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Selling New York: The Mentorist

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HGTV's Selling New York rides along with brokerages CORE, Gumley Haft Kleier and Warburg as they try to sell fabulous properties fabulously. Here's our recap of how the NYC real estate industry is portrayed to the world, penned by Molly Reisner. Episode air date: 8/25/2011.

Selling New York went on a mentor bender last night when two senior brokers help guide their less experienced counterparts in the twists and turn-ados of client satisfaction. First, a newbie broker must quickly find a youngnorant (young + ignorant, coined it!) buyer a new apartment after she's been outbid...all under the watchful yet highly supportive eye of his senior colleague. Then, a Manhattan-bound L.A. couple entrusts a long-distance rental search to a seasoned broker...who brings along a rookie broker to soak up her infinite wisdom. Oh, and that bonkers bathroom in the above picture? A full tour awaits.

CRISIS #1: NEW-ISH BROKER MUST TURN FIRST TIME MANHATTAN BUYER'S FROWN UPSIDE DOWN
New CORE agent John Harrison is in a dilly of a pickle! While sipping coffee at Cafeteria, he tells colleague Maggie Kent that the client she passed on to him (AKA pawned off) has just been outbid on her Manhattan dream apartment. The owner is taking final offers today and the best bid wins the abode. With a twinkle in his eye, John says he really wants to impress Mags so "she'll work with him in the future" .

I think he's trying a little too hard with this flashy flower branch collar, no?

Next, John's breaks some bad news to first-time buyer Vanessa Wong: she didn't cough up enough dough and now her apartment is...not her apartment. This is where the "youngnorant" term really shines: 'Nessa's upset and disappointed because she ALREADY BOUGHT THE FURNITURE to go into what she thought was going to be her apartment. John sweetly explains to her how making a bid doesn't mean jackcrap in terms of ownership. Then, he hustles over to the elders, Mags and CORE prez Shaun James Bond Osher, for a mentoring sesh:

John is determined to help 'Nessa find a place quickly since she's got all that nonsensical furniture coming her way. Mags tags along to make sure John doesn't bungle a bungalow viewing at 16 W. 19th Street - the Jade building. Named after Mick Jagger's daughter because she helped design the interiors, the Jade is no stranger to us - or to supermodel Miranda Kerr. Feast your eyes on this $1.25 million 1 bedroom/2 bathroom with a "special surprise" AKA pod alert!:

The pod hides your kitchen, your closet, your bathroom AND your soul! See?

While 'Nessa thinks the pod is cool, she springs some news onto John. She wants outdoor space all of a sudden. Mags is so secretly loving she doesn't have to deal with 'Nessa anymore. On a mentorly note, she sees that John is handling 'Nessa really well.

Sixty listing viewings later (seriously!), John manages to be upbeat when he takes 'Nessa to 111 W. 28th St.. A $1.23 million, 3 bed/2 bathroom awaits her inspection:

'Nessa is dazzled with the space and balcony, saying "It's everything I ever wanted." . But uh and oh! Will her furniture fit? She and John bust out the measuring tape:

When 'Nessa says she's ready to make an offer, John reminds her in an adorable way that "It's not yours until you closed on it" so lay off the furnie purchases. Later, 'Nessa meets up with Mags and John at the office where they take her through the financial paperwork process so she understands what the hell's going on this time.

Good news for John - Mags mentee monitoring report is aces all the way! She thinks John was very patient and did a great job making 'Nessa less of a mess. Did she get her dream digs? Yes! She's in contract for the asking price of $1.23 million. Will Mags continue to work with dream boat John? Would a mentor ever abandon her charge, especially if he was super cute?

CRISIS #2: LA COUPLE BANKS ON BROKER TO RUSTLE UP A MANHATTAN RENTAL SIGHT UNSEEN

Wannabe Manhattan renter Andrea Kent is preggers, super-busy and a cute, little stress-ball. Why? She and her hubs are relocating from L.A. to Manhattan soon and don't have time to go rental shopping. This is what she tells Kleier agent Laurel Rosenbluth when they meet at a diner to discuss the sitch. Andrea has a list of "must-haves" for the rental, such as a dumbwaiter, a pool with a slide and a gorgeous garden. OK, so only one of those is true. Andrea's hopping on a plane and is counting on Laurel to call her with a culled list of prospects.

Laurel enlists Stephanie Balint, a newbie Kleier agent, to help her evaluate the potentials and impart bon broker mots. First, they head to the Lumiere at 350 W. 53rd Street - where you can get Fresh Direct direct to your lobby! For $6500 a month, you can live here:

Laurel's finding some major cons with the place: small living room, bedrooms on different floors, and this in the back:

Who said hot tubs and babies don't mix? Laurel and Steph cross the party pad off the list and try another possibility at 300 E. 62nd Street in the Paladin. They check out this 2 bedroom/2 bathroom $6500 a month rental:

Hmmm, there is no real outdoor space which is a must (Ladies, you are wasting our time!) and the kitchen is too small for couples cooking. Some mentoring also takes place along the lines of "the lease is super duper important" and "you can negotiate the crap out of a lease."

On to the next! At an undisclosed address, Laurel and Steph look at a cozy townhouse that we know right away is THE ONE. And it's only $6,250 a month! I smell a bargain:

Steph agrees with Laurel (she has to, she's her mentor) that the townhouse is the right one. Who can argue with that garden? But there's a hitch in the sitch! The lease starts a month before Andrea and hubs and fetus move to Manhattan. Laurel reminds us that "In Manhattan, if you find something that's right for you, you have to jump on it." I hope Steph wrote that down.

Laurel hops on the horn to tell Andrea about the home and the lease conundrum. While waiting for an answer, she picks up a quick lunch from a self-hating hamburger who is serving a mini-version of himself:

Andrea's way too busy to see the rental for herself and tells Laurel she trusts her judgement and sure, they'll pay an extra month. But what about the baby's college fund? Something tells me that's already taken care of. Laurel frets that Andrea won't like the home and then "she's sunk." This makes no sense because presumably the lease will have been signed and Laurel will have already gotten her commission. I'm onto you fake dramatics!

Fast forward to Andrea coming to see the apartment for the first time and she less than zero surprise triple loves it. Even the baby kicks in approval!

I lied about the kick. But I'm not lying (updates never lie!) that Andrea's having a little girl and she's planning on nesting in the rental for two years before buying. I think we all learned something here...Im just not sure what it was.

Episode grade: Money x Thoughtful Brokers = Desired Apartment Outcome. We learned! This lesson deserves 2.5 out of 5 cackling Kleiers!