“Million Dollar Listing LA”: Riding in Cars with Brokers

Recap of Season 10, Episode 4

Dec.December 01, 2017 02:00 PM
From left: James Harris, Tracy Tutor Maltas and Josh Altman

This week, our “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles” brokers learn that no two sellers or buyers are alike.

Tracy Tutor Maltas works with a friend who’s trying his hand at flipping homes. Josh Altman takes a break from Dovetail to help an out-of-town couple plant roots in Los Angeles, while James Harris and David Parnes work their way out of a hole with developer Evan, who needs two neighboring houses sold ASAP.

Here’s where we left off.

Baby’s first flip

Tracy returns in this episode to show us the art of dishing one-liners and keeping sellers in check. This time around she’s working with Bradley, an old friend who’s making the leap from the fashion industry to the flipping business. He transformed a 2,500-square-foot home on Keniston Avenue into a modern, open space, and is now looking to turn a tidy profit on the four-bedroom, four-bathroom home. It features a dry bar, poolside cabana and “views” of Downtown Los Angeles — that is, if you can ignore the power lines obstructing the very, very distant skyline. They settle on a $1.6 million price tag, though Bradley makes it clear he’s expecting more.

This being an “up-and-coming” neighborhood, Tracy targets the nation’s next generation of gentrifiers: millennials! And where will she find them? On social media, #duh!

“Hashtags work,” she says. “Hashtag ‘sell that bitch.’”

She plans a photobooth for the first open house, so potential buyers can post their pics on social media and humblebrag that they’ve shattered the expectation that millennials are destined to rent forever. And by “photobooth,” she means a cardboard cutout of an Instagram post. #Crafty.

Bradley decides he’s going to be present for the first open house, which seems like a bad idea but makes for really good television. Tracy allows him to stay on one condition: He must exit the conversation if she drops “Rose,” the secret code word that means he’s being annoying and unhelpful. Surprise, she has to use it soon after the first shoppers walk through the door, but you have to appreciate the pair’s chemistry. Can you say Bravo spinoff?

The “photobooth” ploy pays off, though it seems like Tracy was the only one using it. She comes to Bradley with three options: an all-cash offer, and two that include a loan and appraisal contingency. The all-cash bid gets thrown out the window because it’s too low, and she ultimately convinces one of the other two buyers to drop the appraisal. Bradley accepts an offer for slightly more than $1.6 million, marking his first successful flip.

“Nailed it,” Tracy says. “As usual.”


It’s 5 o’clock somewhere

James and David are back to the drawing board after Evan, the developer behind Little Valley Vista and Big Valley Vista in Encino, chews them out for bringing him a subpar offer. He’s made it very clear that he wants the two brokers to sell the bigger house first, though buyers are naturally gravitating toward the smaller, less expensive option. It’s time to go Big Valley Vista, or go home!

They pull out all the stops and throw a lavish bash, because how else do you get a bunch of brokers in the same place at the same time? More than $35,000 later, they have a DJ, tattoo artist, oyster shooters and synchronized swimmers, for crying out loud! The funny thing is that the broker who shows the most interest works at their very firm.

James takes a break from socializing working to have an early lunch with his mother, who also needs her own Bravo show. She asks her son if she can smoke in the restaurant and orders a glass of wine at 11:30 a.m. — our kind of woman! The lunch date is interrupted by a litany of phone calls, prompting James to ask her “not to kill me.” A call comes in that’s worth dying for, however. Marci, the broker at the extravagant open house, has a buyer willing to pay $7 million — or full ask — for Big Valley Vista.

They must seal the deal before 5 p.m., putting James under the gun, but giving his mother plenty of time to order another glass of wine. David and James present the offer to Evan, who’s in better spirits this time around. He does get hung up on the fact the buyer wants an answer ASAP, and almost falls into the trap of thinking he can get multiple offers and bigger prices if he holds out. Thankfully for our two British brokers, Evan pulls the trigger before the 5 p.m. deadline.

Real estate in the fast lane

It’s not all Dovetails and roses for our man Josh Altman, who has other listings to focus on, people. Josh plays the buyer’s-side broker in this episode, where he guides out-of-towners Joe and his wife Irina on their quest to plant roots in Los Angeles. He hops in the back of their $450,000 Rolls Royce and shows them a pair of homes to roost in when they’re not too busy buying cars.

Joe and Irina aren’t on the same page when it comes to real estate, though. Whereas he sees himself as an “investor,” Irina thinks purchasing a home is akin to buying shoes or a handbag. (At least that’s what Joe tells her.) They both love the first house Josh shows them, only Joe doesn’t want to jump the gun — or, as he puts it to his wife, make an “emotional decision.” We’re just so emotional!

The next home is another stunner — one that can get them more bang for their buck, satisfying Joe’s appetite for a smart investment. They leave the decision for the next day, so they can spend money on fancy, old-fashioned cars instead.

When Josh meets them at the car auction the next day, Joe and Irina are prepared to make an offer… on both houses, for $1 million under ask. It’s risky considering they could offend the sellers with such low offers, but it’s a chance Joe and Irina (kind of?) want to take.

But their wheeling and dealing pays off. Joe gets his investment, and Irina gets her handbag, er, house.

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