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Selling New York S5E8: Chilly Reception & Hot Houses

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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: 3/15/2012.

Frustration (see above)! Mild annoyance! Last night's episode of Selling New York spanned a middling range of emotion when brokers pounded the pavement and palm trees to please their clients. When a Chelsea apartment gets the cold shoulder, a broker stages a decor intervention to get the seller's place the props it deserves. Will spiffy new side tables = a jiffy sale? Then, an anxious agent aims to tap the St. Barts real estate scene with some wealthy buyers. Are you prepared to get low-level depression looking at luxury properties in the Caribbean? Buckle up because we're hopping onto a private plane headed towards Recap Villa!

CORE broker Tom Postilio is having a terrible time selling his client's 2BR, 2BA Chelsea House apartment at 130 West 19th Street. To emphasize the egregious interior design, Tom brings in potential buyer Rob Miketa to point out all the furniture flaws:

Between the view of a brick wall and the master bedroom resembling "a king size suite in a bad hotel," Rob looks like his eyeballs have been scrubbed against a dirty 1993 Marriott lobby carpet:

With one month left on his six month listing, Tom is desperate to flip the anti-Chelsea decor for a sleek, modern vibe. The owner, Tom McDonald, doesn't quite understand why his "lovely Vermont chalet furniture" is getting iced.

Tom McDonald: Lifelong Defender of The Leather Couch

Tom P. convinces him that buyers "get very confused by the decor" and run screaming out the door. Reluctantly, McTom agrees to banish his ski lodge setup and fork over some lift ticket money to bring in textiles that won't make Chelsea buyers visually vomit.

Enter Susan Goldstein, professional stager! Sooz is feeling metals, glass and everything opposite leather.

Oooh, an after video!

At the open house, the refreshed pad gets good reviews even with the brick wall view. The price? $1.625 million. Preferably delivered in increments of leather couch.

Finally, the two Toms meet up at The Metropolitan Room where Tom McD's daughter is singing some tunes. Plus, there's an offer!

Tom McD isn't loving the $1.525 million deal on the table and tells Tom P. to counter at $1.610 million. Handshake! Seems the staging sealed a sale, since the update shares that the former chalet sold for $1.58 million. Let's hope the couches made it back to their homeland of Vermont!


Warburg's Richard Steinberg is ready to conquer the Caribbean when he meets with SiBarth director Robert Brown at The Russian Tea Room. Rob wants Richard to tap into his luxe NYC clientele and find a buyer for his portfolio of posh St. Barts villas. The catch? Richard needs to come down to St. Barts with a potential client for some hardcore villa viewing. This is not "some extended vacation," Rob warns. Because the Caribbean is NOT JUST ABOUT FUN!

Richard nearly pops an eyeball at this golden opportunity:

A few plane flights later, Richard escorts his buyer friends Roger and Barbara Felberbaum to a series of outstanding properties that make you feel like you will never win at life.

Let's start with this low end $10.9 million estate:

The upside? The views. The downside? Barbara isn't so into the steep hill the house is on, so ix-nay this aradise-pay for the elberbaums-Fay!

Maybe this $19.71 million wonder will suit their fancy and their family?

With a private beach, sprawling 4,305-square-foot layout and gorgeousness everywhere, it's not surprising Roger loves it.

Also, there is a pool filled with clouds! St. Barts is dreamy like that:

Off to the side, Robert grills Richard (aaagh, so many R names!) on how he knows the F'baums. "90 percent of my clients are friends," explains Richard. Way to work your friendships, Steinberg!

Later, the trio of R men and Babs go to a SiBarth mixer at one of their $25 million villas so the F'baums can get to know other SiBarthers AKA mingle with ultra rich folks.

Richard rockin' a beachy choker while making new friends:

At the party, Rob and Richard pow-wow about the F'baums. Richard's all "you can't expect them to buy a place in 3 days" and Rob's all "I know, but I WANT THEM TO." Rob suggests that they rent first, like how everyone else does.

After their non-vacation vacation, R & R meet up at Warburg offices to review Richard's Caribbean performance:

Richard says his clients want to indeed rent first, and Roger understands. All of a sudden Roger's all "selling in St. Barts takes patience" but meanwhile he was chomping at the F'baums wallet the whole time!

AnyRogermakesnosenseways, he's happy to collaborate with Richard and Richard is stoked to expand his business. Did the nice couple end up renting? Why yes, they did! And, as the update informs, they're bringing their entire family down to try it out for a 2 week vacation. Cuz that's how the F'baums roll.

Episode Review: The extreme Chelsea make-over + a blast of unaffordable St. Barts sunshine + some deals = 3.5 out of 5.0 PROMISE NOT TO ENJOY SELF IF SENT TO CARIBBEAN FOR WORK cackling Kleiers.

· Selling New York [HGTV]
· Selling New York coverage [Curbed]