“Million Dollar Listing LA”: Keep your friends close and your brokers closer

Recap of Season 10, Episode 2

From left: Josh Altman, Tracy Maltas and Madison Hildebrand
From left: Josh Altman, Tracy Maltas and Madison Hildebrand

What’s in a real estate deal?

For Madison Hildebrand, it’s reckoning with brokers past, those who have felt wronged by him and he, wronged by them. In Josh Altman’s world, it’s uncertainty — will he or won’t he get the coveted listing? And lastly, for Tracy Tutor Maltas, it’s finding the perfect home that’s within her dear friend’s budget.

Let’s catch up with our wheelers and dealers.

The British are coming, the British are coming!
Ah, Tantalus. The gift that keeps on giving. The drama never seems to end with this property, which has a caused a major rift between Madison and James Harris and David Parnes, who Madison refers to as the “British guys.”
James has repeatedly called Madison “unethical” because he allegedly told the seller that he had an offer lined up in order to win back the listing, but more on that later.

Madison seems to have struck gold on the elusive Tantalus, which he failed to sell with said British guys last season. An international buyer is interested in purchasing the $8 million home, but alas, there’s a catch. The buyer viewed it months ago when James, David and Madison were still marketing the property together. And you know what that means!

“[James and David] get a piece of the pie, and the only thing they should get is a pie in the face,” Madison says, lamenting that he must share his commission with the Brits.

The plot thickens when the offer comes in at $7.65 million — $100,000 below the seller’s bottom line. How will he make up the price difference? By asking James and David to kick in .05 percent of their commission, of course. This is bound to end well.

After leaving him hanging for a bit, James finally agrees to meet with Madison, not because he wants to fork over some of his due pay, but because he wants the broker to admit he’s a “pathological liar.” Piña Colada in hand, Madison claims he said that he had a buyer for Tantalus, not an offer, and that’s ultimately why he was awarded the listing. There’s a difference, duh!

“Madison isn’t going to admit he’s done any wrongdoing from Day 1,” James said. “I give up, I move on, and please God, we never talk about this home again.”

Ultimately James acquiesces, because who doesn’t like free money?

Brentwood or bust
Tracy is back, showing us why dealmaking is better left to a woman.

“Men in real estate have it so easy,” she says. “I mean they just throw on their suit!”

Seems a bit over simplistic, but yas queen!

Tracy is doing a massive for her friend Cam, who’s very pregnant and has just 30 days to vacate her rental property. She’s looking for a house in Brentwood, because who isn’t looking for a house in Brentwood?

The problem is her budget. It used to be that you could get a pretty nice piece of property for $3 to $4 million, but not anymore. Tracy shows Cam some homes within her price range, some homes she won’t even get out of the car to see and some homes that are bit too expensive. At this point, they may have to scope out some properties in the Valley (gasp!) so Cam and her family won’t be thrown out on the street.

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Tracy takes the search out of Brentwood and finds Cam a beautiful new construction home in Studio City. Cam loves the listing, but because this is “MDLLA,” there’s a catch. There’s already an offer on the $3 million home. Tracy knows the developer, however, and says he’ll entertain another offer — but they must act now, which requires Cam to make the decision sans husband, who is traveling for work. She loves the house too much to pass it up, and follows Tracy’s advice to go all in at $100,000 over ask.

In any other world this would seal the deal, but the developer counters and asks both sellers to present a better offer. Tracy calls his bluff. She knows that he’s just trying to get more money, and convinces Cam to hold it at $3.1 million. Her instincts prove to be true, and the developer accepts Cam’s offer.

“Killed it,” Tracy says.


Welcome to Bradbury (maybe)

Josh and his brother Matt Altman are off to one of the most exclusive enclaves in all of L.A. County: Bradbury Estates. The area, which is a cross between Downton Abbey and the Great Gatsby, is home to some pretty opulent real estate.

“It’s home to the highest paid third basemen in baseball, to the heir of a fast food fortune, to one of the biggest film producers in China,” Josh says. “Big time money.”

Josh and Matt meet with Ann and Eric, the developers behind the neighborhood’s Dove Tale estate. The home is a massive 16,515 square feet, and could be one of their biggest listings of the year. That is, if the developers decide to fork it over.

Though Josh did the usual song and dance (his rolodex is the Forbes list, he has the international buyers, etc.), Ann and Eric conclude the meetings without hiring the team. They’re going to meet with other potential brokers. How dare they!

“It’s pretty rare for me not to know if I got a listing or not,” he says. “Especially with Matt and I there.”

They decide to forge forward like they’ve won the listing anyway, releasing the “Altman hounds” and hassling brokers from the comfort of a toilet.

“Hey Bradbury, I’m blowing up your phone, I’m talking about you nonstop, I’m calling everybody telling them about you,” Josh says. “Like De Niro in ‘Cape Fear,’ I’m getting in your house.”


Despite the due diligence, the developers still aren’t ready to pull the trigger. Josh calls with an update on their progress, but they don’t seem impressed. They’ll call him back when they’re ready.

Patience is a virtue — and in real estate, it’s a $19 million mansion.

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