The Real Deal New York

“Million Dollar Listing NY”: The woke broker

Season 6, Episode 8 recap
By Kerry Barger | July 14, 2017 02:45PM

From left: Steve Gold, Fredrik Eklund and Ryan Serhant

On this week’s episode of “Million Dollar Listing New York,” Steve learns how to play nice with others, Ryan is haunted by the broker who was fired from a Chelsea condo project, and Fredrik considers the price of gentrification in New York City.

Here’s where we left off:

Boring is better!

No gimmicks. No naked people in body paint. And definitely no Lady Gaga.

Ryan’s known to go a little (okay — way, way) over the top when it comes to his open houses. You’d think he’d apply the same wit and shtick to his latest development in Chelsea, which, until he was commissioned for the project, had sold just one of seven units in seven months’ time. But alas, Ryan packs up his party pants and decides to do nothing at all to debut the units under his brokership. The most entertaining part of his “party” is when he attempts to explain why he failed to go big or go home to a room of brokers expecting an ice luge, a pack of dancing squirrels or at the very least some music — anything at all!

“These are well priced apartments, and that’s what I want the event to be!” Ryan says.

Right.

Ryan’s hard work (or lack thereof) pays off, but unfortunately, it’s not in the way he expects. Following the open house, his seller Matt reaches out with the good news that he’s accepted an offer for the building’s second penthouse. Great! Only not great, because it’s not Ryan’s client. The buyer is from the broker who got axed from the project, and because of an exclusion clause in the contract, Ryan isn’t entitled to the commission. Good news for the developer, bad news for our bearded buddy.

He gets cracking on the five remaining units, but egads! The former broker and his band of buyers strike again. Ryan loses yet another listing (and commission), but apparently has an offer of his own up his sleeve. Originally $4.3 million, Ryan gets the buyer up to $4.5 million — and Matt agrees to let him sell all of the remaining apartments.

Work as woke

Fredrik spends less time this episode selling real estate, and more time reflecting on how his profession may or may not be contributing to gentrification. Following a conversation with his driver Alberto, who’s lived in the East Village with his family for years, Fredrik is motivated to learn more about the people who called the city home before ultra-luxury apartments and supertall skyscrapers became the norm.

“Some of the criticism that people make is that New York is becoming a playground for the rich,” Fredrik says. “And I think the criticism is fair — sometimes.”

Of course, this doesn’t stop him from forging ahead with Steiner East Village, which has a projected sellout of $225 million. The condo building also comes equipped with not one, but eight penthouses. He does, however, take a break from pitching and selling to mingle with the locals. He polls them about gentrification, and, lucky for Fredrik (and the camera), most of them think it’s a good thing, the best, just fine.

Inspired by his conversations, Fredrik starts thinking of ways he can give back to the community. Step 1: Host a dinner party with the brokers who are bringing you buyers for Steiner East Village. Step 2: Break for an after-dinner sales pitch, so they can bring you even more buyers for Steiner East Village. Step 3: Talk about gentrification, and congratulate the developer on Steiner East Village. Step 4: Break out your wallet.

The evening ends on a sweet note, when Fredrik announces he’s donating $20,000 to help set up a cooking program for kids at a community park in the East Village. Two more diners commit another $10,000 to the initiative, which, to be fair, is a pretty good start.

Co-broking, schmo-broking

Steve’s frustration with Lori, his co-broker at 20 Greene Street, boils over. Is Steve’s inability to work with others the issue? Or Lori’s complete lack of regard for his precious time? Probably a little bit of both! This comes to a head when Lori schedules a showing with just 15 minutes’ notice. Steve ditches his driver Bradley Cooper (not the actor) and hops on a Citi Bike to dodge the traffic in Midtown. He arrives hot and sweaty with only two minutes to spare, only to find out from his assistant Jessica that Lori has rescheduled the appointment for the following day.

“I really dislike co-listing,” Steve says.

And oh boy it shows!

Thank goodness Jessica serves up a dish of reality, and asks Steve if he’s ever even considered building a team. To do so, he’ll have to give up some control and — gasp! — compromise. This sage advice comes in handy during a contentious meeting between Steve, Lori and their client Cristina. Steve presents her with an offer of $14.35 million, which is considerably lower than the $16 million she wants for the home. She’s not too pleased with it, but what’s more frustrating is that Lori, who was originally on board with the offer, begins to second guess Steve — in front of the client!

A seasoned vet, Steve storms out of the appointment and recommits to smoking. The nicotine kick leads to a eureka moment though, and Steve soon realizes that this is exactly what Jessica was talking about. If he is to grow as a broker, he has to let go as a broker. Eventually he decides the happiness of client and Lori is more an important than this particular offer, and agrees to ditch it and start over.