating. You can scan a clue and read it much faster than Alex, but they don’t allow you to buzz in until he finishes the clue and then a set of lights appears on the console when you can ring in. You try to time it by Alex’s voice, or by seeing the lights.”
- Categories. “I knew I could be competitive. I knew there would be anywhere from 2-8 answers that I would know and no one else would. The categories are so important. I knew I was going to win as soon as I saw the NYC category. Once I got control of the board and chose that category, I was on my way to the win.“
- Opponents. “Success doesn’t depend solely on you, but also on the performance of your opponents.”
The Classical Music Category Tripped Up Ferrara
Ferrara won the first show he appeared in on Sept. 16, despite getting the answer wrong to the Final Jeopardy! clue, “Obituaries called this man who died in 1820 a celebrated colonel, the first settler in Ky. & a man who delighted in perils & battle.” He answered “Who is Davey Crockett” when the correct answer was “Who is Daniel Boone.” Ferrara said he initially thought it was Boone, and even wrote the correct response before crossing it out. (“Whenever you see Kentucky, it’s Daniel Boone.”), but then got tripped up on the military reference and “outthought himself.” He ended the game with $4,977, good enough to get to the second night.
In the second show, which aired Sept. 17, Ferrara made a “true Daily Double” wager in the Double Jeopardy round a la James Holzhauer (“all in”) on the Classical Music clue, “1938 and 1972 films both called “The Great Waltz” focus on this composer.” Ferrara answered Shubert when the correct answer was Johann Strauss II. He lost his entire earnings at that point — $7,400 — but managed to fight back to be a contender in Final Jeopardy, but it wasn’t enough.
Ferrara jokingly says that now whenever something bad or frustrating happens, he looks up to the sky and shouts “Strauss!!”
Read more about eXp’s interesting and talented real estate agents.