Brokers dish on how to keep their celeb buyers’ identities secret

Real estate agents hoping to work with celebrity client need more than an intimate knowledge of swank properties. They need to protect their clients identities.

The WSJ recently chronicled the dos and don’ts of how a broker can keep a celeb client’s property search shrouded in secrecy.

Some tactics include: imposing a no-cellphone rule during showings, asking the seller’s staff to vacate the property and using fake names for buyers. One agent, Josh Altman of Douglas Elliman in Los Angeles, who has worked with the likes of Julia Roberts and Neil Young, says he will borrow his wife’s car for exclusive showings so paparazzi can’t identify his vehicle. Some agents even make those involved in the sales process — photographers and home inspectors — sign NDAs.

Another tactic the Hollywood elite employ is buying through an LLC — even going so far as putting manager’s or agent’s name on it and then setting up separate ownership paperwork.

If this all sounds rather cloak and dagger, well, it is. Case in point: one agent who has worked with Kim Kardashian West explains, “Sometimes my client will wear a hat and sunglasses.”

Still, celeb status isn’t all bad and can work to help make a deal happen in some cases. Some glitterati have used their elite status to draw more attention to their properties on the market. Writer Candace Bushnell of “Sex and the City” fame has done so as has actor Denis Leary’s wife, Ann.

However, Altman cautions his clients from promoting their properties via social media or doing interviews about them in the press. “We really don’t want the celebrity to be involved. The name does enough.” [WSJ]